Irwin Bazelon


Irwin Bazelon died on August 2nd, 1995 at the age of 73. His untimely death occurred exactly two months after the recording of this CD. He completed nine symphonies and more than sixty orchestral pieces, including Fire and Smoke, a featured work at the 1994 Aspen Music Festival. He was at work on his Tenth Symphony, part of which, The Prelude to Hart Crane's The Bridge was recorded on the Albany Records label in 1993.

Born in Chicago on June 4th, 1922, he graduated from DePaul University, studied composition briefly with Paul Hindemith at Yale and exten­sively with Darius Muhaud at Mills College. From 1948 until his death he lived in New York City and in Sagaponack, Long Island.

Bazelon's works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instrument and voice have been performed throughout the United States and Europe. He conducted his music with such orchestras as the National Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic and the Orchestre Nationale de Lille. He received grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Koussevitsky Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the New Orleans Philharmonic, the American Brass Quintet, the Boehm Quintette and the Royal Northern College in England. His Midnight Music was recorded by the Royal Northern College's Symphonic Band on the Doyen label in 1994.

Bazelon served as guest composer and lecturer at many American colleges and universities, including Rutgers University, Williams College, the University of South Carolina, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Wisconsin, Oberlin College, Rice University, the University of Virginia and the University of Akron. In England he was a guest of the Royal

Northern College and the University of Sheffield. He was a noted authority on film music and the composer of many documentary film scores; he also wrote 'Knowing the Score - Notes on Film Music', a book widely used on college campuses.

His music also appears on the CR1 American Masters Series and Leonarda Records.

Bazelon's friend, the composer Richard Rodney Bennett, said at his memorial service: "Just over 20 years ago, Buddy was writing 'Knowing the Score,' which I still think is the best book there is on film music. I was one of the composers interviewed in the book but because I lived in London then, someone was sent to see me with a list of prepared questions. I thought the interview was quite lifeless, but a couple of weeks later, my phone rang, and there was this man ROARING at me down the transatlantic line. Eventually I realized that he wasn't angry - he was thrilled. Finally we met in New York and he was like nobody I'd ever known.. Shortly after that I heard the record of Churchill Downs and the Fifth Symphony, and I remember quite clearly thinking—'but this music is exactly like Buddy'.

Now there's no particular reason why a composer's music should match his personality; it's not even necessarily a good thing. But if in years to come, I'm asked what Buddy was like, I'll say first of all that I loved him, and second, that the music tells you all about him. Above all, the extraordinary integrity; nothing is there for effect, nothing is a pose or a gimmick and nothing is meant just to please or to charm. There is always the electric vitality and energy, the obsessive rhythmic conflicts, the jazzy rifts. There are extraordinary contrasts between a ferocious toughness and complexity and the most extreme delicacy, fragility and refinement.

Buddy and his music were both totally unpredictable; one never knew what thought was coming next, even if one was familiar with some of his characteristic states of mind. There was wit, there was nostalgia, even a certain sentimentality. He was partly aware of what was going on in the world and in the musical market-place, and in other ways quite closed off from current events and trends. Both the man and the music were profoundly eccentric, in the best and most fascinating sense. He was absolutely uncompromising and entirely original, both as a man and as a composer."

In a tribute to Bazelon, David Harold Cox, Professor of Music at University College Cork, Ireland writes: "The quality I shall always remember about Bud was his integrity, the integrity between his individuality as a person and his unique musical personality. There seemed to be a perfect unity between the man and his music. It was a unity based on a breadth of vision: both his personality and his musical language were strong, wide-ranging and powerful, pulsating with energy and life. These qualities will ensure that the music will survive."

Entre Nous…for solo cello and orchestra

Entre Nous was composed in 1992 and was written especially for Dorothy Lawson. It was given its world premiere on February 6th, 1994 by the Greenwich Village Orchestra, Robert Grehan conducting. Entre Nous is an orchestral work with a large solo part for cello. It is in essence a dialogue between the solo instrument and the orchestra. It is not meant to be a concerto. At times the cello is both protagonist and antagonist in relation to the orchestral part. As in all my music, prominence of musical line is determined by dynamics, impact-accents, phrasing and the general character of the work.

