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SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, INC
"Potpourri"


Cover Design: Gerald Warfield & Richard Brooks

Available at your favorite digital etailers
including iTunes, Rhapsody and eMusic

Catalog Number: CPS-8609
Audio Format: Digital Stereo
Playing Time: 57:57
Release Date: 1991

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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    Emmanuel Ghent
  1. Five Brass Voices (16:59)
    Computer-generated tape
     
    John White
  2. Sonata for Cello and Piano (19:20)
    John White, cello
    Carolyn Bridger, piano
     
    Elliott Schwartz
3.
Reading Session (10:08)
   Listen: RealAudio or MP3
    Phillip Rehfeldt, clarinet
    Barney Childs, piano
     
    Leo Kraft
  4. Second Fantasy for Flute and Piano (7:40)
    Sue Ann Kahn, flute
    Andrew Willis, piano
     
    Victor Saucedo Tecayehuatzin
  5. Fluxions (10:50)
    Computer-generated tape

 

All Recordings by the
Society of Composers, Inc.

Mélange CPS-8755
Mood Shifts CPS-8748
Soundscapes CPS-8741
Cornucopia CPS-8725
Sonic Images CPS-8712
Milestones CPS-8701
Inspirations CPS-8690
Cultivated Choruses CPS-8674
Inner Visions CPS-8670
Connections CPS-8660
Transcendencies CPS-8656
Chamber Works CPS-8651
Illuminations CPS-8643
Grand Designs CPS-8639
Intimate Thoughts CPS-8632
Evocations CPS-8631
Extended Resources CPS-8626
Songfest CPS-8618
Contra-Punctus CPS-8615
America Sings! CPS-8613
Potpourri CPS-8609
View from the Keyboard CPS-8606



Related Links
Society of Composers, Inc.
Elliott Schwartz @ Electronic Music Foundation
Elliott Schwartz @ G. Schirmer Inc
Elliott Schwartz @ Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies

 

Reviews

Living Music

"Capstone Records is a new company that features the Society of Composers, Inc. recordings as well as individual composers. Potpourri is second in the SCI CD series. It is aptly named, as the styles represented are quite varied.

The CD begins with Five Brass Voicees by Emmanuel Ghent (Composer-in-residence at Bell Telephone Laboratories). Five Brass Voices is a computer generated tape piece in which thc computer is used for its ability to create multi-tempo rhythms. Little, if any attention is given to timbre; in fact the sounds used are rather banal. On the other hand, the diverging pulsations and the rapidly changing cross rhythms are almost interesting enough in and of themselves.

The second piece, Sonata for Cello and Piano by John White (University of Florida), is performed by Carolyn Bridger, piano and J. White, 'cello. The piece is in three movements. The influence of howard Hanson on White is apparent in the clarity of form and beauty of expression exhibited in this piece. According to the liner notes the "work is innovative in form but bears some resemblance to the traditional sonata pattern." To this reviewer the innovation of form was not apparent. While the piece would not work well as a model of the traditional sonata pattern there does not appear to be anything especially innovative about the form; at least not if one takes into account Elliott Carter, or even Mahler. The performance of White and Bridger was excellent.

Quite a contrast is the piece that follows. Written by Elliott Schwartz (Bowdoin College), Reading Seasion combines clarinet, piano and narrated words in an ironic statement revolving around Cage's words, I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT AND THAT IS POETRY. The words are rearranged in several ways by the poet Edward Morgan, each time changing the meaning of the text. Schwartz creates quite a rich tapestry of timbres despite the use of only three sound producers (but only two performers) and keeps the listener's attention with dramatic changes in musical style. The performance by Phillip Rehfeldt, clarinet and Barney Childs, piano is superb.

In Leo Kraft's Second Fantasy for Flute and Piano the cormposer makes excellent use of changing dynamics, articulations, and textures and contrasts between metered and non metered rhythms to delineate the section in this free-form atonal work. The performers Sue Ann Kahn, flute and Andrew Willis, piano were impressive.

The final piece on the CD is Fluxions by Victor Saucedo Tecayhuatzin, Professor of Music at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. Fluxions is a computer-generated tape piece. While the timbres were more interesting than those in Ghent's piece they again were not enough to be of primary interest; the piece was written (and presumably realized) in 1977, which accounts for this. Fluxions is a sectional piece. According to the composer the entire piece is based nn a six note series, ...one rhythmic unit and four functions." The seven sections or variations are created by various changes in parameters such as sampling rates, modulation indexes, and carrier to modulation ratios. One puzzling statement from the liner notes was the reference to location modulation with regard to the third section. This reviewer could not discern any such thing. In fact, the sounds in this section seemed to be more centrally located and with a more consistent reverberation rate than in some of the other sections.

