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CD163   Daniel Pinkham: Piano Music, Volume II

 

.CD163

Daniel Pinkham: Piano Music, Volume II

Sally Pinkas & Evan Hirsch
Pianists

  • Notes by the composer
  • 69'38" total playing time

CD163     $15.95

Purchase from Canticle Distributing

 

CONTENTS
PRELUDES FOR PIANO, BOOK II (2003)
1.     I         Allegro moderato 7.  VII     Maestoso
2.     II        Allegretto 8.   VIII    Andante cantabile
3.     III       Tempo di forlana 9.    IX     Allegro grazioso
4.     IV       Andante sereno 10.  X       Andantino con dolcezza
5.    V         Presto possible 11.   XI     Impetuoso
6.    VI       Andante tranquillo 12.   XII    Vivace e scorrevole
Sally Pinkas, piano
 
ROMANCES (2004)      
13.    I         Andantino con dolcezza 16.    IV    Allegro
14.    II        Allegretto e delicato 17.    V      Presto
15.    III      Ballando 18.    VI    Vivace con brio
Sally Pinkas, piano
 
FOREST MUSIC, Second Duet Book for Young Pianists (2002)
19.   1.   We enter the deep and silent forest
20.   2.   We stop abruptly at each unfamiliar sound
21.    3.   We cross a gently flowing brook
22.   4.   As we walk along, birds, ignoring our presence, chirp in the treetops
23.   5.   We come upon a cold and dank cave
24.   6.   On the way home, dancing light plays on our path
Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo
   
25.  SNOWFLAKES (2005)  
26.  BARCAROLE (2005)  
27.   BLUE BLAZES (2004)  
Evan Hirsch, piano
   
MUSINGS (2006)       
28.     I        Allegretto 31.    IV     Ballando
29.     II      Adagietto 32.    V       Dolce e delicato
30.     III    Poco allegro 33.    VI     Vivace e sciolto
Sally Pinkas, piano
   
OCTOBER MUSIC, Third Duet Book for Young Pianists (2006)
34.  1.   The maple tree shimmers in scarlet and gold.
35.   2.   The birds contemplate their long flight south.
36.   3.   The field promises a bountiful harvest.
37.   4.   A gust chases a dry leaf on the porch.
Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo

Recorded December 19th and 20th, 2006, at Spaudling Auditorium, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, on a Steinway D
Recording Engineer: Antonio Oliart Ros
Producer and Editor: Evan Hirsch
Cover Art: Adriaan Jobse
All music on this compact disc is © Copyright by Ione Press., a division of ECS Publishing Corporation, 138 Ipswich Street, Boston, MA 02215

 

Daniel Pinkham
June 5, 1923 - December 18, 2006

 

Sally Pinkas, Evan Hirsch, Daniel PinkhamA collaboration with Daniel Pinkham often meant an unexpected call or e-mail, to the effect that he was "putting in the mail" a piece for one of us, or both, to look over and comment upon. Inevitably there ensued the process of sight-reading, learning, revising and correcting together, culminating in a first performance: yet another convival occasion to celebrate (accompanied by feasting somewhere, naturally). The professional association became a friendship of the best sort; one which combined our passion for music with our personal admiration and love.

Daniel Pinkham's works are presented here as premiere recordings. Dan knew we were about to record, and even saw a copy of the cover, before his death. We were told of his passing when we were already in New Hampshire, preparing for the session. The profound sadness we felt was tempered by the knowledge that we had indeed been blessed by his music and his presence in our lives. His honesty, humor and generosity of spirit live on in his compositions. --Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch

 

Program Notes

The music on this disc is the result of a close collaboration between the two performing artists and the composer. With the exception of two titles (Forest Music and Blue Blazes), all the other works were composed for and premiered by them.

PRELUDES FOR PIANO, BOOK II (2003)
In 1995 I received a substantial commission from the Board of Trustees of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to honor Victor Rosenbaum on his tenth year as Director of the school. For this I produced Six Preludes for Piano, which Sally Pinkas premiered on September 8 of that year. I subsequently composed six additional preludes and dedicated them to Sally, who performed the world premiere of the now dozen pieces on January 30, 1997 at the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College. She later recorded them for the Arsis label (CD125).

The present set, Book II, is similar to Book I in that the pieces range from extremely simple to virtuoistic. Sally Pinkas premiered this set on May 25, 2004 at the Hopkins Center.

ROMANCES (2004)
The Harvard Dictionary of Music informs us that in the 18th and 19th centuries the Romance (German Romanze) was an instrumental work, often of lyrical character and often ABA in form. In the 18th century the term was often interchangeable with Ballade.

Robert Schumann and others used this title for piano pieces in a variety of forms. Later composers would propose that the Romance was a sort of program music which contained a hidden narrative.

   I. The opening Andantino con dolcezza is a hesitant yet expressive song. The central section grows in intensity. The concluding measures end tranquilly.
   II. The Allegretto e delicato is a plaintive melody played in the extreme high register of the piano. The left-hand accompaniment is spare but supportive.
   III. Ballando translates "dancing." Do we not hear a distant tango?
   IV. This Allegro is essentially a cheerful Bach-like invention for two voices.
   V. This movement, Presto, alternates between fast and sinister material and a confident yet serene chorale.
   
VI. The finale, Vivace con brio, is turbulent and virtuoistic. Early on it builds to triple-forte chords. A fleeting waltz enters and then disappears. The opening material returns and the work ends brillinatly.

