Network for New Music: Dream Journal





























From where I sit, as a freelance critic living in Philadelphia, the Network for New Music looks like the brightest hope for the continued health of contemporary musical creation. Over a period now approaching two decades, it has established itself among the finest institutions of its kind anywhere, a success that can be attributed to a number of causes.


One is the simple but crucial mission of the organization: “To present, encourage and commission a great diversity of new works of the highest quality by established and emerging composers, and to build a broader appreciation for new music.” More than 400 such works have so far been performed, and commissions in just the past ten years have gone to composers including Richard Brodhead, Robert Capanna, Chen Yi, Andrea Clearfield, Mario Davidovsky, Tina Davidson, Steven Dembski, Cynthia Folio, Margaret Garwood, Matthew Greenbaum, Jennifer Higdon, Jay Krush, Jan Krzywicki, Libby Larsen, Philip Maneval, Donald Martino, Eric Moe, James Primosch, David Rakowski, Bernard Rands, Jay Reise, Kile Smith, Augusta Read Thomas, Anna Weesner, Adam Wernick, Richard Wernick, and Maurice Wright — a “great diversity” indeed, and an array of talent such as few organizations in the field, anywhere in the country, could match.


Along with this enlightened openness of mind in the choice of repertoire, another essential quality is the sheer dedication and initiative of NNM's artistic director, Linda Reichert, one of the area's leading exponents of contemporary music as a pianist, who often appears in that capacity at Network concerts. Still another is the expert counsel of an artistic advisory committee whose membership includes such eminent figures from the wider composing world as Milton Babbitt, John Harbison, Joan Tower, and George Walker.


But there are other organizations that can lay claim to breadth of taste and enthusiasm in direction. To my mind, the single most vital element in NNM's supremacy is the sheer quality of its performances. It is a sad truth that contemporary music suffers almost more on occasion from the ministrations of those who perform it as of those who don't. The complexity and technical demands of many modern scores too often frustrate even the best-intentioned efforts of conductors, players, and singers caught up in the seemingly inevitable trap of inadequate rehearsal time, insufficient familiarity, and overtaxed skill. As a result, a public that is itself facing the challenge of new and unknown works can be forgiven for ascribing to the music what are actually weaknesses in its presentation. This has never, in my experience, happened at a Network concert. The regular line-up of the Network Ensemble (managed ably by Lisa Miller) includes some of the finest freelance performers in and around Philadelphia, as well as members of ensembles like the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. These players are joined at need by equally distinguished guests. The whole attains a standard of conviction and polish that would be impossible without the inspired direction of Jan Krzywicki, who brings to the performances he leads the insights of a gifted composer as well as a formidable conducting technique.


It is such a combination of informed programming and masterful presentation that is to be encountered on this CD. I hope it will be the first of many from an organization indispensable to the musical life of our time.


— by Bernard Jacobson


(contributing editor, Fanfare magazine; formerly program annotator and musicologist for the Philadelphia Orchestra)


Jennifer Higdon


Jennifer Higdon has received many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and two prizes from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, among others. She has had commissions from groups as diverse as the Oregon Symphony, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, The Philadelphia Singers, and the National Flute Association, and has been commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra as part of its centennial celebration. She is a member of the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music.


wissahickon poeTrees (1998)


Nature is ominous. It is everything. Everything that exists has in some form sprung from nature. It is powerful, omnipotent and omnipresent. And to try to describe or depict nature in the musical language is a nearly impossible and futile task, because even as musicians issue forth choreographed notes from instruments which themselves are made of materials of nature, no one can even begin to accurately portray that most phenomenal of phenomenas. And to attempt to do so, even in the most successful musicalization, is to barely scratch the surface of a beautiful reality. Therefore, I humbly submit to you this work as homage to that piece of nature within the city of Philadelphia, the Wissahickon Park. As words and titles feel very insignificant in this endeavor, I have decided to use lower case letters (except where a Tree began to grow in my title). And since time and nature consistently march along, irregardless of man's attempts to mark or defame, I have connected the season movements with “progressing clock” movements. The music has been composed to proceed without breaks, as nature's seasons never cease to blend from one into another.


— Jennifer Higdon


Bernard Rands


Through more than a hundred published works Bernard Rands is established as a major composer. The originality and distinctive character of his music have been described as combining a “plangent lyricism” with a “dramatic intensity” and a “musicality and clarity of idea allied to a sophisticated and elegant technical mastery.” He has been honored by many awards and fellowships, including the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music and the 1986 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. His recent commissions include orchestral works for the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, the Israel Philharmonic and the Tokyo Philharmonic. Composer in Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1989 to 1996, he is the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University.


