Music of Irwin Bazelon











Piano with Orchestra












TrumpetSmall Orchestra


















Legends & Love Letters5 Songs (Hart Crane)












spires…Concert Piece for Solo Trumpet and Small Orchestra




Spires was composed in 1981 and premiered February 6, 1989 by the Orchestre National de Lille (Lille, France) with Harold Farberman conducting. It was recorded by the London Philharmonic under Mr. Farberman with Maurice Murphy trumpet soloist. Spires is not a formal concerto for trumpet and orchestra but rather an orchestra composition with a large solo trumpet part including a written jazz-"scat" section against orchestral forces. The soloist becomes at times both a protagonist and an antagonist, playing against strings, percussion and brass. 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. Elements of jazz and 12-tone organization appear, neither strict or formal.




trajectories…For Solo Piano with Orchestra




Trajectories was composed in 1985 and recorded by the London Philharmonic, Harold Farberman, conductor with Wanda Maximilien, piano soloist. It was my intention in this concerto to avoid some of the 19th century mannerisms of solo instrumental works with orchestra, and, in this context avoid the traditional confrontation between piano and orchestra. I also attempted to exclude extensive virtuoso octave passages for the piano and to eliminate rapid arpeggios up and down the piano keyboard. The slow second movement (opening with a solo part for chimes) is almost exclusively written for the solo piano with only an occasional chord or short passage from percussion and selected instruments. The solo piano part alternates between rhythmic propulsion and legato, lyrical passages. The work is approximately 34 minutes, with many fermatas of varying lengths used as contrast between the different sections.




legends and love letters…(Five Songs to Poems by Hart Crane for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble)




For my Legends and Love Letters, I selected five Imagist poems of Hart Crane (circa 1920) that reflected this esteemed American poet's lyricism and nostalgic sentiment. It was my intention to attempt to capture in my music these essential elements, in addition to the bold dramatic statements that represent the contrasting counterpoint inherent in Hart Crane's poetry. In these pieces I conceived the soprano part as a narrator's voice, singing the poet's lines through a small ensemble background, but always maintaining a soloist's position of dominance. Hart Crane's eloquent lyrical voice is primary; it must be allowed to occupy center stage.




-Notes by Irwin Bazelon










My Grandmother's Love Letters




There are no stars tonight


But those of memory.


Yet how much room for memory there is


In the loose girdle of soft rain.




There is even room enough


For the letters of my mother's mother,




That have been pressed so long


Into a corner of the roof


That they are brown and soft.


And liable to melt as snow.




Over the greatness of such space


Steps must be gentle.


It is all hung by an invisible white hair.


It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air.




And I ask myself:




"Are your fingers long enough to play


Old keys that are but echoes:


Is the silence strong enough


To carry back the music to its source


And back to you again


As though to her?"




Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand


Through much of what she would not understand;


And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof


With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.














Awake to the cold light


of wet wind running


twigs in tremors. Walls


are naked. Twilights raw-


and when the sun taps steeples


their glistenings dwindle








slips along the ground


like a mouse under pussy-


willows, a little hungry.




The vagrant ghost of winter,


is it this that keeps the chimney


busy still? For something still


nudges shingles and windows:




but waveringly,-this ghost,


this slate-eyed saintly wraith


of winter wanes


and knows its waning.














As silent as a mirror is believed


Realities plunge in silence by




I am not ready for repentance;


Nor to match regrets. For the moth


Bends no more than the still


Imploring flame. And tremorous


In the white falling flakes


Kisses are,-


The only worth all granting.




It is to be learned-


This cleaving and this burning,


But only by the one who


Spends out himself again.




Twice and twice


(Again the smoking souvenir,


Bleeding eidolon!) and yet again.


Until the bright logic is won


Unwhispering as a mirror


Is believed.




Then, drop by caustic drop, a perfect cry


Shall string some constant harmony,-


Relentless caper for all those who step


The legend of their youth into the noon.














Forgetfulness is like a song


That, freed from beat and measure, wanders.


