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Narratives on Life: Music for Cello and Piano / Joan Harrison, cello; Elaine Keillor, piano

Album Summary

>Glick, Srul Irving : Chagall Suite, for cello & piano
>Gellman, Steven : Sonata for cello & piano
>Liebmann, Helene : Sonata for cello & piano
>Gardner, Maurice : Sonata for cello & piano
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Chagall Suite (1993) found its inspiration in three paintings by Marc Chagall. These were "The Cellist" (1939), "The Lights of the Wedding" (1945), and "The Big Circus" (1956). The music reflects the vivid variety of colors and often the humour to be found in the original paintings. In other words painter and composer effectively captured that historically identified Jewish cultural perspective where emotions of great tragedy and humor are juxtaposed.

Gellman's Sonata for Cello and Piano (1994) consists of three movements. The opening Maestoso alternates two themes, a melodic one by the cello and a chordal response by the piano. The second movement, Adagio Espressivo, is a slow uninterrupted song. Gellman recalls that during its creation, he was reflecting "on the recent passing of my musical mentor, Olivier Messiaen - and some of his spirit seems to be present in this Adagio." The rhythm of the Finale reflects the heavy metal to which his teenaged son was listening and then playing. It alternates with a more reflective middle section played by the cello almost entirely in harmonics. The heavy-metal theme returns to descend and fade into the depths.

Hélène Riese Liebmann (1795 - 1835) was a pianist, composer and singer. Her family were close friends of Felix Mendelssohn. Beginning at age ten her public performances received rave reviews. By age 15 her compositions were being published. Many of her compositions have not yet been located, but they include Lieder, eight piano sonatas, three violin sonatas, two piano trios, and a piano quartet. This Sonata for Cello and Piano in B flat major, Op. 11 is a work in three movements. The last movement is a delightful set of variations based on Mozart's theme, "La ci darem la mano" from Don Giovanni.

Maurice Gardner (1909- 2002) began to compose at the age of six. He later studied with Leopold Mannes at Juilliard. The Paramount Theater hired him as Junior Composer in Residence to write weekly 20 overtures to bridge the feature film and the stage show. This gave him the experience of writing for a live orchestra. From the age of 21 on he worked as a freelance composer writing music for the Warner Brothers studio and for radio and television. From 1970 Gardner was able to concentrate on composing non-commercial music. Among his hundreds of compositions, many of which received awards, are five string quartets, a piano quintet and piano quartet, sonatas for viola and for viola and piano, plus various trios.

While a student at Yale University, Harrison became acquainted with Gardner's son, Robert. That connection led to Harrison being coached by the composer himself to play this Sonata with three movements.

Joan Harrison has performed as principal cellist on modern and baroque instruments for the New York City Opera, Aradia Ensemble, and the Toronto Chamber Orchestra. Joan Harrison is the founder and artistic director of the Capital Strings Collective youth orchestra, that, with its residency in a long term care facility, helps support research in empathy education, well-being, motivation, cognitive development, and multi-generational learning.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Dunrobin Sonic Gym, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (05/14/2014-05/16/2014).



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Works Details

>Glick, Srul Irving : Chagall Suite, for cello & piano
  • Performers: Joan Harrison (Cello); Elaine Keillor (Piano)
  • Notes: Dunrobin Sonic Gym, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (05/14/2014-05/16/2014)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1993

>Gellman, Steven : Sonata for cello & piano
  • Performers: Joan Harrison (Cello); Elaine Keillor (Piano)
  • Notes: Dunrobin Sonic Gym, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (05/14/2014-05/16/2014)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1994

>Liebmann, Helene : Sonata for cello & piano
  • Performers: Joan Harrison (Cello); Elaine Keillor (Piano)
  • Notes: Dunrobin Sonic Gym, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (05/14/2014-05/16/2014)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Gardner, Maurice : Sonata for cello & piano
  • Performers: Joan Harrison (Cello); Elaine Keillor (Piano)
  • Notes: Dunrobin Sonic Gym, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (05/14/2014-05/16/2014)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern