Paul Freeman Introduces...Vol. 3 - James Mobberley



Paul Freeman Introduces. . .


James Mobberley




Concerto for


Piano &






Concerto for


Marimba &












Charla Freeman Puryear: Spiral




Czech National Symphony Orchestra


Paul Freeman, Music Director


Richard Cass, Piano


Marimba Yajalon








Concerto for Piano and Orchestra




Written for Richard Cass and the Kansas City Symphony in 1994, the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was premiered the same year in Kansas City, conducted by William McGlaughlin. The work was commissioned through a Guggenheim Fellowship and supported in part by a sabbatical leave from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.




"The piece is in three movements, each of which reflects a different emotional side of parenthood. The first movement represents the excitement (hysteria) of forthcoming childbirth. The middle movement begins with amazingly soft moments (following childbirth) but leads into the period of sleeplessness and total chaos that inevitably follows. In the final movement there is represented the wonderfully fun, unpredictable interactions that start to happen, beginning with the child's first smile."




Concerto for Marimba (Eight Hands) and Orchestra




This work was written for Laurence Kaptain and Marimba Yajalon, an ensemble of four percussionists who perform on an authentic folk instrument indigenous to Chiapas, the southernmost state in Mexico. The most unusual and characteristic quality of this instrument is the "buzzing" sound created by a kazoo-like membrane at the bottom of each resonator, creating a sound unlike that of any other mallet instrument. The unique range, timbre, and tradition of this instrument played an important role in the writing of the music. Mobberley describes his music as follows: "I wanted to capture the spirit of the instrument without simply arranging existing folk tunes. However, I also wanted to put my individual stamp on the composition without carrying the music completely beyond the instrument's roots. As a result, each movement draws on some pre-existing traditions. Each diverges, in varying degrees, from these sources. Movement I takes Spanish guitar harmonies as a point of departure, but the two dances that result are obviously for dancers with an unusual number of feet(!). Movement II begins without reference to traditional Chiapan music, but as the tempo increases, more and more melodic fragments of eight tunes are woven into the musical fabric (the Spanish word "tapiz" or "tapestry") until two complete tunes emerge. I chose tunes that are very common in Chiapas, and in particular are favorites of Laurence Kaptain. The last movement draws on two traditional dance forms, tarantella and bolero, but the result is not quite either one. It also uses a Chiapan folk tune as its melodic basis, but the harmonizations are distinctly non-traditional."








"Arena is the result of approximately two years of collaboration between choreographer Todd Bolender and me. Our discussions ranged from topics on spirituality to politics, from the poetry of T.S. Eliot to the paintings of Anselm Kieffer, from jazz to Stravinsky, and from George Balanchine to Martha Graham. The opportunity to work together with a person of Todd's legendary stature, and to experience, through his imagination and his memory, the best of ballet artistry in this century, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Arenaevolved slowly from our discussions into reality. The result is a work which suggests rather than describes, which evokes emotions rather than portrays actions, and which mixes despair and redemption in equal measure through the use of cyclical forms. The music is cast in four "movements" which are performed without pause. The introduction is a story without words, the second a mixture of guileless,


boisterous energy with its own mirror image a darker, more angular, and perhaps more destructive form of that same energy. The third movement, which accompanies a pas de deux, begins gently but builds inexorably in strength. The last movement revisits material and moods from previous sections, but with an extended dramatic spectrum. The energy is at its most chaotic, and the inexorable building from the third movement returns in a more powerful form, reaching and sustaining the final climax of the work.




James Mobberley




Born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1954, Mobberley was raised in Pennsylvania. He earned his Masters Degree at the University of North Carolina and his Doctorate at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied composition with Donald Erb and Eugene O'Brien.




He began teaching composition and electronic music in 1981, and since 1983 has been on the composition faculty of the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also directs the Conservatory's Music Production and Computer Technology (M-PACT) Center and, in 1998, taught composition at Indiana University.




Appointed in 1991 as the Kansas City Symphony's first Composer-in-Residence, Dr. Mobberley has extended the residency to include the State Ballet of Missouri, the Paseo Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and the local arts magnet high school.




He has received numerous commissions, fellowships, grants, and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize Fellowship, a Composer's Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lee Ettelson Composers Award. Among the most talented of the younger group of contemporary American composers, Dr. Mobberley's music spans media, including orchestral and chamber music, music for film, video, theatre, dance, and music that combines electronic and computer elements with live performance. In this last category are twelve works that have received over 200 performances in a dozen countries. His music is published by Cautious Music, Box 32493, Kansas City, MO 64111 and MMB Music (St. Louis) and Edipan (Rome).




Richard Cass




Richard Cass continues to enrapture audiences with his sensitive playing and dazzling technique. He recently completed two years of global travel that included an immensely successful recital in Moscow's Rachmaninoff Hall, a teaching residency at the Moscow Conservatory and an artist residency at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea. In 1995, Cass appeared in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Keshkemet and Budapest as a member of the first U.S. Citizen Ambassador Delegation of Performing Keyboard Artists to tour these cities.