Forgetfulness is like a bird whose


wings are reconciled,


Outspread and motionless


A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly.




Forgetfulness is rain at night,


Or an old house in a forest,-or a child.


Forgetfulness is white,-


white as a blasted tree,


And it may stun the sybil into prophecy,


Or bury the Gods.




I can remember much forgetfulness.














Indian summer-sun


With crimson feathers whips away the mists,




Dives through the filter of trellises


And gilds the silver on the blotched arbor-seats.




Now gold and purple scintillate


On trees that seem dancing


In delirium;


Then the moon


In a mad orange flare


Floods the grape-hung night.






Poems of Hart Crane used by permission of Hart Crane Foundation and W.W. Norton Publishing Company.






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, and 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.




maurice murphy




Maurice Murphy was born in London in 1935. When he was four, the family moved to the north of England where he began learning the cornet, at the age of six, from his father who was a member of the local Salvation Army Band. Murphy entered the brass band movement and became the 'All British Junior Champion' cornet soloist in 1947, going on to become solo cornet in the Black Dyke Mills Band.




These formative years constituted his only musical education and, in 1961, he was appointed Principal Trumpet of the BBC Northern Orchestra. In 1976 Murphy became Principal Trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra.




wanda maximilien




Born in 1946, Wanda Maximilien studied under, among others, Fernande Stines, Edith Oppens, and Nadia Boulanger, earning degrees from The Juilliard School as well as Fontainbleau Conservatory. She held scholarships from The Aspen Music Festival, Juilliard and Temple University. Her first prominent performances, in the early 1960s, were at Town Hall, New York and Wigmore Hall, London. Currently she is Associate Professor of Music at Rutgers University.




Her specialty is the study and performance of contemporary piano literature, with much research into new piano techniques and methodologies. As a recording artist, Ms. Maximilien has emphasized new works by Robert Moevs, Irwin Bazelon, Dallapiccola, Ralph Shapey and Lutoslawski. A frequent recording artist on CRI, this disc marks Ms. Maximilien's Albany Records debut.




collage new music




Collage New Music is a Boston-based chamber music ensemble dedicated to the performance of 20th century music. Founded in 1972, its purpose is to provide an arena for complete musical involvement: a union of composer, performer and concert-goer. Comprised principally of Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians, Collage has premiered and commissioned more than 200 pieces. Concerts have included fully staged productions; music with dance, music with film, and music with extensive sophisticated electronics.




charles fussell




Charles Fussell graduated from the Eastman School of Music with Master degrees in Composition and Conducting. On a Fulbright Fellowship, he attended the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, the Bayreuth Festival Master classes, and then received a Ford Foundation Grant in the composer-in-residence program to the Newton, Massachusetts Public Schools from 1964-66. In 1966, Fussell joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts, where as Associate Professor, he taught both theory and composition and conducted the University Group for New Music (now known as Pro Musica Moderna), which he organized in 1974. He now teaches composition at Boston University.




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.




Spires, Legends and Love Letters, and Trajectories are published by Theodore Presser Company.




Cover Art: The Red Stairs · Cecile Gray Bazelon






music of irwin bazelon




Spires (16:08)


London Philharmonic Orchestra


Harold Farberman, conductor


Maurice Murphy, trumpet




Legends and Love Letters


My Grandmother's Love Letters (5:46)


March (3:20)


Legend (3:57)


Forgetfulness (2:23)


October-November (1:28)


Time = 16:57


Collage New Music


Joan Heller, soprano


Charles Fussell, conductor


Frank Epstein, percussion/Christopher Oldfather, piano/Robert Annis, clarinet, bass clarinet/


Julie Scolnik, flute, piccolo, alto flute/Joel Moerchel, cello/Ronan Lefkowitz, viola






I (12:39)


II (12:47)


III (8:16)


London Philharmonic Orchestra


Harold Farberman, conductor


Wanda Maximilien, piano


Time = 33:42




Total Time = 67:02