Twentieth Century Contrasts



Michael Daugherty




Lukas Foss


For Toru


William Bolcom




James R. Hanna




Alec Wilder


Five Love Songs


Quincy Porter


Music For Strings


Astor Piazzolla


(arranged by John Adams)


Todo Buenos Aires


Henri Pensis


Fantasy on Two Christmas Carols




Miramar Sinfonietta


Henri B. Pensis, Conductor




Twentieth Century Contrasts








Michael Daugherty (b. 1954)


Michael Daugherty is one of the most performed and commissioned composers of his generation. He has created a niche in the music world that is uniquely his own, composing concert music inspired by contemporary American popular culture. Daugherty came to international attention when his Metropolis Symphony (1988-93), a tribute to the Superman comics, was performed in 1995 at Carnegie Hall by conductor David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and subsequently recorded for Argo/Decca. Other large orchestral works include UFO (1999), a percussion concerto commissioned and premiered by Evelyn Glennie, percussion soloist, and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin. His second symphony, MotorCity Triptych (2000) was commissioned and premiered by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with conductor Neeme Jarvi. Philadelphia Stories (2001), Daugherty's third symphony, was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by David Zinman.


Daugherty's chamber music is widely performed as well, and has been recorded for Argo/Decca on the CD, American Icons. His string quartets include Sing Sing: J. Edgar Hoover (1992) and Elvis Everywhere (1993) both performed on world tours and recorded on Nonesuch by the Kronos Quartet. His opera Jackie O (1997) has been produced in America, Canada, France, and Sweden and recorded by Argo/Decca. Daugherty has also composed numerous works for wind ensemble, recently recorded by Klavier on a disc titled UFO: The Music of Michael Daugherty.


Born in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Daugherty is the son of a dance-band drummer and the oldest of five brothers, all professional musicians. He studied music composition at North Texas State University (1972-76) and Manhattan School of Music (1976-78), and computer music at Boulez's IRCAM in Paris (1979-80). Daugherty received his doctorate from Yale University in 1986. During this time he also collaborated with jazz arranger Gil Evans in New York, and pursued further studies with composer Gyorgy Ligeti in Hamburg, Germany (1982-84). After teaching music composition for several years at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daugherty joined the School of Music at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition. In 1999, Daugherty began a four-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Future commissions include a violin concerto for Pamela Frank and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a new work for three conductors and orchestra for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and an octet for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music society.


Daugherty has received numerous awards for his music, including the Stoeger Prize from Lincoln Center, recognition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. His music is published exclusively by Peermusic Classical, New York and represented in Europe by Faber Music, London.




Strut (1989) for String Orchestra is inspired by the great black American Paul Robeson (1898-1976). Robeson was perhaps the most passionately outspoken advocate of American racial equality in his time. Although trained as a lawyer, Robeson was widely admired for his acting, on stage as Shakespeare's Othello and in films such as “The Emperor Jones” (1932) and “Showboat” (1936), and in concert as a singer of black American spirituals. At the height of his career, in the 1940s, he devoted his energy to the National Negro Congress and labor unions, using his international celebrity to openly criticize the Ku Klux Klan and segregation laws around the world. Fluent in many languages, Robeson believed that the pre-Stalin philosophy of the Soviet Union would improve the condition of all oppressed people. He was kept under close surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I. because of “subversive” acts like singing communist songs alongside “Old Man River” in concerts. His passport was revoked from 1950 to 1958, forcing his film and concert career to a virtual standstill. In 1958 he revived his musical activities abroad, but illness forced him into early retirement.


The buoyancy and fearless fiddling of Strut reflects the visionary optimism of the Harlem Renaissance. From 1920 until about 1930, the Harlem Renaissance in America marked an unprecedented outburst of creative activity in all fields of Afro-American art in which Paul Robeson was a central figure. Imagining a youthful and optimistic Robeson strutting down 125th street in Harlem in the 1920s, I have created various rhythmic motive themes and vibrant syncopations that are woven into a lively and complex rhythmic tapestry.


—Michael Daugherty


Lukas Foss (b. 1922)


Lukas Foss is a unique figure in American music, representing an extraordinary legacy as conductor, composer, pianist, and pedagogue. He has conducted all of the most celebrated orchestras in the world, including the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Leningrad Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. As Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and the Jerusalem Symphony, Foss has been an effective champion of living composers and has brought new life and interpretations to the standard repertoire.