Recently Cass performed and recorded the music of Beethoven with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Paul Freeman. He frequently performs with the Kansas City Symphony and collaborates with its concertmaster in the Klausner-Cass Duo.




A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Cass was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to L'Ecole Normale de Paris, where he studied with such legendary musicians as Nadia Boulanger and Alfred Cortot. He began his concert career under the aegis of Columbia Artists Management, performing throughout Europe, Canada, Mexico, Asia and the USA.




A dedicated teacher and Steinway artist, Cass was honored this year with South Carolina's highest civilian award, the Order of the Palmetto. He also holds the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Missouri and is featured in Benjamin Saver's widely acclaimed book The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA.




Marimba Yajalon




In 1988 Laurence Kaptain formed this group of North American percussionists after living in Chiapas, Mexico and researching the marimba as a Fulbright Scholar. In its current configuration, Marimba Yajalon is comprised of four players performing on a single instrument of five and one-half octaves.




A professional resident ensemble at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, Marimba Yajalon maintains an active international schedule of performances, recordings, and multi-cultural workshops and presentations. The ensemble has appeared on National Public Radio's Morning Edition and made five tours of Mexico. From 1991 to 1994 Marimba Yajalon was the only North American marimba ensemble invited to participate at the International Festivals of the Marimba in Mexico City and Chiapas.




Other members of Marimba Yajalon are John Currey, James Schank, and Peter Tadych.




Laurence Kaptain, Director of Yajalon




Laurence Kaptain is widely heard as a percussionist, marimba, and cimbalom (the Hungarian dulcimer) artist in many important festivals and concerts. In 1998 he appeared with the Montreal Symphony in a special video recording for Japan's NHK Television Network and with the Chicago Symphony under Pierre Boulez. Kaptain has also appeared with many other major orchestras, including the San Antonio, Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Rochester, St. Louis Symphonies, the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, New York Philharmonic and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He can be heard on the Teldec, London/Decca, Chandos, Deutsche Grammophon, Mark and HWP Record labels.




A former Fulbright Scholar to Mexico, Kaptain has received degrees from several universities, including the DMA from the University of Michigan. He is the author of the widely read The Wood That Sings and a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.




Paul Freeman




Paul Freeman has distinguished himself as one of the world's pre-eminent conductors. Much in demand, he has conducted over 100 orchestras in 28 different countries including the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and major orchestras in London, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Berlin. Maestro Freeman has served as the Music Director of Canada's Victoria Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic and Associate Conductor of the Detroit and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. He is currently Music Director of the renowned Chicago Sinfonietta and simultaneously serves as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague. With over 200 recordings to his credit, he has won numerous awards for his unique interpretations of the classical, romantic, and modern repertoire. Dr. Freeman, who studied on a U.S. Fulbright Grant at the Hochschule in Berlin, holds a Ph.D. degree from the Eastman School of Music and LH.D. degrees from Dominican


University and Loyola University.




Czech National Symphony Orchestra




Since the Czech Republic's bloodless "Velvet Revolution" of 1989, the country has been riding a rapid wave of democratization, which has affected the music industry as well. Orchestras in order to survive must concern themselves with the procurement of foreign funds through recording contracts and overseas performances. These developments have necessitated the need for higher performance standards.




Out of this chaotic scene Jan Hasenöhrl, an outstanding solo trumpet player, sensed the acute need to reshape the Czech orchestral scene and, in 1993, invited the top musicians from Prague's major orchestras to form a new orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra gave its first concert, conducted by Vladimir Valek, in November 1993 in Prague's Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall. In 1994 the Czech music world's national treasure, Zdenek Kosler, was named chief conductor. The first recording was made at the beginning of April 1994. Maestro Kosler died in August 1995.




In January 1996 the brilliant American Conductor and Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, Paul Freeman was appointed Music Director and Chief Conductor. Under Maestro Freeman's leadership, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra has shown stunning development. Already he has made over 30 compact discs with the orchestra and has toured Italy and Great Britain. So successful was the November 1997 United Kingdom tour of 19 concerts under Paul Freeman and Libor Pesek that IMG Concert Management has recently signed a 5-year contract to tour the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Europe, Asia, and America. Through its many recordings, concerts and television productions it is fast becoming one of the most important ensembles in the Czech Republic.




Artistic Director: Paul Freeman


Executive Producer: Joan Yarbrough


Producer: Jiri Gemrot


Engineer: Eric Kunze


Editing: Mark Franklin, Media Magic, Inc., Victoria, BC


Recorded June 1997


Czech National Radio Studios, Prague


Cover Art: Charla Freeman Puryear




This recording is made possible with funds provided by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Conservatory of Music.






Paul Freeman Introduces. . .


James Mobberley




Paul Freeman introduces (2:32)


Piano Concerto


I (8:10)


II (11:39)


III (6:09)




Richard Cass, piano


Paul Freeman introduces (1:31)




Marimba Concerto


Preludios y Danzas (7:25)


Tapiz para El Kapitan (7:18)


Finale: Tarantella/Bolero (5:56)




Marimba Yajalon


Paul Freeman introduces (1:27)


Arena (22:28)




Czech National Symphony Orchestra


PAUL FREEMAN, Music Director




Total Time = 74:41