Chamber Music of Robert Ward



Echoes of America


Chamber Music of Robert Ward






Robert Ward




The Pulitzer Prize winning composer was born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 13, 1917. He received his early musical training in Cleveland's public schools and graduated from the Eastman School of Music where he studied under Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson. His graduate work was completed at the Juilliard School studying composition with Frederick Jacobi and conducting with Albert Stoessel and Edgar Schenkman.




He has served on the faculties of Queens College, Columbia University, and the Juilliard School of Music, where he was assistant to the President from 1952-55. He later became music director of the Third Street Music School and conductor of the Doctor's Orchestral Society of New York. In 1956 he became Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor of Galaxy Music Corporation and Highgate Press. In 1967, he was named President of the North Carolina School of the Arts, and in 1979 became the Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music at Duke University, the position from which he retired in 1987.




Ward has always taken an active part in musical organizations across the country and continues to serve on many distinguished panels, boards and advisory committees. He holds an honorary degree in Fine Arts from Duke University and an honorary Doctorate of Music from the Peabody Institute. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he has held three Guggenheim Fellowships as well as grants from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, the Eastman School Achievement Award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and the Morrison Award from the Roanoke Island Historical Society.




Ward's large and distinguished musical creations have been commissioned by the New York City Opera, Broadcast Music, Inc., the New York Philharmonic, The Friends of Dumbarton Oaks, the Juilliard Musical Foundation and many others. His opera, The Crucible, based on the play by Arthur Miller, won both the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Music and the New York Music Critics Circle Citation for the same year. He has composed six other operas, six symphonies, major choral works, songs, and concerti for piano, violin and saxophone.




Echoes of America (1997)




Echoes of America, a Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, was commissioned by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild in celebration of my 80th birthday.




Jimmy Gilmore, clarinetist of the ensemble Aurora Musicalis, responded to the idea of a title for the trio with Echoes of America. He felt that each of the four movements related to some aspect of American musical culture in the southeastern part of the country.




The first movement, in classical sonata form, clearly evolves from the German musical tradition which the Moravians brought to Pennsylvania and to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Scherzo echoes the folk music of the Appalachian Mountains and early jazz, while the Adagio is rooted in the Blues. In the Finale, the "Bible Belt" influence is felt in the stolid, march-like hymn tune and eight variations which conclude the work.




After thinking it over, I liked the title and gratefully accepted it. The work was completed in June 1997.




Robert Ward




Appalachian Ditties and Dances (1988)




The composer writes that, "This work reflects the interest I have had in American folk music in general since the 1950's and in Appalachian music in particular since the 1970's when my wife and I had a second home in Sparta, North Carolina. The richness and vitality of that music is unparalleled by that of any other region of the country. The mountain folk are a singing people and the tunes are an inspiration or a solace for a wide spectrum of human feeling."




Raleigh Divertimento (1986)




My Raleigh Divertimento was commissioned by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild for the Aspen Wind Quintet. The premiere was played on January 19, 1986 at the Stewart Theatre of North Carolina University. The inspiration for the work was the rich variety of timbres both in solo and in ensemble work which the quintet affords. My great fascination with the beauties and difficulties of writing for the medium dates from the late 1940's when I coached woodwind ensembles at the Juilliard School. The creation of the work started with melodies inspired by the sounds of the instruments. The first movement ideas fell naturally into a sonata form with a condensed recapitulation; this last section might better be described as new variations of the original themes which remain in the basic tonality of the movement. The second movement begins with two lyric themes which are stated but then through variation become the basis for a fast paced finale which puts the virtuosity of the players to the test."




Lamentation (1946) for solo piano




Lamentation first appeared as "Of Ancient Guilt" for piano and dancer and is dedicated to dancer Judith Martin who commissioned it and gave the first performance in 1947 at the Studio Theatre in New York with Alvin Bauman at the piano. Lamentation was Ward's very first commissioned work commissioned for the huge sum of twenty-five dollars. The revised solo piano version was first performed by Samuel Sorin at the Juilliard School.




Scherzo (1950) for solo piano




Scherzo, which is frequently performed with Lamentation, was first performed in 1951 at the Peabody Conservatory of


Music by William Crystal. The somber, heavy mood of Lamentation is in marked contrast to the jagged and buoyant rhythms of the Scherzo, which though it contains a lyric contrasting theme, is mainly characterized by its driving rhythm.




Dialogues for Violin, Cello and Piano (1984)




Dialogues for Violin, Cello and Piano first appeared as Dialogues for Violin, Cello & Orchestra, written on commission from the Chattanooga Symphony (Richard Cormier, then conductor) for its 50th anniversary season, 1982-83. The chamber version of the work received its premiere at Duke University on 4 February 1984 performed by Claudia Bloom, Fred Raimi, and Randall Love.




The composer has noted that he set out to write a work which would include many of the elements of a concerto (a weighty opening, a meditative central section and a lighter, virtuoso finale) in a single movement. The work that has resulted begins with what may seem like the traditional first movement exposition but is followed not by a development section but by a slower theme in a more meditative mood. This in turn leads to a varied recapitulation of the opening themes which accelerate into a scherzo variation of the meditative middle section to bring the work to a brilliant close. Structurally, the work is an experiment on the part of the composer, albeit a successful one.