Concertino, for solo oboe and ensemble (1998)


Concertino is in one continuous movement divided into two principal formal sections: the first of some five minutes duration, and the second of approximately twice that length. Each of the principal sections consists of several sub-sections; for example, the work begins with an extended cadenza-like oboe solo, exposing the material from which the entire piece is generated. The soloist is then joined by the harp in a passage which leads to the engagement of the entire ensemble in a fast, strident, complex and virtuosic development of the initial ideas. The second large section is made up of alternating slow, lyrical music (mainly in the high register of the ensemble) and progressively quicker, dramatic music culminating in a return to the fast, strident, complex and virtuosic character found at the end of the first principal section. Concertino was commissioned by the Network for New Music in Philadelphia, with generous support from Anni Baker.


Concertino is dedicated to Richard Woodhams and the memory of Mel Powell.


— Bernard Rands


Augusta Read Thomas


Augusta Read Thomas is an Associate Professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music and is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra until June 2002. Ms. Thomas has received numerous awards and fellowships; conductors including Mstislav Rostropovich, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, John Nelson, Leonard Slatkin, Christoph Eschenbach and Daniel Barenboim have programmed her work. Recent past projects include Chanson for cello and orchestra commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich and premiered in 1997 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa conducting. Upcoming premieres and projects include AURORA for Piano and Orchestra commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, which will premiere this year with Daniel Barenboim as piano soloist and conducting. In 2000, Ms. Thomas won the Siemens Award in Munich, Germany.


Passion Prayers (1999)


a chamber concerto for solo cello and six instruments


This score is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to the Network for New Music, who commissioned the work and premiered it in Philadelphia on April 11, 1999. Passion Prayers, a nine-minute work formed in several sections of varying character, is an homage to the lyrical, expressive, sensitive, eloquent, and poetic qualities of Scott Kluksdahl's playing.


I would like to express my thanks to Linda Reichert for her vision, dedication, and generosity.


— Augusta Read Thomas


James Primosch


James Primosch's music is distinguished by “A rare economy of means and a strain of religious mysticism...” according to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; “...Through articulate, transparent textures, he creates a wide range of musical emotion.” Primosch's music has been heard throughout the United States and in Europe and Asia, including performances by such ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Collage, and the Twentieth Century Consort. Primosch has received commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Speculum Musicae, and the Network for New Music, among others. Currently he is an associate professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania.


Dream Journal (1996)


When writing about my 1991 Fantasy-Variations for piano trio, I called the piece “a kind of dream journal… speaking a language of images at once logical and impossible, familiar and mysterious.” The idea of a piece that would be a record of dreams has haunted me ever since, and the formidable resources offered by the ensemble of two pianos, percussion and electronic sound on tape gave me the chance to create a sound-world that would suggest something beyond our waking experience. The use of electronic sound to amplify and extend the musical gestures of the acoustic instruments adds to the piece's emphasis on the magical and fantastical.


The title of the first movement is borrowed from that of a Kandinsky painting. This movement is built on a repeated series of dense chords which unfold very slowly at first, but gradually increase in speed. The second movement, which might be more precisely called “Recurring Anxiety Dream,” contains recurrences of many kinds: The opening refrain with its repeated notes returns in many varied forms, and the series of solos for each of the players that follows is later reprised, overlaid with additional counterpoints and ornamentation. I took “The Dream of the Rood” from the title of an anonymous medieval English poem that narrates a vision of the Cross. In this closing movement I rely on a plainchant from Prague that was called to my attention by Czech musicologist Jana Novotna. When my wife and I visited Prague in 1993 we attended Holy Week services at the Old Tyn Church. Near the end of the Easter Vigil the congregation began to ring hundreds of small bells brought with them from home. When the service was over, a woman standing behind us gave us her ceramic bell which can be heard, amid many other bells, in the tape for this last movement.


Composed for and dedicated to Linda Reichert and the Network for New Music, Dream Journal was commissioned by the Network with the assistance of a grant from the Pennsylvania State Council on the Arts. The tape was realized in the Presser Electronic Studio of the University of Pennsylvania.


—James Primosch


Scott Kluksdahl is known for his elegant, warm, singing tone, robust virtuosity and insightful music making; String Magazine has proclaimed him “a simply superb cellist, playing with...authority and dedication to the music.” A top prize winner in the 1990 Walter W. Naumburg International Cello Competition, Mr. Kluksdahl has appeared with numerous orchestras in the U.S. and abroad. Acclaimed for his work with contemporary music, he has also garnered praise from critics and audiences for his performances of all six Bach cello suites in one concert, and of the Beethoven sonatas.


Jan Krzywicki is active as a composer, conductor and educator. His works have been widely performed by prestigious ensembles and recorded on the Albany, Capstone, North-South and De Haske labels, and is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. His works are published by Theodore Presser Co., Alphonse Leduc & Die, and others. As a conductor Mr. Krzywicki is active with the Network for New Music, having led a large number of local and world premieres. Since 1987 he has been a member of the music theory department at Temple University teaching courses in analysis, performance practice, and ear training.


Linda Reichert, as Artistic Director and co-founder of the Network for New Music, has helped lead the group into prominence as one of the finest new music ensembles and commissioning organizations in the greater Philadelphia region. As a pianist, Dr. Reichert has developed a reputation for championing and premiering new works of emerging and established composers, and regularly performs with the Network for New Music Ensemble and other chamber groups. She is in demand as a speaker, music panelist and judge for numerous organizations and competitions, and has represented NNM in a cultural exchange with the Contemporary Music Society of Seoul, Korea.


Richard Woodhams, principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1977, is a native of Palo Alto, California. He has earned a reputation as one of the world's foremost oboists; in 1995 he was invited by Sir Georg Solti to serve as principal oboe of an internationally assembled orchestra in Geneva to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. He has appeared as soloist on numerous occasions throughout the United States and has premiered many works in a wide variety of genres. He is also active as a teacher, recitalist and chamber musician, and is on the faculties of the Curtis Institute and Temple University. Mr. Woodhams holds the Philadelphia Orchestra's first endowed chair, funded by the Samuel S. Fels Foundation.






Funding for this recording was provided by Anni Baker, the Daniel Dietrich Foundation, and a generous (and anonymous) donor.


Network for New Music remembers Anni Baker with gratitude for her generous support of the commissions of Passion Prayers and Concertino.


Network for New Music would like to thank the following: the Richard T. Baker and Martha B. Baker Foundation, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, Presser Foundation, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.


Network gratefully acknowledges the generous support of David Wolman for our recording and commissioning programs, as well as the creation and ongoing implementation of his video project featuring Network for New Music.


Network for New Music would like to thank Marcia Berner for providing commissioning support for wissahickon poeTrees.


Network for New Music receives support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.


The commissioning and presentation of Passion Prayers by Augusta Read Thomas was made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by Settlement Music School.


We would like to extend our appreciation to Bernard Jacobson, Patricia Manley and the Settlement Music School, to Maureen Drdak for her artistic generosity, and to George Blood and the board members of NNM for their advice and assistance as these recordings were prepared.


Engineering and digital pre-mastering by George Blood, DVD Media, Philadelphia, PA


Recorded March 6-17, 2000, at the Germantown branch of Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA.


Bernard Rands, Concertino: published by HELICON Music (European-American Music). Licensed by B.M.I.


Augusta Read Thomas, Passion Prayers: published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and Associated Music Publishers. Licensed by ASCAP.


James Primosch, Dream Journal: published by Merion Music, Inc. Licensed by B.M.I.


Jennifer Higdon, wissahickon poeTrees: published by Lawdon Press. Licensed by ASCAP.


Front Cover Art: Study for ASHUR 2. Acrylic/ Mineral Particles/ Aluminum Shavings on Paper. 2001. Maureen Drdak






Network for New Music Ensemble


Jan Krzywicki, Conductor


Linda Reichert, Artistic Director




Cynthia Folio, flute


Edward Schultz, flute


Arne Running, clarinet


Larry Thompson, bass clarinet


Hirono Oka, violin


Gloria Justen, violin


Judy Geist, viola


Ohad Bar-David, cello


Elizabeth Hainen, harp


Kim Rowe, harp


Don Liuzzi, percussion


Anthony Orlando, percussion


Charles Abramovic, piano


Susan Nowicki, piano


Linda Reichert, piano






Dream Journal


Four works commissioned by the Network for New Music, performed by the
Network for New Music Ensemble


Jennifer Higdon


wissahickon poeTrees


1 spring [3:28]


2 clock... [:59]


3 summer [5:16]


4 clocking... [:59]


5 autumn [4:31]


6 clocking through... [:58]


7 winter [4:31]


8 clocking through time... [1:19]


Cynthia Folio, flute • Arne Running, clarinet


Larry Thompson, bass clarinet • Hirono Oka, violin


Ohad Bar-David, cello • Don Liuzzi, percussion


Susan Nowicki, piano • Jan Krzywicki, conductor


Bernard Rands


9 Concertino [16:42]


Richard Woodhams, oboe


Cynthia Folio, flute • Arne Running, clarinet


Hirono Oka, violin • Gloria Justen, violin


Judy Geist, viola • Ohad Bar-David, cello


Elizabeth Hainen, harp • Jan Krzywicki, conductor


Augusta Read Thomas


10 Passion Prayers [10:18]


Scott Kluksdahl, cello


Edward Schultz, flute • Arne Running, clarinet


Hirono Oka, violin • Kimberly Rowe, harp


Anthony Orlando, percussion • Linda Reichert, piano


  Jan Krzywicki, conductor


James Primosch


Dream Journal


11 I. Dream Motion [5:56]


12 II. Recurring Dream [9:19]


13 III. The Dream of the Rood [5:21]


Charles Abramovic, piano • Linda Reichert, piano


Don Liuzzi, percussion • Anthony Orlando, percussion


Total Time = 70:09