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Paul Schoenfield: Refractions; Six British Folk Songs; Pecadilloes

Album Summary

>Schoenfield, Paul : British Folk Songs (6), for cello & piano
>Schoenfield, Paul : Peccadilloes, suite for piano
>Schoenfield, Paul : Refractions, trio for clarinet, cello & piano
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Paul Schoenfield's music attracts listeners with its combination of exuberance and seriousness, familiarity and originality, lightness and depth, often with sly twists. Six British Folk Songs was written in 1985 as a tribute to the cellist Jacqueline du Pre. Each of the six Peccadilloes is based on a particular ‘bad taste' motif, which the composer invites us to enjoy with ‘the same sort of guilt and pleasure that accompany one while eating a large chocolate sundae'. Refractions, a wonderful addition to the chamber repertoire, is based on music from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

"Paul Schoenfield is an American composer remarkable for his light hearted wit and imaginative concepts...Refractions is a clarinet trio in four movements, a 24 minute composition of considerable variety and most entertaining subject matter, beautifully played."-American Record Guide


Quirky, fun collection!
Paul Schoenfield, a native of Detroit , began playing the piano at age six and wrote his first composition the following year. In addition to studying piano with Julius Chajes, Ozan Marsh, and Rudolf Serkin, he holds an undergraduate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the University of Arizona . He held a teaching position in Toledo , Ohio , lived on a kibbutz in Israel and was a free-lance composer and pianist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area before moving to Cleveland . He is now on the faculty of the University of Michigan . The new collection of some of his chamber music on Naxos is well worth exploring to get to know Mr. Schoenfield's music; perhaps for the first time. The "Six British Folk Songs" for cello and piano were written as a tribute to Jacqueline du Pre and owe something to Charles Ives, in so far as they are reworkings of existing folk material, but also a bit to Schoenfield's Jewish heritage. The selections that stand out in my mind are the beautiful "A basket of eggs", the energetic, almost frantic "Gypsy Laddie" and the sad, mournful and beautiful "Parting Kiss". Schoenfield's "Peccadilloes" suite for piano, was written as an homage to the Baroque suites of Bach and Handel with, as the composer points out, some references to Ravel,Gershwin, Joplin and Ives. These pieces, very 'tongue in cheek' in intent are based on six different "bad taste motifs" (his words!); like what you might hear in Hollywood film credits or a piano bar. The Allemande, the Waltz and the closing Boogie stand out while the whole suite is really fun to listen to listen to. As Schoenfield comments, composers could "benefit from (occasionally) being a bit more lightweight" The clsoing selection, "Refractions" for clarinet, cello and piano is a welcome addition to the repertoire for that combo. Based on melodies from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" the resemblence is clever and requires careful listening. The 'Toccata' was written in tribute to pianist James Tocco and even includes some references to a traditional Chassidic wedding song, while the 'March' is based on the aria "Non piu an drai", the 'Intermezzo' based on a segment of ' dove sono' and the closing 'Tarantella' is based on the well known 'se vuol ballare' (only quite a bit faster!) This is a terrific collection and an excellent first exposure to Schoenfield's music and for chamber players looking to add to your rep list of attractive contemporary music!
Submitted on 06/02/10 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Schoenfield, Paul : British Folk Songs (6), for cello & piano
  • Performers: Yehuda Hanani (Cello); Paul Schoenfield (Piano)
  • Notes: Warner Concert Hall, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH (03/26/2008-03/27/2008)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1985

>Schoenfield, Paul : Peccadilloes, suite for piano
  • Performer: James Tocco (Piano)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1997

>Schoenfield, Paul : Refractions, trio for clarinet, cello & piano
  • Performers: Alexander Fiterstein (Clarinet); Yehuda Hanani (Cello); James Tocco (Piano)
  • Notes: Werner Recital Hall, College - Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati (01/05/2008-01/07/2008)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2006