PETER LIEBERSON (b.1943): Red Garuda (Piano Concerto No. 2) (New York Philharmonic Orchestra; James Conlon), Rilke Songs (Lorraine Hunt Lieberson [soprano]), 3 Bagatelles for Piano, Piano Quintet (Orion String Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 07M099
Description: Lieberson's Red Garuda is a semi-programmatic evocation of an Eastern mythical bird, the Garuda, of unlimited range and duration in flight. Beginning in mysterious darkness, the work progresses through a series of scenes suggesting different elemental landscapes. A vigorous 'fire' variation is followed by an appropriately fluid 'water' section and a rugged 'earth' variation. The work has an underlying pulsating energy, with the solo piano part often illuminating the landscape in lightning figuration or richly luminous harmonized chords within the composer's characteristic tonally-based vocabulary. The tenderly mysterious Rilke songs were written for the composer's late wife, and dedicated to her; touching neo-romantic lieder full of longing and passionate emotion. The three Bagatelles are contrasting character-pieces, the second - 'spontaneous songs' - being itself subdivided into short sections of widely varying character; the third is an elegant but off-kilter dance based on the idea of a waltz. The 2003 piano quintet is in two parts; an energetic fantasia and after a nocturnal interlude, a cumulatively vigorous fugue, with a feeling of Nova Scotia folk-fiddle music resulting from the composer's ten-year residence in that part of the world. Peter Serkin (piano).