The Music of Ezra Laderman, Vol. 4



the music of








conducted by






performed by the yale cellos




In 1946 Claus Adam (a fine composer and cellist) introduced me to the composer Stefan Wolpe. For the next three years Wolpe and
his wife Irma (a pianist, and a disciple of Steuermann) became my mentors. As a student in Brooklyn College 1946-50, I took courses with
Miriam Gideon and played in the orchestra where I met the wonderful violinist Isidore Cohen. He bestowed upon me my first
commission which went something like this: “I am going to give a recital at the New School in October. If you can compose a piece for
me I would happily premier it.” I did, and he did. Weekly encounters with the volatile, fascinating Wolpes brought me into a special world. It included a disparate group, some composers, some pianists, including Morton Feldman, Ralph Shapey, David Tudor, Jackie Maxim, and
Isaac Nemiroff. We would meet regularly with the master. I also studied conducting, for a time, with Shapey. He had a unique
affinity for complex rhythms. The world of the serialists became my world, and for a number of years my music was structured on
the twelve tone system.


After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1950, I took a Master's degree in composition at Columbia University where Otto Luening held forth. He was a breath of fresh air. Studying with him was a liberating, “finding out about yourself” experience. Luening had seen my “Leipzig Symphony,” written in 1945, and understood from that work that I had an innate affinity for tonality. He urged me to reclaim my roots without relinquishing what I had absorbed over the last three years. The Piano Sonata No. 2, 1955 (vol. 1) and the Sonata for Violin and Piano, 1956 (vol. 2) are compositions that reflect this period. What Wolpe gave me more than anything else was the manner in which musical material is transformed. Whether it be constant variation, or reexamination of previously stated music, all the elements are under a constant flux revealing facets that are waiting to be delineated. What Luening gave me was my freedom.


Graduating in 1952 from Columbia I wanted to go on for a Doctorate. There were then but a handful of schools in all of North America that gave this degree in composition. Two universities had possibilities, but the assistantships offered were so modest that I could not pursue them. I was now a married man with a child on the way, and there was rent to pay. Marrying Aimlee Davis was the smartest thing I ever did. A half-century later, as I write these notes, with three children, seven grandchildren, and a trunk-load of memories, we continue to pursue our separate goals while having a heck of a time together. If this sounds corny, I'll buy it.


The years 1952-1972 I chose not to pursue an academic career, but one that was lived by my wits and my craft in New York City.
I composed for myself in the morning and for others in the afternoon. I wrote, whether commissioned or not, every day from around nine
a.m. till one or two p.m. Then after a break I would return to my desk to compose music that would involve others. Those others were
directors, producers, choreographers. Pamela Illot (CBS TV), Gerald Green (NBC TV), Lou Stouman and John Barnes (film), Gene Frankel
and Ira Cirker (theater), Jean Erdman, Anna Sokolov, Jose Limon and John Butler (choreographers), were my most important colleagues
in these ventures. The works that I wrote with and for them bore the added bonus of pleasing them as well as myself. It was both
difficult and stimulating, frustrating and exhilarating; it was living the composer's life. And then I saw that I would soon have three
children going to college at the same time. I decided it was time to get a job.


— Ezra Laderman


Cellists don't normally travel in herds. Usually, when playing chamber music, they individually seek out their natural partners: two violinists and a violist, or else a violinist and a pianist. In certain environments, though, they do gather: to comprise the cello section in a symphony orchestra, or to learn as pupils of a master teacher. The Berlin Philharmonic or London Symphony cello sections do at times perform as independent units. But they are artificial creations, and limited ones, thriving only in the cracks between blocks of time
committed to the full orchestra. The development of such groups take place more naturally in the cello studio of a conservatory teacher. There the teacher may view the ensemble as a vehicle to share musical and technical ideas at once with many of his students. Take the Yale Cellos, for instance. For more than four decades their technique has been refined, their sound shaped by Aldo Parisot, cello professor at the Yale School of Music. Under Parisot's tutelage the Yale Cellos project constant warmth and elegance, even though each year new cellists matriculate as others graduate. And activities of the ensemble take pride of place in the students' schedules.


Parisot first encountered the repertory for cello ensemble not as a teacher, but as a relatively young performer. He comes from Brazil, and arrived in the United States as a standard-bearer for the music of his countryman, Heitor Villa-Lobos. Parisot made his New York Philharmonic debut in the 1950s with the premiere of the Villa-Lobos Cello Concerto No. 2. Villa-Lobos was already quite well-known, in part for two cello ensemble compositions that virtually established the genre: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 and No. 5 (the latter for soprano with cello ensemble).