Irwin Bazelon

Symphony No.7 in Two Parts (Ballet for Orchestra)

This work was completed in October, 1980 in New York City. Part One moves at a slow-to-moderate rate, which allows long, lyrical lines to evolve, with typically brilliant orchestral colors. Part Two, marked 'Lively' is a high-energy counterpart to the opening movement. All sections of the orchestra are given virtuoso treatment: brass fanfares, passages for strings and for percussion, a trumpet cadenza and a concluding timpani figure (a recurring Bazelon motif) combine to present the composer at his most characteristic. This work was not performed during Bazelon's lifetime.

Harold Farberman

Symphony No.9 (Sunday Silence)

This symphony, written in 1992, is an orchestral version of the piano piece written for Alan Mandel. It is dedicated to Sunday Silence, winner of the 1989 Kentucky Derby and voted Horse of the Year. Of the piano version, the composer wrote: "The work is not descriptive, but rather evocative."

Although this is the first performance of the orchestral version, it is the work of a master composer. The orchestral writing is compact, direct and dazzling. Everything on the page, even the smallest detail in the densest of textures, can and must be heard. The piano remains an important and at times solo voice in the fabric of the work. The rhythmic elements, jazz-derived, that drive and create the large structures, typical of Bazelon and his sound, are crystal-clear in this last symphony. Bazelon is an unmistakable and unique American voice.

Harold Farberman

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launched its Centenary Celebration in May 1993 with a spectacular series of concerts featuring the music of Mahler, culminating in performances of the Resurrection Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall and Bournemouth's Winter Garden under the baton of the orchestra's Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Andrew Litton. During the period of Maestro Litton's appointment (1988-94) the orchestra enjoyed a period of remarkable growth, attracting a glittering array of international performers. In the 1994-95 season when he became Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Litton continued as Conductor Laureate. He was succeeded as Principal Conductor in 1995 by the brilliant young Russian, Yakov Kreizberg.

Harold Farberman

Internationally known 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 founder and artistic director of the Con­ductors Institute at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford.

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 recording the complete symphonies of Michael Haydn with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta.

Dorothy Lawson

Widely recognized for her multi-faceted artistry, Canadian cellist Dorothy Lawson has played a large and diverse repertoire around the world. As the cellist for Mikhail Baryshnikov's "White Oak Dance Project" she performed throughout North America and Europe. She also toured exten­sively with the celebrated Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. On the Albany Records label she played Bazelon's Alliances for cello and piano with pianist Michael Boriskin. Her own CD is coming out soon on Koch International, and will include the North American premiere of the Borodin cello sonata. She has also played with the Trio Vivant on the Pro Arte/Fanfare label.

Along with an active solo career, Ms. Lawson is a founding member of the Andreas Trio and a member of the Alaria Ensemble. She is on the faculty of the Mannes School of Music and holds both Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Leonard Rose and Harvey Shapiro.

Scott Dunn

Scott Dunn's musical studies began at age six, and by twelve he was making concert appearances. His education in both music and science (he is a fellow of the American Academy of Opthalmology and of the American College of Surgeons) lends special character to his performances. As a pianist he counts John Simms, Brooks Smith, Joseph Kalichstein and Byron Janis among his teachers. As a winner of the Arts America Artistic Ambassador Competition, he has presented solo recitals in Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Romania, Austria and Germany. The "General Anzeiger" in Bonn applauded his playing as "passionate and convincing, transcendentally interpreted".

Dunn is an active soloist in American venues, including Lincoln Center, Bing Auditorium, the Japan America Theater in Los Angeles and the Aspen Festival. His repertoire is as broad as his education, and includes not only the Classical and Romantic traditions but performances from memory of such American masterworks as Ives' Concord Sonata and Elliot Carter's Piano Sonata, performances which have won him high critical acclaim. "Gifted indeed," wrote Daniel Cariaga in the Los Angeles Times, " abundance of technique and musicality."

Entre Nous, Symphony No.7 and Symphony No.9 are published by Theodore Presser Company.

Cover photograph - Patricia Layman Bazelon.

Producer for this recording: Antony Hodgson. Engineer: Bob Auger.


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