LOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1961): Cello Sonatas No. 1, Op. 3, No. 2, Op. 61, No. 3, Op. 90 "Sonata Sempice" and No. 4, Op. 108, Album Leaf, Op. 66.
Catalogue Number: 09O083
Label: Blue Griffin
Description: Liebermann has returned repeatedly to the medium of the cello sonata, producing thus far these four satisfyingly different yet stylistically consistent single-movement works in his passionate, emotionally charged, very tonal neo-romantic idiom. The first sonata is a student work, revealing Stravinsky as an early influence, already highly accomplished and full of idiomatic writing for both instruments. The second is based on themes from Liebermann's opera The Picture of Dorian Gray, and has a clearly defined dramatic arc, strongly suggesting narrative episodes from the opera, agitated and impassioned, finding brief repose in a beautiful, extended central aria. The work begins and ends in iridescent, shimmering impressionistic textures. The third is more conventionally structured, with long-breathed phrases that recall Shostakovich in melodic contour. From an uncertain, searching opening the piece builds an impressively dramatic climax, supplanted by a slow, achingly lyrical final section culminating in a quotation from the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria which the 'Shostakovich Scherzo' material tries, and ultimately fails, to disrupt. The fourth begins with a lovely cello melody which is soon displaced by increasingly agitated material. An intense cello cadenza leads to alternating sections of poignant, eloquent melody and vehement passion. Dmitri Atapine (cello), Adela Hyeyeon Park (piano).