For Toru


Toru Takemitsu is a very important composer. He was a good friend. For Toru was composed in his memory. Beginning and end are a lament, with harmonies that I am particularly fond of. The middle section is more lively and virtuosic for the flute.


The work was commissioned by “Music from Japan.”


—Lukas Foss


William Bolcom (b. 1938)


Seattle-born composer and pianist William Bolcom entered the University of Washington at age 11, studied with composer Darius Milhaud at Mills College and the Paris Conservatoire, and completed his doctorate in composition at Stanford University in 1964.


To date, Bolcom is featured on nearly 40 albums as both performer and composer (several of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards), including 20 made with his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, with whom he tours worldwide. He has taught composition at the University of Michigan since 1973, where he is the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Music and Chairman of the Composition Department. Recent honors include honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Albion College, and the New England Conservatory, and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his 12 New Etudes for Piano. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.




I wrote this work during the summer of 1964 at Aspen, where it was performed by a young Brazilian violinist whose name I forget (and who subsequently rammed my car into a telephone pole; he survived but the car didn't) and a student string group, conducted by Leonard Slatkin — the beginning of a long association, as he has premiered many of my works over the years. Darius Milhaud especially liked the work, and hearing it now again after so many years recalls his face as he said to me, “Gardez ce style si plein de fantaisie et d'humour,” which I hope I have done. It was for me a rediscovery of the idea of using key-center, after a long time when alluding to tonality at all was emphatically NOT DONE by composers!


The first movement has much of the feel of a Mozart string divertimento. The “distant relative” of the second movement was Richard Wagner, and there are hidden quotations of his work throughout. The short scherzo movement, which leads to a solo lament, eventually lands upon a lighthearted rondo, unashamedly in G major — a compositional ploy that drew criticism at the time.


—William Bolcom


James R. Hanna (b. 1922)


Recipient of a grant from the Louisiana Council of Music and the Performing Arts for premiere performances of the Second Symphony, and a four-time winner of the Louisiana composition contest, James R. Hanna is a National Arts Associate of Sigma Alpha Iota.


His compositions include works for orchestra, chamber music, vocal music and keyboard. His publishers include Alphonse Leduc et Cie., Paris; Carl Fischer; Music for percussion; and Jack Spratt. His Elegy for Moss Land is included on a Centaur CD.


In 1983, Hanna retired from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana University at Lafayette) after 34 years as professor of music theory and composition.




Downs is the fourth movement of Hanna's Symphony No. 4 (for strings), commissioned in 1986 by the Vermilion Chamber Orchestra (Lafayette, Louisiana), Charles fuller, director. The fourth movement is based entirely on a hymn tune from Lowell Mason's Psalm Book of 1840. The tune is known as “Downs” and appears in its original version as the melody at the end of the movement.


—James R. Hanna


Alec Wilder (b. 1920 - d. 1980)


Largely self-taught, except for a short stay at the Eastman School of Music, Alec Wilder developed his own style. He composed popular music for artists such as Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, and Frank Sinatra, among others. Alongside this, he composed art songs for such artists as Eileen Farrell and Jan DeGaetani, and large works for conductors such as Leinsdorf, David Zinman, and Gunther Schuller. His friendship with and admiration for the horn virtuoso John Barrows resulted in many chamber works that included and/or featured that instrument. He left more than 300 works for such “neglected” instruments as the tuba, trombone, bassoon, string bass, oboe, marimba and others. His honors include an honorary doctorate from the Eastman School of Music; a Peabody Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship; an Avon foundation grant; the Deems Taylor ASCAP Award and a National Book Award.


Five Love Songs for horn and chamber orchestra


Five Love Songs was commissioned by Morris Secon, a member of the Rochester Philharmonic, freelancer in New York City, and a horn instructor. Since Alec Wilder knew Secon as a very lyrical performer, the thought of writing Five Love Songs became a fact. The work was first performed in public by Mr. Secon in 1979 at a Michigan State Horn Workshop. The work is essential Wilder — with a harmonic language that recalls at times French Impressionism and is occasionally modal, with singing melodies and honest sentiment. Wilder composed numerous works for friends, as in the case of Five Love Songs, some of which have yet to come to the attention of music lovers. He is truly an unjustly neglected “American Original.”