Each of the Villa-Lobos works requires eight cellos. But the cello ensemble is a fluid entity, unlike a string quartet. The available group varies from place to place with the number of students or the size of the orchestra. So composers often score their works for fewer parts than the number of players in the ensemble, expecting that multiple cellists on a part will contribute depth and majesty to the sound. In Simões, for example, Ezra Laderman divides the group into six lines; in the Concerto for Multiple Cellos: Parisot, he divides by four. These divisions, too, are fluid throughout the scores; Laderman at times collapses the diverse sound world into powerfully directed unisons or duets. In this recording the number of cellists, a minimum of sixteen, varies with each piece; but always each part is shared by at least two players.


The trilogy of works, Aldo, Simões, and Parisot, by Laderman comprise the most significant contribution to the cello repertory since Villa-Lobos. And Parisot provides the link from one composer to the other. Laderman's understanding of the Yale Cellos and the group's mentor is intimate. As dean of the Yale School of Music until 1995, and a professor of composition since then, he served as Parisot's colleague and presided over all the cello ensemble's activities. When he composed Aldo, the earliest of his three works for the Yale Cellos, in 1994, Laderman had with regularity heard the group perform for six years. So he knew already the special capabilities of
multiple cellos, with its range of highs and lows approximating the vocal range of a chorus, its center of gravity pitched lower than that of a string orchestra. Moreover, because all the musicians in the ensemble play the same instrument, there is no hierarchy. If a melody is given to the line highest in pitch, the cellists playing the sixth line are equally competent to play it as those playing the first. This leads to the fabulous possibility of interweaving lines.


Laderman is no stranger to the composition of trilogies. His Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth String Quartets (recorded by the Cassatt Quartet on Albany Records) comprise a trilogy that Laderman had composed more than a decade earlier. Before them came the Fifth String Quartet, which is so massive that its three movements are more often performed separately, and may be considered a trilogy. When he began the Sixth Quartet, in 1980, Laderman did not yet know that he was embarking on a three-work cycle; the large-scale plan
itself when he considered writing the Seventh. Similarly, Aldo at first seemed a singular work. Only later did Laderman regard the piece as the first in a series, the title for each work drawn from a different one of Parisot's names—Simões (or “Simon” in English) is Aldo Parisot's middle name.


Aldo relates most directly to the Bachianas Brasileiras of Villa-Lobos, compositions that make use of Brazilian folk idioms. The Laderman work is a variation set that builds from a folksong, pitched in A minor, that Parisot's mother sang to him as a child. As in many variation structures, each new section takes the work gesturally and harmonically farther from its origins, yet without ever losing traces of the tune. The points of departure for the work's harmonic adventures lie in the penultimate cadences of the tune, where under the note E the composer invents a series of surprising substitutions for the dominant chord of E major. About two-thirds into the variations the theme returns virtually in its original guise. Because it follows a sequence of passages in which the tune became unmoored from its harmonies, the return functions very much like a classical recapitulation.


Several years later Laderman returned to the medium with the five-movement Concerto for Multiple Cellos: Parisot. Though composed second, ultimately he placed the work last in the trilogy. The work is dedicated to Parisot, but each movement is an expression of Laderman's affection for a different cellist. The composer revealed his inspirations in a program note:


I had that bear of a man, Piatigorsky, in mind when writing the first movement. Casals I met when he was quite old and frail, yet the strength and poetry of his life left a memorable impression on me. Feuermann was the consummate performer—his tragic death robbed the world of an extraordinary musician. Starker, always noble, severe and intense, fixes you on the music and never lets you wander away. Parisot brings joy and vitality to everything he touches. His playing is dangerous; he is a risk-taker . . . taking you to the brink and emerging triumphant.


Each section is reactive to the different qualities I perceived in these performers, resulting in musical material unique to each movement and treated in a different way. The first movement is in two parts, the second part imitating the
gesture of the first but in an altered way. The second movement has many layers which peel away as the piece
progresses. The third is an interplay between all four parts which dovetail from one to the other. The fourth movement is made up of four continually constricting phrases, and the fifth movement is a relentless vivace with a perpetually changing pulse. Each of these elements is but one distinguishing factor in each of the five movements. The piece is essentially an homage to an instrument that has given me endless pleasure.


