Irwin Bazelon: Symphony No. 8 1/2



Dramatic Fanfare

Memories of a

Winter Childhood

Symphony No. 8 1/2




Prelude to Hart Crane's

"The Bridge"





Cello & Piano



FourParts of a World

Song Cycle (Wallace Stevens)



Dramatic Fanfare (1970) was co-winner of the 1970 Cleveland Symphony-Blossom Music Center Fanfare competition. It is used during intermission to literally "call the audience" back to the auditorium for the second half of the concert. This fanfare is a dynamic, "jazzy" one minute piece for brass and percussion and is not in the traditional form.

Prelude to Hart Crane's "The Bridge" (for string orchestra) is the opening movement for my Symphony No. 10 based on Hart Crane's epic poem The Bridge. This is a projected work for narrator, soprano, chorus and orchestra.

I hoped in this short but intense work to capture some of the dramatic power and sweep of Crane's poem. Prelude is a beginning. It is also intended to stand alone as a separate piece of music apart from the large-scale format of the symphony.

I feel that because of my musical background (based on jazz and my affinity for the rhythmic beat of the big city) I am especially sensitive to the propulsion of Crane's work.

Memories of a Winter Childhood was composed in late 1980 as a kind of elegy to my mother who died in August of that year. Although it is a musical remembrance of a Chicago winter, the score is not descriptive, but rather evocative. The music is basically gentle, featuring individual solo lines between the different choirs of the orchestra: woodwind, brass, percussion and strings. As in all my music, prominence of musical line is determined by dynamics, impact-accents, phrasing, color, contrast, and the general character of the music. The final episode of the score is a musical collage: a "boogie-woogie" (1940) piano solo plus percussion plays against a pizzicato "lullaby" theme in the strings, accompanied by pedal tones (trombones), vibraphone touches and other sustained added figures. In addition, a solo trumpet performs the song Ramona against the background of the orchestra.

(Permission to use the song Ramona granted by the publisher EMI, Inc.)

Alliancesfor Cello and Piano (1989) is a duo for cello and piano where each instrument is both protagonist and antagonist, equal in parts, but separate in musical personality and individuality.

Again, prominence of musical line is determined by dynamics, impact-accents, phrasing, color, contrast and the general character of

the music itself. The overall tone of the work is dramatic with lyrical interludes focusing attention on interaction between the two solo instruments. Each player has his own "solo section" of equal length and importance. They do not accompany each other, but rather complement and challenge.

FourParts of A World

The four poems of Wallace Stevens were selected for their contrast and dramatic-lyrical qualities. The arcane inventiveness of Stevens' lyrics both attract and repel a composer. They are almost out of reach of musical association. And yet, this challenge is exactly what made me want to set these poems to a musical life. My musical "world of sound" blends into Stevens' "world of literary ideas," making the entire whole a self-contained unit. Sometimes, the vocalist is the protagonist and at other moments, the piano becomes the central focus. There are present both "jazz elements" and "twelve tone" ideas, neither strict or formal.

Girl in a Nightgown

Lights out. Shades up.

A look at the weather.

There has been a booming all the spring,

A refrain from the end of the boulevards.

This is the silence of night,

This is what could not be shaken,

Full of stars and the images of stars

And that booming - wintry and dull,

Like a tottering, a falling and an end,

Again and again, always there,

Massive drums and leaden trumpets,

Perceived by feeling instead of sense,

A revolution of things colliding.

Phrases! But of fear and of fate.

The night should be warm and fluters' fortune

Should play in the trees when morning comes.

Once it was, the repose of night,

Was a place, strong place, in which to sleep.

It is shaken now. It will burst into flames,

Either now or tomorrow or the day after that.


Tonight there are only the winter stars.

The sky is no longer a junk-shop.

Full of javelins and old fire-balls,

Triangles and the names of girls.

Over and over again you have said,

This great world, it divides itself in two,

One part is man, the other god:

Imagined man, the monkish mask, the face.

Tonight the stars are like a crowd of faces

Moving round the sky and singing

And laughing, a crowd of men,

Whose singing is a mode of laughter,

Never angels, nothing of the dead,

Faces to people night's brillancy,

Laughing and singing and being happy,

Filling the imagination's need.

In this rigid room, an intenser love,

Not toys, not thing-a-ma-jigs—

The reason can give nothing at all

Like the response to desire.

On the Adequacy of Landscape

The little owl flew through the night,

As if the people in the air

Were frightened and he frightened them,

By being there,

The people that turned off and came

To avoid the bright, discursive wings,

To avoid the hap-hallow hallow-ho

Of central things.