The overall recording quality of this CD was uneven. This is not surprising since each composer recorded his piece using different engineers, studios, and equipment. The recording of Elliott Schwartz' piece by Scott Vance was excellent. It had a naturalness to it that is rare. In Kraft's piece print-through was evident in the solo passages and artificial reverberation was used. Overall, the recording of White's piece by Tom Hunter was quite good, but there was a strange cut made at the beginning where the sound suddenly is deadened where I suspect a major edit was done. The CD is not marked as to whether it was AAD or DDD but it was apparent from the hiss that it was AAD. For the most part the noise level was not objectionable. However, in Tecayehuatzin's piece the hiss level was higher than one is used to hearing from a CD.

Despite these problems, the variety of pieces presented and the excellent performances of the instrumental pieces made this CD worth listening to."

 

Fanfare - May/June, 1992 - by James H. North

"In a collection of contemporary works, one always looks for a bias, as such things are especially political: what group, what ism, is represented here? The Society was formerly the American Society of University Compsers, and these are all living composers from fifty-five to seventy years of age; no graduate assistants here.

Emmanuel Ghent is a Canadian who studied with Varcse and with Shapey; his Five Brass Voices is an oddity: a reworking for computer of a 1965 brass quintet. One can often follow the instrumental lines, as the electronic sounds have timbres and ranges characteristic of trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba. John White was a pupil of Hanson and Rogers, and he "worked informally" with Nadia Boulanger and Ross Lee Finney. His 1981 cello sonata is in three movements of innovative forms, the central one having a scherzo-like section inserted in a slow movement. The piece is very demanding of both performers; the composer proves a most able cellist, and is matched by his pianist. Elliott Schwartz studied under Otto Luening and Jack Beeson. Reading Session asks both clarinetist and pianist to recite dramatically, sing along. whisper, and shout - challenges to even the best of musicians. The texts center around and take off from Cage's "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry." Yet the notes tell us that "much of the narration is chosen by the players." The work is a set of variations, both of musical material and of Cage's words.

Leo Kraft Studied under Karol Rathaus, Randall Thompson, and Nadia Boulanger - he is the doyen of this group. Second Fantasy is a single movement of many sections which uses both regular and alto flutes. Victor Saucedo Tecayehuatzin worked under Roy Harris, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Halsey Stevens. Fluxions (1977) is eletronic music all the way; the composer gives us a detailed minutc-by-minute numerical analysis, including exact frequency specifications. It does sound like music. In fact, for all the variety of lineages and techniques exhibited here, this "Potpouri" strikes one as rather staid; these are the avant~garde of several decades back."

Sonneck??? Society Bulletin - September??? 1993 - by Julia C. Combs, University of Wyoming

"Potpourri is a bouquet of newer compositions selected by a panel from the Society of Composers, Inc. This disc contains an interesting mixture of computer-generated and acoustically produced works.

The two computer pieces frame the five works included here. The first, Five Brass Voices (1977) by Emanuel Ghent, is a reworking of his 1965 brass quintet Dithyrambos. This version uses the GROOVE system and is a two-channel mix down of an original four-channel tape. The piece demonstrates Ghent's fascination with simultaneous multi-tempo rhythms.

The second computer work, by Victor Saucedo Tecayehuatzin, was realized at the Center for Music Experiment at the University of California San Diego on the Timbre Tuning System. Fluxions (1977) is based on a six-note series, one rhythmic unit and four functions. The composer varies these parameters either slowly or abruptly throughout the piece thus generating its title.

Leo Krafts Second Fantasy for Flute and Piano (1980) is a single movement free-form work. Timbral contrasts accur through the use of soprano and alto flutes, and metered and unmetered sections provide structural contrasts.


John Whites Sonata for Cello and Piano (1981) resembles a traditional sonata in its three movement design. His virtuosic yet idiomatic treatment of both instruments is innovative, energetic, and exciting.

Elliott Schwartzs Reading Session (1993) for clarinet, piano, and narrator is a set of variations based on a Cage quotation: I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT AND THAT IS POETRY. Poet Edward Morgan regrouped some of Cages words, but the performers may choose much of the narration as well as the musical fragments. Even without the visual theater element, this is a charming, delightful listening experience.

The variety and differing focus of these works are an interesting summation of late twentieth-century compositional techniques. The disc would be well suited as listening in either a period history or general studies course."