HAROLD SCHIFFMAN (b.1928): Piano Sonata No. 1, Fantasy-Suite for Viola, Duo Concertante for Violin and Clarinet, Blood Mountain for Soprano and Piano, 7 Bagatelles for Flute and Oboe.
Catalogue Number: 05L095
Reference: N/S R 1053
Description: These performances are studio recordings of music presented in an 80th-birthday concert for the composer in New York in 2008. The Duo has a lively, conversational quality in four movements of contrasting character, all with an easy-going open-air quality characteristic of the composer. The Fantasy-Suite is predominantly serious and reflective, even tragic in tone, though folk-like dancing gestures intrude from time to time, suggesting banjo music, along with an unexpected nod to Paganini. Blood Mountain sets poetry by North Carolina poet Kathryn Stripling Byer, which reflect the history of the region in music which again evokes folk idiom and the characteristic idioms of banjo music of the south. The Bagatelles are lively two-part discussions, though both performers have a solo movement as though reflecting on the debate in progress. The piano sonata, in four movements with a theme and variations for a slow movement, is by far the earliest work here, from 1951. The piece is tough and concentrated, with open textures, less easy-going and explicitly tonal than the recent pieces, though still thoroughly approachable. Texts included. Gayle Seaton (soprano), Jane Perry-Camp (piano), North/South Consonance Ensemble.