Music of our Time, Vol. 1

Exuberant vitality, imaginative programming, and dedication to performances of the highest caliber have characterized ORCHESTRA 2001's performances and recordings ever since its founding in April of 1988. The ensemble gives an annual series of concerts in Philadelphia and another at Swarthmore College where it is Ensemble-in-Residence. At the invitation of the Moscow Conservatory, ORCHESTRA 2001 traveled to Russia in both 1993 and 1994 where it presented a series of concerts of 20th-century American music to cheering audiences. The ensemble is committed to bringing the best music of our time - especially by Philadelphia-area composers to as wide an audience as possible. That mandate has resulted in several remarkable outreach projects involving minorities, inner city children, and senior citizens, as well as to invitations from international festivals all over the world. ORCHESTRA 2001's previous recordings on CD include music by Gerald Levinson (CRI 642) and Andrew Stiller (MMC 2014).



JAMES FREEMAN is Underhill Professor of Music at Swarthmore College, co-director of the Swarthmore Music and Dance Festival, a member during the summer months of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and founder/artistic director of Orchestra 2001. He was trained at Harvard University (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.), Kneisel Hall, Tanglewood, and Vienna's Akademie für Musik. He counts among his principal teachers pianist Artur Balsam and his father, double bassist Henry Freeman. As conductor, pianist, and bass player Mr. Freeman's performances throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States have won critical acclaim. He has recorded for CRI, Nonesuch, Columbia, Turnabout, MMC, and AR Records.

Pianist CHARLES ABRAMOVIC has won critical acclaim for his international performances as an active soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator with leading instrumentalists and singers. He has appeared as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, and the Pennsylvania Sinfonia. In 1980 he won First Prize at the American Chopin Competition. He was also First Prize winner of the 1981 Piano Teachers Congress of New York Competition, resulting in his debut recital at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Abramovic is Assistant Professor of Piano at Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music, from which he also recently received his doctorate. He has recordedfor both CRI and Musical Heritage Society.

DOROTHY FREEMAN was formerly a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony, solo oboe with the Lima, Peru, and Springfield, Mass. Symphony Orchestras, and solo English horn with the Puerto Rico Festival Orchestra. She was educated at Boston University, where she studied with Ralph Gomberg, later accepting a Fulbright Fellowship to continue her studies in Germany. She is well known in the Philadelphia area for her performances of contemporary music with Orchestra 2001 and is also currently a member of the Mozart Society Orchestra, solo English horn with the Philly Pops and with the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra. She has recorded for CRI and Command Classics. In addition to Thomas Whitman, composers Thomas Oboe Lee, Gerald Levinson, Robert Morgan, and Arne Running have written new works especially for her.

Mezzo-soprano FREDA HERSETH received her musical training at the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Jan DeGaetani. A Fulbright Fellowship later made it possible for her to continue her studies in Munich, and until 1995, when she was appointed Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Michigan, her career has been centered in Germany. Her principal roles have included Cherubino in Nozze di Figaro, Octavian in Rosenkavalier, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti. She has also appeared as a soloist frequently in Israel and the United States and has become well known here especially for her remarkably sensitive performances of contemporary music.

When PAMELA GUIDETTI was presented in her Carnegie recital debut as winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the New York Times wrote that she was "a flutist whose instrumental skill, musicianship, and interpretive dynamism make her a notably satisfying artist." Since then she has gone on to distinguish herself as a soloist and chamber music recitalist throughout the U.S, Canada, and South American. A recent European tour brought critical acclaim for performances in Vienna, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Moscow. In addition to an active recital schedule, Ms. Guidetti is presently solo flutist with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and the Philly Pops. She has recorded for CRI and RCA Red Seal Records.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, MICHAEL STRAUSS was appointed principal violist of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1993. He was formerly principal violist of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the Philly Pops, and Orchestra 2001. He has also played in the sections of the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras. Mr. Strauss has earned international public and critical accolades for his performances which have established his reputation across the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, and Japan. He has previously recorded for CRI and MMC Records.



JOSEPH SCHWANTNER, born in Chicago in 1943, is currently Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music where he has been on the faculty since 1970. His music has been performed by ensembles and orchestras world-wide including, the London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A recipient of numerous awards and grants including several Grammy nominations, he received the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1979 for his Aftertones of Infinity.

A native of West Virignia, GEORGE CRUMB, born in 1929, in 1995 became the 36th recipient of the Edward MacDowell Medal. Composer John Harbison, who headed the Medal Selection Committee, noted that "George Crumb's music, unique in its precision, atmosphere, and rapt concentration, has been played and admired all over the world. At a time when contemporary music threatened to retreat into elitism, it attracted new, enthusiastic listeners, without sacrificing its individuality and integrity. (He is) an American original." Crumb's musical studies took place at Mason College, the University of Illinois, and the University of Michigan. He has taught at Hollins College, the University of Colorado, and since 1965 at the University of Pennsylvania. Among his many honors has been the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1968 for his orchestral piece Echoes of Time and the River.

Rich and powerful musical language and a strong sense of drama have made Scottish-American composer THEA MUSGRAVE, born in 1928, one of the most respected and exciting contemporary composers. She is especially well known for her operas (eight), most of which have been produced in America. Her most recent opera, Simon Bolivar was premiered to great public and critical acclaim in Virginia in January 1995. Among her many honors are the Koussevitsky Award and two Guggenheim Fellowships. Since 1987 she has taught at Queen's College, City University of New York, where she is a Distinguished Professor.

THOMAS WHITMAN was born in New York City in 1960. He studied composition with Thomas Oboe Lee, Gerald Levinson, and Joan Panetti at Swarthmore College and with George Crumb, Jay Reise, and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania. As a recipient of a Luce Scholarship in 1986, he spent a year studying traditional music and culture in Bali, Indonesia. Other prizes and honors include artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony and at Yaddo and commissions from such ensembles as New York1s North/South Consonance, Boston's ALEA III, and Orchestra 2001. He has taught at Swarthmore College since 1990.

DAVID FINKO was born in Leningrad in 1936. After beginning his career in naval architecture, he graduated in 1958 from the Rimsky-Korsakov School of Performing Arts, and in 1965 from the Leningrad Conservatory. He emigrated with his wife and son from Russia to the United States in 1980, becoming an American citizen in 1986. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, and Swarthmore College, and currently lives in Philadelphia. He has received awards from ASCAP, the Fromm Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.


The title of the work is drawn from a line of an original poem which forms the poetic backdrop for the music, a procedure I have employed in several works, including Aftertones of Infinity for orchestra (1978) and Music of Amber (1981). While the work is not specifically programmatic, the poem did evoke a wellspring of vivid extra-musical images that continually resonated throughout the work's evolution and helped to provoke and shape the flow of my musical ideas.
The music is framed in a single extended movement with the piano weaving a continuous musical thread throughout the work. While the piano has the major responsibility for presenting the primary musical elements, it also shares, merges, and unites those elements with the other instruments of the ensemble.

-Joseph Schwantner


When the 15 musicians of Orchestra 2001 arrived in Moscow early in October of 1993 to play three concerts of American music, we found ourselves in the midst of a revolution. We were housed in the Moscow Conservatory's apartment complex only a block from the school; but rifle fire in the streets outside our windows and the roar of tanks and bursting of shells a half mile away at Moscow's Parliament Building kept us confined to our spartan quarters and threatened to prevent our concerts from taking place.
Three days later and after much bloodshed, Boris Yeltsin's forces had emerged victorious, military action had subsided, and our opening concert devoted to music by George Crumb took place before an enthusiastic and courageous - for sniper fire still occasionally could be heard - audience in the Conservatory's elegant Rachmaninoff Hall. George himself had accompanied us, and he introduced each piece. Lux Aeterna opened the program, and I shall never forget the immediate impact this piece had on the audience and on us as performers. Its extraordinarily beautiful synthesis of eastern and western sounds (a sitar and tablas, soprano recorder and bass flute, chimes, cymbals, vibraphone, and antique cymbals reverberating on the heads of timpani), its use of the familiar Latin text from the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead, and its remarkable sense of calm and peace all seemed the perfect means to take from us the pain and the terror of the previous few days. It was, I believe, a moment that everyone who was present will always remember.
Lux Aeterna (1971) is in one movement marked "very slowly, with a sense of meditative time; pregnant with mystery." The music is interrupted four times by a Refrain of successively diminishing lengths called "Masked Dance: Elegy for a Dead Prince." It is only in these non-vocal sections that the sitar, tablas, and soprano recorder are played. I have always thought that those four moments in which the voice, bass flute, and vibraphone slide quietly from their exclusively whole-tone musings into the pure and clearly defined F Majorness of the sitar and recorder music are among the most exquisite juxtapositions of non-tonal and tonal ideas in the 20th century.

-James Freeman


This work was originally commissioned by the BBC for James Galway, as a work for solo flute and tape (Orfeo I). It was first performed by him in this version in 1976. Shortly after, another version (Orfeo II) was written where all the music on the tape was distributed amongst 15 strings. Orfeo III was written specially for James Freeman and his Orchestra 2001 to take on tour to Moscow in October 1993. The first performance was in the Rachmaninoff Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
The work is intended as a simple retelling of the famous legend. The flute represents Orfeo; all the other elements and characters in the story are represented by the music for the strings. Orfeo's journey to the underworld exists only in his imaglnation. To heighten the effect of this separation of reality and imagination, much of the music of Euridice, the Furies, the Shades, is suggested by "memory" elements, that is, quotations from the Orfeo of Gluck which are woven into the fabric of the music.


In the fall of 1991, James Freeman came to me with an unusual request. He'd had a vision of a solo piece for his wife, oboist/English hornist Dorothy Freeman, accompanied by piano and bell-like percussion instruments. He wanted to know if I could compose for such an ensemble. Intrigued by this sensuous combination, I began sketching almost immediately.
As I worked, I made two slight modifications in the ensemble Jim had suggested. I divided the percussion instruments spatially, augmenting those on stage with an additional set of crotales at the back of the concert hall, to surround the audience with bell sounds. I also added a string bass to counter the predominately high pitched percussion. The work was premiered in February of 1993 by the performers on this recording and is dedicated to Dorothy Freeman.
Aubade, or song of the dawn, evokes the changing qualities of light and life in the hours before sunrise. Opening with a premonition of the light to come, the music immediately settles into early morning darkness. A stormy passage ensues, perhaps the fleeting reminiscence of a troubled dream. Becoming increasingly luminous, the work concludes with a peaceful hymn to the arrival of daylight.

-Thomas Whitman

CONCERTO FOR VIOLA AND ORCHESTRA was written in 1971 and was premiered in 1972 by the Leningrad Philharmonic (Alexei Ludewig, violist; Vakhtang Jordania, conductor). The concerto is a single-movement tragic conception, and it represents a personal human drama. It is built on three themes/images. The first and main one sounds both like an Orthodox Church prayer and a Jewish cantorial lamentation, and expresses a mood of self-controlled sobbing, agonized meditations, presentiment of disaster. A second theme, in contrast to the first, is a careless, light-hearted waltz. The third musical image is not a theme but a shout of terror and great pain. This image appears for the first time before the waltz. The development brings a distorted rotation of all these themes with tragic, heroic, and sometimes gentle moods. The climax of the concerto is the cadenza of the soloist and the following orchestral section. With the coda comes catharsis.

-David Finko