Indeed, Laderman has devoted much time to expanding the cello's repertory. In addition to these three works, there are also a pair of cello concertos, a pair of unaccompanied cello partitas, a cello-piano duo (vol. 1), and a large number of chamber works that
feature the instrument.


Placed second in the trilogy, Simões is the only through-composed work of the three, the only one not broken into variations or movements. Its opening is marked Gently, mysteriously, and it conjures up an extraordinary range of colors, coupled with mercurial shifts in the functions of instruments. Laderman's description of the work identifies its


two distinct contrasting qualities that interweave and give the work its direction: the first, harmonically rich with a gently questioning quality; the other, arching lyric lines over a rather stark underpinning. Into this dialogue, roughly halfway through its sixteen minute length, there is a layering of individual lines that inhabit this serene space. These lines interrupt, collide, threaten to dominate, and abruptly disappear, leaving the original material transformed, yet whole. A final section titled “farewell” brings the piece to a close.


—Harold Meltzer


Aldo Parisot


Long acknowledged as one of the world's master cellists, Aldo Parisot has led the career of a complete artist — as a concert soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and teacher. He has been heard with the major orchestras of the world, including Berlin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rio, Munich, Warsaw, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh, among others, under the batons of such eminent conductors as Stokowski, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Mehta, Monteux, Paray, Carvalho, Sawallisch, Hindemith and Villa-Lobos. As an artist seeking to expand his instrument's repertoire, Mr. Parisot has premiered numerous works for the cello, written especially for him by such composers as Carmago Guarnieri, Quincy Porter, Alvin Etler, Claudio Santoro, Yehudi Wyner and Villa-Lobos, whose Cello Concerto No. 2 (written for and dedicated to him) was premiered by Mr. Parisot in his New York Philharmonic debut.


Born in Natal, Brazil, Mr. Parisot began studying the cello at age seven with his stepfather, Tomazzo Babini, and made his professional debut at age 12. He came to the United States in 1946 and made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, followed by extensive touring in the United States.


Mr. Parisot has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors over the years, including gold medals from Lebanon and Brazil, and honorary citizenships. In 1980 Mr. Parisot received the Eva Janzer “Chevalier du Violoncelle” award given by Indiana University. In 1982, he was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal following his performance at its Staff Day ceremonies, and, in 1983 he received the Artist/Teacher Award presented by the American String Teachers Association. In May of 1997, Mr. Parisot received the Governor's Arts Award from the State of Connecticut for outstanding achievement as a musician and teacher.


During his career, Mr. Parisot has served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, Mannes School of Music, and the New England Conservatory. He has been a distinguished artist faculty member of the string master class faculty at the Banff Center in Canada since 1980.




The Yale Cellos


Aldo Parisot, conductor




Ole Akahoshi


Tanya Anisimova


Pansy Chang


Joseph Elworthy


Claude Giron


Yun Jung Huh


Hae-eun Kim


Minhye Clara Kim


Kangho Lee


Sunny Lee


Robert Maine


Carol Ou


Timothy Park


Timora Rosler


Francois Salque


Mariusz Skula


Aram Talalian


Brandon Vamos




Ole Akahoshi


An-Lin Bardin


Richard Belcher


Jesus Castro-Balbi


YuRhee Chae


Yves Dharamraj


Miriam Eckelhoefer


Christopher Gauthier


Patrick Jee


Jehoon Kim


Kenneth Kun


Tsau-Lun Lu


Inbal Megiddo


Tarnas Merei


Emily Payne


Zoe Tsuchida








Ole Okahoshi


Pansy Chang


Ashley Brown


Naomi Boole-Masterson


Patrick Jee


Inbal Magiddo


Ching Wen Hsu


Florence LeBlond


Christopher Gauthier


Sarah Choi


Yuya Wang


Angela Gallager


Jehoon Kim


Olivia Blander


Ann-Lin Barden


Elise Pittenger






The Music of


Ezra Laderman / vol4




The Yale Cellos


Aldo Parisot, conductor




1 Aldo [19:11]


2 Simões [16:36]


Parisot (Concerto for Cello Ensemble) [27:02]


3 Allegro Appassionato (Piatigorsky) [4:14]


4 Andante con Moto (Casals) [8:15]




5 Scherzo (Feuermann) [3:02]


6 Cadenza (Starker) [8:06]


7 Vivace (Parisot) [3:23]




Total Time = 62:58