Quincy Porter (1897-1966)


A graduate of Yale University, Quincy Porter studied composition with Horatio Parker and David Stanley Smith while there. He continued his study of composition in Paris at the Schola Cantorum with Vincent d'Indy between 1920 and 1922. He returned to this country to study with Ernest Bloch and became head of the theory department at the Cleveland Institute of Music. His long career as teacher included positions at Vassar College, dean and then director of the New England Conservatory, followed by an appointment in 1946 as professor of music at Yale, until his retirement in 1965.


Porter's compositions were remarkable for their broad appeal. They are rarely obscure and establish contact with the average listener as well as with sophisticated musicians. His works are now tender and gentle, now playful and thoughtful, but always marked by an excellent craftsmanship. He excelled with chamber music and music for strings.


His honors include Guggenheim Fellowships, the Coolidge medal for chamber music, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Steinert and Osborne composition prizes. In 1958 he became chairman of the board of directors of the American Music Center which he had helped to found in 1939.


Music for Strings


This three-movement work was composed during the summer of 1941. The composer had no particular program in mind, but each of the movements portrays a contrasting mood or state of mind.


The first movement is for the most part energetic, with a stern and rugged theme pervading the whole. The second movement, quiet and contemplative, is almost wistful in character, while the finale is contrastingly gay, built on a pizzicato, ostinato figure in the string bass.


Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)


(arr./orch. John Adams)


Todo Buenos Aires


Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's Todo Buenos Aires is a musical postcard of that city, in the same way as Gershwin's music is a logotype of New York. The work depicts the sights, sounds, and sirens of the city by night and day.


Piazzolla composed the work for his quintet (bandoneon, piano, violin, bass and electric guitar), which he considered a balanced reduction of the symphony orchestra, with the percussion effects supplied by the violin adapting many “yetes” (tricks) typical of tango groups before the 1920s.


John Adams, one of the most acclaimed American composers of today, orchestrated three of Piazzolla's tangos for Peter Martins and the New York City Ballet, on commission as part of the ongoing Diamond Project, which funds the development of new repertory works. In truth, it is more than an arrangement, since much of the brilliant solo violin part is pure Adams.


Of Piazzolla, he says: “For him, composing and performing were inextricably woven together. One thinks of Bach and of Ellington for models of a creative musician who saw little or no separation between improvising, composing and performing.”


Henri Pensis (1900-1958)


Fantasy on Two Christmas Carols


Conceived originally for solo violin and piano, when the composer was concertmaster at the West German Radio (Cologne/Langenberg), the composer orchestrated the work during the early 1940s when he was professor of violin at Morningside College (Sioux City, Iowa) and conductor of the Sioux City and Lincoln (Nebraska) symphonies. Maestro Pensis was founder and music director of the orchestra of Radio-Tele Luxembourg from 1933 until his death in 1958. The orchestra is now the state-supported Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg. He was a champion of new music at RTL as well as during his stay in the United States from 1940-46. During that period he appeared a number of times in Carnegie Hall with the New York City Symphony to great praise by the New York press (Thomson and Biancolli), and was music director of the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra. He composed orchestral and vocal music as time would allow. He presented many early performances of works by composers such as Donatoni, Milhaud, Roussel, Thomson, Mihalovici, and others. He appeared frequently as guest conductor in Brussels, Paris, Helsinki, Leipzig, and other major cities in Europe. He recorded for Festival Records.


The two carols utilized in the Fantasy are the Czech Come All Ye Shepherds and Silent Night. At the end of the work, the composer features Silent Night in the high strings while the winds carry on variations on the Czech carol.


Henri B. Pensis


Henri B. Pensis, founder and conductor of the Miramar Sinfonietta, was active as professor of music and conductor for a period of 30 years at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, and studied conducting with his father who had been a student of the renowned Hermann Abendroth. Henri B. Pensis has been a frequent guest conductor of the Orchestra of Radio Tele Luxembourg, and also conducted the newly established Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg with great success. He succeeded in improving the quality of the Oshkosh Symphony, of which he was music director for 28 years to the point that musicians of the caliber of Gutierrez, Harrell, Browning, Robinson, Stern and other artists of international reputation were happy to perform with his orchestra. He also recorded works of Lukas Foss and Virgil Thomson. Mr. Pensis has been active as a conductor in symphonic, operatic, and chamber music areas.


