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Peter Schicklele: A Year in the Catskills

> A Year in the Catskills - I. Spring: Fantasy
> A Year in the Catskills - II. Summer: Imitations
> A Year in the Catskills - III. Fall: Variations
> A Year in the Catskills - IV. Winter: Lament
> A Year in the Catskills - V. Finale: Fast Driving
> Gardens - I. Morning
> Gardens - II. Noon
> Gardens - III. Night
> What Did You Do Today at Jeffey's House? - I. First We Had a Parade
> What Did You Do Today at Jeffey's House? - II. After Lunch Jeffey's Mom Made Us Take a Nap
> What Did You Do Today at Jeffey's House? - III. Then We Did a Carnival with a Haunted House and Dancing Bears
> Dream Dances - I. Minuet
> Dream Dances - II. Jitterbug
> Dream Dances - III. Waltz
> Dream Dances - IV. Gallup
> Dream Dances - V. Sarabande
> Diversions - I. Bath
> Diversions - II. Billiards
> Diversions - III. Bar

Album Summary

>Schickele, Peter : A Year in the Catskills, for woodwind quintet
>Schickele, Peter : Gardens, for oboe & piano
>Schickele, Peter : What Did You Do Today at Jeffrey's House?, for horn & piano
>Schickele, Peter : Dream Dances, for flute, oboe & cello
>Schickele, Peter : Diversions, for woodwind quintet
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Whether writing under his own name or that of his alter ego P.D.Q. Bach, Peter Schickele writes music which is a constant delight, full of variety, energy and fun. AYear in the Catskills is a five-movement quintet - a seasonal retrospective suffused with clever baroque tints, elements of pastoral fantasy, and a jazzy finale to dissipate any feelings of melancholy. The other works offer a variety of combinations and textures. Gardens illustrates Schickele's appealing use of colour, whilst Dream Dances is a jaunty frolic from the baroque sarabande to the jitterbug. Diversions goes one better, with movements devoted both to billiards and a New York bar; music of huge vitality and great wit.

The Blair Woodwind Quintet, founded in 1971, is the faculty quintet at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. The ensemble has an extensive repertoire, and performs live concerts nationally as well as on radio and television.

"Those familiar with composer Peter Schickele's P.D.Q. Bach persona may be aware that he wrote original music as well. Less common is knowledge of what it actually sounds like, and less common still an awareness that it's far from unrelated to the P.D.Q. Bach compositions. An added bonus is that as of 2009, at age 74, Schickele was still at it: the opening A Year in the Catskills, composed that year, is a delightfully elegant piece of American neo-classicism. Schickele's essential style has remained recognizable through several decades of tonal fashions, and as heard in these wind-ensemble pieces it's often very funny indeed... His wind writing is rigorous and even difficult enough to tax the Blair Woodwind Quintet at times. The album is full of other pleasures like the three compact, chromatic-impressionist movements of Gardens (1968). Highly recommended despite plain sound from a concert hall at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University, with enthusiastic performances from players associated with that institution." -All Music Guide

Fanfare
It is all very engaging, and wonderfully presented by musicians and engineers. Naxos has a winner here, and I hope we hear more from the Blair Wind Quintet.

Allmusic.com
A Year in the Catskills... is a delightfully elegant piece of American neoclassicism. Schickele's essential style has remained recognizable through several decades of tonal fashions, and as heard in these wind-ensemble pieces it's often very funny indeed. ... his ear for amusing musical pictorialisms is keen... Schickele sticks very close to the basic blues harmonic pattern but displaces both rhythm and texture in the added counterpoint in clever ways. The album is full of other pleasures... Highly recommended...

MusicWeb International
This collection of chamber music, deftly rendered by members of the faculty of Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music, is a showcase of the composer's unique wit and creativity. Colorful, original, whimsical, and adventuresome, this collection of musical short stories from one of America's most diverse composers has something to please every ear.

Infodad.com
This disc shows Schickele (born 1935) as a serious musician with a fine grasp of chamber-music writing and a predilection for miniatures: with the exception of one movement that runs seven minutes... Schickele strings these short pieces together into works intended to evoke a particular time, place or mood. The performers, all faculty members at Vanderbilt University, approach the works with affection and enjoyment... Schickele's experiments with sonority... are the most interesting thing here; they and the fine performances earn the CD a (+++) rating... The result is works that are pleasant enough and appear enjoyable to perform...

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Ingram Hall, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt Universi.



Reviews

Fun New Music
Peter Schickele, better known to many for his satirical character PDQ Bach, is also an interesting composer. On this recording, the Blair Woodwind Quintet chose him to compose a new work as part of the Blair Commissioning Project, and the five movement work “A Year In The Catskills” is the result. The first movement (“Spring: Fantasy”) is rather pastoral and evocative of an early morning in the mountains. Schickele’s backgrouns as a bassoonist makes him a solid choice for a work for this ensemble, as he understands the need to blend the various instruments while allowing each to play off of the other. This first movement sets the positive tone for the rest of the piece. The second movement (“Summer: Imitations”) is essentially a series of canons that provide a pleasant imitative texture. The third movement (“Fall: Variations”) is based on a bass line from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, while the fourth movement provides an opportunity for the Oboe and Clarinet to shine. The last movement (“Finale: Fast Driving”) is a rather jazzy affair that brings the piece to a light-hearted close.

About the other works on the recording: “Gardens” has a rather somber and unusual feel, particularly given the fact that it is for oboe and piano; “What Did You Do Today At Jeffrey’s House?” has a jazzy somewhat Vince Guaraldi-like feel (with some boogie-woogie in the 3rd movement!), and is intended to be a series of memory pieces from the composer’s experience with a childhood friend; “Dream Dances” contrasts various Baroque dance melodies with more modern dances; and finally, “Diversions” is evocative of some of the daily diversions in our lives today, namely “Bath”, “Billiards”, and “Bar” – the names of each of the three movements.

The liner notes are in extremely small print, but provide some decent background on the various pieces, the composer, and the performers. Overall, this is a pleasing disc and I’m pleased to have it in my collection..

Submitted on 01/05/12 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Schickele, Peter : A Year in the Catskills, for woodwind quintet
  • Ensemble: Blair Woodwind Quintet
  • Notes: Ingram Hall, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (05/09/2009/05/10/2009)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2009

>Schickele, Peter : Gardens, for oboe & piano
  • Performers: Jared Hauser (Oboe); Melissa Rose (Piano)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1968

>Schickele, Peter : What Did You Do Today at Jeffrey's House?, for horn & piano
  • Performers: Melissa Rose (Piano); Leslie Norton (Horn)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1988

>Schickele, Peter : Dream Dances, for flute, oboe & cello
  • Performers: Felix Wang (Cello); Jared Hauser (Oboe); Jane Kirchner (Flute)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1988

>Schickele, Peter : Diversions, for woodwind quintet
  • Ensemble: Blair Woodwind Quintet
  • Running Time: 6 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1963