Nor in their empty hearts to feel

The blood-red redness of the sun,

To shrink to an insensible,

Small oblivion,

Beyond the keenest diamond day

Of people sensible to pain,

When cocks wake, clawing at their beds

To be again,

And who, for that, turn toward the cocks

And toward the start of day and trees

And light behind the body of night

And sun, as if these

Were what they are, the sharpest sun:

The sharpest self, the sensible range,

The extent of what they are, the strength

That they exchange,

So that he that suffers most desires

The red bird most and the strongest sky

Not the people in the air that hear

The little owl fly.

The Candle A Saint

Green is the night, green kindled and apparelled.

It is she that walks among astronomers.

She strides above the rabbit and the cat,

Like a noble figure, out of the sky,

Moving among the sleepers, the men,

Those that lie chanting green is the night.

Green is the night and out of madness woven,

The self-same madness of the astronomers

And of him that sees, beyond the astronomers,

The topaz rabbit and the emerald cat,

That sees above them, that sees rise up above them,

The noble figure, the essential shadow,

Moving and being, the image at its source,

The abstract, the archaic queen. Green is the night.

(Permission to use the Wallace Stevens' poems granted by the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.)

Symphony No. 8 1/2 is a short symphony (14 minutes in duration) scored for orchestra. My original idea in writing this work was to compose a symphonic work in shorter form for community and college orchestras that would encompass the range of a symphony without the added weight of extended openings, recapitulations and drawn out codas. The work is in one continuous movement and is marked by strong dramatic rhythms and dynamic phrasing.

Irwin Bazelon

Born in Chicago in 1922, composer Irwin Bazelon graduated from DePaul University and later studied composition with Darius Milhaud. Since 1948, he has been a New York City resident.

Bazelon's works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instrument, and voice have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has conducted his music with such orchestras as the National Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de Lille. Grants and commissions have come from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the New Orleans Philharmonic, the American Brass Quintet,

the Boehm Quintette, the Empire Brass Quintet and Collage.

The composer has served as guest composer and lecturer at many prestigious American colleges and universities, including Rutgers University, Williams College, the University of South Carolina, Eastman School of Music, the University of Wisconsin, Oberlin College, Rice University, the University of West Virginia, and the University of Akron. Bazelon, a noted authority on film music and composer of many documentary film scores, has written Knowing the ScoreNotes on Film Music, a book widely used on college campuses.

Mr. Bazelon's music appears on CRI and Leonarda Records

Harold Farberman

Internationally renowned conductor Harold Farberman has conducted many of the world's leading orchestras. Formerly the Music Director and Conductor of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Farberman has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Denver Symphony and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta. He is currently the Artistic Advisor of the Colorado Springs Symphony.

Maestro Farberman's many recordings reflect his wide-ranging musical interests. He was an early exponent of the music of Charles Ives and has recorded more of this composer's works than any other conductor. Many of his interpretations have been called "definitive." For his work on behalf of Charles Ives, he has been honored with the Ives Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters. He is currently engaged on a project to record the complete Mahler Symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra as well as undertaking recording the complete symphonies of Michael Haydn with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1919, The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is Canada's third largest symphonic orchestra.

Appointed Music Director in 1991, Maestro Sergiu Comissiona has already led the orchestra on a tour to Japan to take part in a performing arts festival commemorating the opening of the new Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. The VSO has performed to critical acclaim at home and abroad and has since been invited to tour the western United States. Aside from performing over 90 concerts a year in the historic Orpheum Theatre, the VSO also tours annually throughout the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver area. This recording marks the first recording by the VSO of a contemporary American composer.

Alan Heatherington

Alan Heatherington has been the Music Director of the Chicago String Ensemble since its founding in 1977 and was appointed Music Director of The New Oratorio Singers in 1990. His musical training began at age five, first in piano and later in violin, voice and conducting. After studying at the Eastman School of Music and at Houghton College in New York, he completed the Master of Music degree at Northwestern University under Samuel Magad, winning the honors competition in violin while working with Margaret Hillis and Bernard Rubenstein in conducting.

Heatherington's professional career has encompassed extensive solo and ensemble experience as a violinist, including a critically acclaimed debut in Carnegie Hall with the Delft Trio in 1981. He has been guest conductor with the Chicago Civic Orchestra; the Chicago Chamber Orchestra; the Buffalo Philharmonic; the New Philharmonic; the Missouri Symphony Society; the Traverse Symphony; Light Opera Works; the Chamber Orchestra and Chorus of Lake County; youth orchestras of Buffalo, St. Louis and Chicago; and numerous other orchestras, operas, ballet and choral groups.