Mr. Pensis is Professor emeritus at the University, music director laureate of the Oshkosh Symphony, and is the recipient of the Key to the City of Oshkosh. In 1976 at a gala concert with the Radio-Tele Luxembourg Symphony honoring the Bi-Centennial of the United States, he was awarded a certificate of appreciation by the U.S. ambassador, and in the same year received a certificate of commendation from the governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson. In 1993 he was selected as an influential citizen of Oshkosh by The Oshkosh Northwestern. He is past president of the Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras and was made an honorary lifetime member of that organization. In 1998 Mr. Pensis was made an honorary member of the Institut Grand Ducal, Section des Arts et Belles Lettres, of Luxembourg. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.


Miramar Sinfonietta


The Miramar Sinfonietta was founded in the spring of 2000 specifically to record the Fantasy on Two Christmas Carols in honor of what would have been the composer's hundredth anniversary. The group was reassembled by Eric Segnitz, producer, and Henri B. Pensis for the purpose of recording works by outstanding composers, mostly Americans, that have not been recorded as yet, and deserve to be heard.


The chamber orchestra consists of some of the finest musicians in the Milwaukee area, all of them engaged in various professional organizations in that area.






Jeani Foster


Jeani Foster is principal flute of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. As a winner of the 1982 Concert Artists Guild Award, she gave her Carnegie Hall debut in 1983. Other awards include the 1996 Artists International Distinguished Artists Award and the Pablo Casals Award for Musical Accomplishment.


William Barnewitz


William Barnewitz serves as principal horn of the Milwaukee Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He has been a member of the horn section of the Sacramento and Utah Symphony Orchestras and won first place in 1991 at the prestigious American Horn Competition. Mr. Barnewitz is horn instructor at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.


Samantha George


Samantha George, associate concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony, has also been a member of the Colorado and Hartford Symphony Orchestras. She holds a doctorate in violin performance and music theory from the University of Connecticut and is a faculty member at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, where she performs as a member of the Prometheus Trio.


Eric Segnitz


Eric Segnitz is a founding member and solo violinist of the highly regarded contemporary music group, Present Music. He has recorded, arranged and produced for such labels as Argo, Northeastern, Narada, Albany, and Universal, and is the producer for this recording. His studies include work with Rudolph Kolisch of the Kolisch Quartet, and Zoltan Szekely of the Hungarian String Quartet.


Producer: Eric Segnitz


Recorded by Ric Probst at the Miramar Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Mastered by Ric Probst at Remote Planet, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Additional engineering by William Stace.


Additional mastering by Trevor Stadler at Mastermind Productions, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Cover Photograph by Claude Pensis.


Art Direction:Bates Miyamoto Design


Graphic Designer: Matthew Waggner






Michael Daugherty - Strut: Peer International Corporation


Lukas Foss - For Toru: Carl Fischer, Inc.


William Bolcom - Concerto-Serenade: Edward B. Marks Music


James R. Hanna - Downs: Available from composer


Alec Wilder - Five Love Songs: © 1980 by AMoll Dur Publications; assigned 1985 to Israel Woodwind Publications, Kfar Sava, Israel


Quincy Porter - Music for Strings: Theodore Presser Company


Astor Piazzolla (arr. Adams) - Todo Buenos Aires: Boosey &Hawkes


Henri Pensis - Fantasy on Two Christmas Carols: Available from conductor




Twentieth Century Contrasts


Miramar Sinfonietta


Henri B. Pensis, conductor


Michael Daugherty


1 Strut [5:51]


Lukas Foss


2 For Toru [9:00]


Jeani Foster, solo flute


Concertino: Timothy Klabunde, Susan Waterbury, violins


Brek Renzelman, viola


William Bolcom




3 In Modo Classico [7:07]


4 In Memory of a Distant Relative [4:10]


5 Scherzino and Cadenza [3:33]


6 Rondo [4:29]


Samantha George, solo violin


James R. Hanna


7 Downs [3:39]


Alec Wilder


Five Love Songs for horn and chamber orchestra


8 Espressivo, rubato [2:42]


9 q = 72-76 [2:35]


10 Andante, delicately [2:02]


11 q = 63 [2:08]


12 Dolce e rubato [2:30]


William Barnewitz, solo horn


Quincy Porter


Music for Strings


13 Allegro moderato [1:58]


14 Andante molto sostenuto [3:19]


15 Allegro giojoso [3:11]


Astor Piazzolla (arr. & orch. John Adams)


16 Todo Buenos Aires [5:43]


Eric Segnitz, solo violin


Henri Pensis


17 Fantasy on Two Christmas Carols [4:39]




Total Time = 68:45