Aurora Musicalis




Aurora Musicalis is a diverse chamber music ensemble composed primarily of members of the North Carolina Symphony. Aurora Musicalis was founded by principal clarinetist, Jimmy Gilmore and cellist, Elizabeth Beilman who, along with pianist, John Ruggero form the core of the ensemble. Since its debut in 1991 the ensemble has appeared on leading chamber music series throughout the Southeast and is in residence at the Lamar Stringfield Chamber Music Festival during the month of June at Meredith College.




Stephen Shipps




Stephen Shipps, violinist, studied with Josef Gingold at Indiana University, where he received a B.M., an M.M. with honors and a performer's certificate. He also studied with Ivan Galamian and Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School and with Franco Guilli at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He is a member of the Meadowmount Trio, a past member of the Fine Arts Quartet and the Amadeus Trio and has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Dallas, Omaha, Seattle and Ann Arbor, as well as the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra and the Madiera Bach Festival. He has been associate concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony and concertmaster of the Dallas Opera, concertmaster and associate conductor of the Omaha Symphony and the Nebraska Sinfonia and guest concertmaster for the Seattle and Toledo symphonies. Mr. Shipps has recorded for American Gramophone, Bay Cities, NPR, RIAS Berlin, Hessiche Rundfunk of Frankfurt, Melodiya/Russian Disc and Moscow Radio and was recently awarded a dozen gold and two platinum records for his solo work on the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Albums. His publishers are E.C. Schirmer of Boston and the American String Teachers Association Press. He has adjudicated major national and international competitions for almost two decades and is director of the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Music in 1989, he served on the faculties of Indiana University, the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Banff Centre in Canada.




Eric Larsen




Educated in New York, London, and Paris, pianist Eric Larsen has been heard in the major concert halls of Europe, South America and the United States. He has been acclaimed equally for his solo and chamber music performances. As the recipient of a major grant from the Mary Duke Biddle foundation, he has done extensive research of the Edvard Grieg manuscript collection in Bergen, Norway. Upon his graduation from the Manhattan School of Music, he was appointed to the artist faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts.




The Amadeus Trio




The Amadeus Trio has received the highest international acclaim for its impeccable performances of the piano trio literature. Since its 1982 debut in Germany, the trio has performed extensively in Europe and the United States. The trio has recorded for the Hessiches Rundfunk and their performances have been broadcast nationally on National Public Radio.




Aspen Wind Quintet




Since winning the Naumburg chamber Music Award in 1984, the Aspen Wind Quintet has established a career of notable stature and generated an unprecedented enthusiasm for wind chamber music. They have performed for distinguished chamber music and university series and on radio and television all over the United States, Europe, Africa and the Soviet Union. Formed at the Aspen Music Festival, they subsequently served on the faculty, becoming the only woodwind quintet in the Festival's history to do so.




Echoes of America produced by Robert Ward and Jimmy Gilmore; mastering engineer: Jimmy Gilmore; recording engineer: Dwight Robinette. Appalachian Ditties and Dances, Lamentation, Scherzo, and Dialogues produced by Craig Curtis and Robert Ward; recording engineers: Craig Curtis and Don Merez; editing: Reflection Sound Studios, Charlotte, North Carolina. Raleigh Divertimento produced by Barli Nugent; recording engineer: Christine Bronder.




Echoes of America is published by Vireo Press. Applachian Ditties and Dances, Lamentation and Scherzo, Raleigh Divertimento, and Dialogues for Violin, Cello, and Piano are published by Highgate Press.




Cover art: Romare Bearden - New Orleans Ragging Home, from the Of the Blues series, 1974. © The Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.




Cover design: Bates Miyamoto Design








Echoes of America




Chamber Music of Robert Ward


Echoes of America (1997)


Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano


Andante deliberato: Allegro (7:35)


Vivace (5:04)


Adagio (5:19)


Allegro Marziale (6:30)


Appalachian Ditties and Dances (1988)


Women-folk, Just Chattin' (4:19)


A Lorn One, Grievin' (4:13)


Cloggin' (3:02)


Raleigh Divertimento (1986) Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, & Bassoon


Allegro (5:27)


Molto adagio; piu mosso (4:58)


Lamentation (1946) for Solo Piano (5:15)


Scherzo (1950) for Solo Piano (6:05)


Dialogues for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1983) (9:10)




Total time = 67:25




Aurora Musicalis




(Jimmy Gilmore, clarinet · Elizabeth Beilman, cello · John Ruggero, piano)


Stephen Shipps, violin




Eric Larsen, piano




The Aspen Wind Quintet




(Barli Nugent, flute · Claudia Coonce, oboe · David Krakauer, clarinet




Celeste-Marie Roy, bassoon · Kaitlin Mahony, horn)




Eric Larsen, piano




Amadeus Trio




(Stephen Shipps, violin · Robert Marsh, cello Eric Larsen, piano)