FOREST MUSIC, Second Duet Book for Young Pianists (2002)

  1. We enter the deep and silent forest.
  2. We stop abruptly at each unfamiliar sound.
  3. We cross a gently flowing brook.
  4. As we walk along, birds, ignoring our presence, chirp in the treetops.
  5. We come upon a cold and dank cave.
  6. On the way home, dancing light plays on our path.

The work is inscribed to A. Ramón Rivera, who has done such marvelous work with the students in the Preparatory Department of the New England Conservatory. The premiere was presented at the Conservatory on January 25, 2003 by pianists Ko Eun Lee and Lisa Rah.

SNOWFLAKES (2005)
I composed this brief work for Evan Hirsch. Although the work is cold and static, it reminds us that all flawless hexagons may melt.

BARCAROLE (2005)
The New Harvard Dictionary of Music has this to say: "A song of the Venetian gondoliers, or a vocal or instrumental composition modeled on such a song. In the latter, a rhythmically repetitive accompaniment, usually in moderate 6/8 or 12/8 meter, evokes the motion of a boat in waves." Early composers for the piano such as Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Fauré have written barcaroles. The work is inscribed to Evan Hirsch.

BLUE BLAZES (2004)
This work was commissioned by Bank of America Celebrity Series for Sergey Schepkin, who premiered it in Jordan Hall (Boston) on April 16, 2005. Writing about it, Richard Dyer commented, "Pinkham's Blue Blazes is a light passing through a cobalt bottle that contains a message."

I have never before written a work which requires such virtuosity.

MUSINGS (2006)
   I. Allegretto. The work begins in imitation of the chain of sequences such as an extrovert Corelli might have written in a cheerful Trio Sonata.
   II. Adagietto. Highly chromatic, its shifting harmonic centers produce an unsettling atmosphere.
   III. Poco allegro. This gentle movement is a lively and genial pastorale.
   IV. Ballando. Ballando means dancing. Do you not hear the haughtiness of the proud tango dancer?
   V. Dolce e delicato. A solitary shepherd pipes his exotic melody from a high mountain pasture. From the deep valley below comes a lyrical response.
   VI. Vivace e sciolto. A rhythmic and nimble three-note motive opens this finale over a "walking bass." A slower contrasting material enters. The opening motive is rejoined and the movement ends in a fiery display.

OCTOBER MUSIC, Third Duet Book for Young Pianists (2006)

  1. The maple tree shimmers in scarlet and gold.
  2. The birds contemplate their long flight south.
  3. The field promises a bountiful harvest.
  4. A gust chases a dry leaf on the porch.

The work is inscribed to the Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo, and was premiered by them on August 4, 2006 at the Abbazia di Santa Lucia, Abruzzo, Italy.

--Notes by Daniel Pinkham, November 2006

 

Sally Pinkas, Evan Hirsch
Since its 1992 debut, the Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo has presented one- and two- piano recitals to enthusiastic audiences throughout the world. Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch, each an active soloist, bring to their collaborations virtuosity, enthusiasm, and striking warmth (they are married). Dedicated to an exploration of twentieth-century music, their repertoire includes rarely-heard works such as Messiaen's Visions de l'amen, Milhaud's La création du monde and Rochberg's Circles of Fire (which they premiered). Equally at ease with the standard repertoire, the Duo's offerings range from Byrd to Mozart and Rachmaninoff, and include works especially arranged by Hirsch. Popular with young audiences, the two often present Masterclasses and Performance Workshops in conjunction with their concerts.

Pinkas and Hirsch made their European debut in 1995 at the Officina Musicale dell'Altopiano in Abruzzon, Italy,where they have been performing regularly ever since. In 1998 they were in residence at the Kfar Blum Music festival in Israel, and in 1999 they toured Nigeria and Russia to critical acclaim. In 2001, foloowing a second highly-acclaimed and extensive tour of Nigeria, the Duo was invited to participate in a conference on Piano Duet Literature at the Rimsky-Korsakov State-Conservatory of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Duo clebrated its 10th anniversary season with performances throughout New England, Israel, and Italy, and followed with an extensive concert and teaching tour in Bulgaria. In 2004 they embarked upon thier first China visit, playing and teaching at the Xian Conservatory (Xian) and the China Conservatory (Beijing). For the past four years they have participated in the Masters de Pontlevoy Summer Festival in the Loire Valley, France. Other recent engagements include a residency at the Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, and a second extensive tour in Bulgaria. The Hirsch-Pinkas Duo's recordings of music by George Rochberg, Daniel Pinkham, and Thomas Oboe Lee are available on the Gasparo and the Arsis labels.

 

Daniel PinkhamDaniel Pinkham (1923-2006) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. He was educated at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts; at Harvard University as a student of A. Tillman Merritt, Walter Piston, Archibald T. Davison, and Aaron Copland; and at Tanglewood as a student of Arthur Honegger, Samuel Barber, and Nadia Boulanger. He also studied harpsichord with Putnam Aldrich and Wanda Landowska.

Pinkham taught for a short time at Simmons College, Boston University, Dartington Hall (Devon, England) and at Harvard University before joining the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music where he spent most of his teaching career. Pinkham was also Music Director of historic King's Chapel in Boston from 1958 until 2000. He was the recipient of six honorary degrees from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Adrian Collge, Westminster Choir College, New England Conservatory, Ithaca College, and Boston Conservatory.

Pinkham was a prolific and versatile composer whose catalog includes four symphonies and other works for large ensembles; cantatas and oratorios; concertos for piano, piccolo, trumpet, violin, harp, three organ concertos, and other works for solo instrument and orchestra; theatre works and chamber operas; chamber music; electronic music; and twenty documentary film scores for television. His orchestral works have been played throughout the United States.

In 1990 Pinkham was named Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists, and in 1996 he received the Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to the Choral Arts.