The Chicago String Ensemble

The Chicago String Ensemble is Chicago's only professional string orchestra and a vital component of the city's dynamic cultural environment. The orchestra was founded in 1977 by professional musicians dedicated to developing this musical medium to its highest level and bringing to Chicago audiences an eclectic and occasionally unfamiliar body of music literature spanning the past three centuries. Also committed to encouraging the growth of contemporary music, the CSE provides a forum for the presentation of new works by American, especially Chicago based, composers.

Under music director Alan Heatherington, the twenty-two member ensemble has performed over 250 different works of all periods and styles. The orchestra is heard in its annual subscription series, as well as in numerous non-subscription concerts within and outside the Chicago area. Radio station WFMT has recorded CSE concerts and broadcast them throughout the country. Selections from the January, 1991 concert were broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio. The CSE was subsequently nominated for the Wulsin Award for excellence in performance and recording.

Dorothy Lawson

Widely recognized for her multi-faceted artistry, Canadian cellist Dorothy Lawson has played a large and diverse repertoire in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. She has appeared often in the major New York concert halls, including Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. A frequent visitor to her native country, she has played on Radio Canada (both the CBC and CJRT), and has appeared with the Toronto Symphony, Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Toronto Chamber Players, among others. With the celebrated Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, she has toured extensively around the world and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. In 1994, she premieres a new cello concerto written for her by Irwin Bazelon. She has also recorded for the Pro Arte/Fanfare label.

Michael Boriskin

Through his many acclaimed recordings and performances around the world, Michael Boriskin has emerged as one of America's most compelling and versatile pianists. His extensive international concert schedule has included the San Francisco, Utah, Denver, and American Symphonies, Bavarian Symphony of Munich, Polish National Radio Orchestra, Tokyo City Philharmonic, Mexico City UNAM Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic (Ensembles series), among many other orchestras. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and many other major concert venues on four continents. A prolific recording artist, his large discography covers a wide-ranging repertoire from Brahms and Tchaikovsky to the present, for New World, Newport Classics, Harmonia Mundi, Musical Heritage Society, and Music & Arts Records.

Joan Heller

Joan Heller is a singer of both traditional and avant-garde music. She has sung under the direction of such notable conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Gunther Schuller, Michael Tilson Thomas, Arthur Weisberg and Emin Khachaturian. Her extensive repertoire includes vocal orchestral literature, chamber music, song literature and dramatic solo music. She is one of the founding members of COLLAGE Contemporary Ensemble. She has made solo appearances in Bonn, Madrid, Moscow, Leningrad, and Kislovodsk, in addition to regular appearances in Washington, New York, Pittsburgh, Hartford, and Boston in the United States. Previously she has recorded for CRI, Golden Crest, Inner City, RCA/Pablo, Sonory, UNI-PRO and Neuma Compact Discs. Concurrent with her performing, she is Associate Professor of Voice at Boston University and Director of the Young Artists Vocal Program at Tanglewood.

Thomas Stumpf

Thomas Stumpf received his degrees in piano performance from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He won concerto competitions at both institutions, and was awarded the Boesendorfer Prize (Vienna, 1970) and the Lilli Lehmann Medal (Salzburg, 1972).

Stumpf also has a distinguished career as a teacher and lecturer. From 1974 to 1984 he was on the piano faculty of New England Conservatory, and from 1984 to 1990 he was Assistant Professor and head of the keyboard area at the University of Lowell. In 1990, he was appointed Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Collaborative Piano department at Boston University.

Stumpf's repertoire ranges from Bach to the avant-garde. He has performed on the harpsichord and the fortepiano, and has also premiered many compositions by contemporary American composers.

Engineers for this recording include: Dramatic Fanfare, Symphony No. 8 1/2 and Memories of a Winter Childhood — Howard R. Jang; Prelude — Lawrence Rock; Four…Parts of a World — Brad Michel; Alliances — Adam Abeshouse. Alliances was recorded at SUNY-Purchase, Music Division, Recital Hall. Master tape prepared by Cotton Hill Studios, Albany, New York. All compositions, except Dramatic Fanfare, are published by Theodore Presser Company.

Cover Art: Winter Set II by Cecile Gray Bazelon.


Dramatic Fanfare (1:13)

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Harold Farberman, conductor

Prelude…To Hart Crane's “The Bridge” for String Orchestra (12:14)

Chicago String Ensemble

Alan Heatherington, conductor

Memories of a Winter Childhood (18:09)

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Harold Farberman, conductor

Alliances…Cello & Piano (17:22)

Dorothy Lawson, cello

Michael Boriskin, piano

Four…Parts of a World for Soprano & Piano (14:25)

Joan Heller, soprano

Thomas Stumpf, piano

(poems by Wallace Stevens)

Symphony No. 8 1/2 (14:13)

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Harold Farberman, conductor

Total Time = 77:55