Full Album Includes ALC Version
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The disc opens with a splashy, irresistable rendition of Hindemith's Rondo for Three Guitars (1925). The recording takes its title from a composition by Kreneck entitled Hausmusik. In this set of 7 short pieces recorders, violin, guitar and piano are used in different combinations. Despite the domestic intent of the music, these are striking pieces. Hans Erich Apostel's Sechs Musiken receives spectacular treatment in Anderson's Hands. These European works are mirrored by American which relate to the home (and architecture) in obvious or surprising ways -Robert Martin's exquisite little piece called Henry's Lullaby was written for Anderson's son Henry.
In the late 18th century music devoted specifically for middle class amateur musicians to play at home began to be composed, published and consumed. This music would come to be known as hausmusik. Prior to the advent of hausmusik, there was Tafelmusik, (table-music), music to be played during meals; but tafelmusik was a more aristocratic phenomenon from the era that preceded the great rise of the middle class. The guitar is a hausmusik instrument. While guitarists Segovia, Bream and Starobin worked hard to make the guitar into a “serious” concert instrument, the guitar’s origins in folk music, salon music and hausmusik are an indelible aspect of the Western musical tradition. The terms “hausmusik” along with “gebrauchsmusik” (utility music) began to be used widely in the 20th century when music began to grow in directions that became increasingly more inscrutable to the middle class which once supported it. There is a great tension between the desire to explore musical possibilities for their own rewards, and, on the other hand, to acknowledge music’s role in the everyday lives of the non-musicians. The music assemled here reflects or comments upon these opposing tendencies, in the spirit of hausmusik.
In Paul Hindemith’s Rondo for three guitars (1925), the earliest work on this recording, one can discern a hint of Hindemith’s expressionism, but tempered by jugendstil Chinoiserie—the pentatonic lines. Here the guitars are evocative of some exotic oriental plucked-string instrument. Like early F. L. Wright houses and central European jugendstil architecture, there is still ornamentation, but it is in the process of transformation, with non-western influences very much in force.
Milton Babbitt’s “Danci” takes its title from the Esperanto for “dance”. One is struck immediately by the tango rhythms in this little piece. There is a coy flirtation with Ab in one register, echoed shortly thereafter in another register. A climax occurs where the various musical strands come together in a series of octaves. And there is a very tender relationship—the very opening E—G# is answered later with the same interval in the highest register of the instrument, reached through an ascending klangfarbenmelodie, only to dissolve into its own inversion. Another Babbitt hallmark is heard here in the protrusion and recession of notes and tango rhythms—in and out; up and down; forward and backward. Babbitt liberated aspects of Schoenberg’s music from their Romantic and expressionistic origins, creating an American music that is jazzy in its wit and spontaneity and Deco in its streamlined economy. The Esperanto title puts forth Danci as a work of welthausmusik, a cosmopolitan contribution to the global village.
In Robert Martin’s Henry’s Lullaby (1998) there are two levels of restful resolution that occur. Both of the two repeated phrases (the piece is an AABB form) end calmly and gently with a very familiar, tonal formula—a tritone resolving to a third or a sixth. The entire piece is based on this resolution, but until the end of each phrase it is always interrupted, as if nagging thoughts repeatedly jolt us into consciousness as we are about to drift into sleep, until we finally do drift into sleep. However, the resolutions in combination with the jarring notes soon emerge as a totality that is beautiful unto itself. This juxtaposition of sounds that traditionally would have had to be kept apart in time suggests a timelessness that is not identical, but is akin to the timeless quality of sleep. It is a reassuring timelessness that comes with the acceptance of the totality. This is in line with the words of one of Martin’s favorite painters, Cézanne: “Just as the artist has surpassed time by integrating himself into its rhythm, so is he from now on the master of space. And only now can he say in summary: ‘I feel colored by all the nuances of the infinite. Henceforth I am one with my painting.’” Henry’s Lullaby was written for my son Henry just days after he was born. It is also embedded in the third movement of Martin’s trio for flute, violin and guitar, Winter Shadows. Robert Martin is the composer of the epic collection of guitar solos, duos and trios entitled Diary of a Seducer, which traverses the range between melody and pointillism in remarkable ways. Henry’s Lullaby is the first of Martin’s next envisioned set of guitar solos, The Decameron. “Sleep that knits up the ravel’d sleave of care”—Macbeth
Olga Gorelli was born in Bologna, and was raised in Dante’s city, Ravenna. Her first compositions were published in Italy when she was ten years old. She came with her family to the U.S. in 1939 and studied with Scalera and Menotti at Curtiss, with Hindemith at Yale, and with Milhaud. Paolo and Francesca are from Dante. Their fate is to spend the hereafter as winds. Silent Moon is a musical scansion of lines by Leopardi. Mechanical Man is a memory of a Californian street performer who danced like a mechanical man until his music stopped. These duos were composed in the early 90’s. I first played them at a house concert given by Ms. Gorelli, who has made her home into a vital center for musical cultural in central New Jersey.
Hans Erich Apostel was born in Carlsruhe. He was a student of both Schoenberg and Berg. Grove’s Dictionary says, “In Vienna, where his work was disregarded for some years owing to its antecedents, performances have become more frequent again of late.” Webern was a spiritual leader for many composers after the war because his music suggested a way to get beyond the romanticism and expressionism of Schoenberg and Berg. We hear a hint of this Webernian rarefaction in Krenek’s fabulous little guitar suite of 1957, the last piece on this disc. Apostel does not try to make a great break with expressionism, although to me the ending of Der Rhythmus sounds like a Stan Kenton ending, and in general there is a jazzy brevity and lightheartedness in these works, suggesting a new expressionism adapted to the Pax Americana. Numbers 2, 3, and 4 are among the most ambitious contrapuntal guitar textures ever conceived by a non-guitarist. In the last piece the music evaporates in a fantastic kind of distillation process. Sechs Musiken was composed in the early ‘60’s.
Ernst Krenek studied with Schrecker in Vienna and Berlin.and became a major figure in Vienna. He married one of Mahler’s daughters. When he emigrated to the U.S. in 1938, avoiding the nazis, he was the most famous living European composer, largely due to the huge success of his opera, Johnny Spielt Auf. That work used jazz idioms, and it was the first opera to have a black character and also the first in which the telephone was used. Krenek’s music began in a post-Wagnerian vein, delved into atonality, and flirted with jazz. In the 20’s Krenek gave a lecture arguing against Schoenberg’s 12-tone practice, but later Krenek developed a similar practice which he employed extensively. Hausmusik was composed in Princeton, NJ in 1959, and is subtitled Seven Pieces for the Seven Days of the Week for Piano, Violin, Guitar and Recorders. The piece takes on a double role. It addresses the problem of modern music moving farther and farther from the ticket purchasing audience, and it also touches upon the issue of the demise of the German/Austrian musical tradition following the second world war. The renowned expatriate composer is replanting the seeds of his culture through these seven musical lessons, and at the same time he is educating his future public. Shortly after Richard Strauss had composed his great elegies for German Culture (Metamorphosen and the Four Last Songs), Krenek responded to the new situation with these lessons for others to learn to love and understand the culture which he hoped might survive in some form in the new post-war world.
In the 19th century variations for solo guitar of Sor, Giuliani and others, it is often the case that the 7th in the dominant 7 chord migrates through registers as the variations proceed. It is usually in the slow variation that the 7th winds up in the bass, causing the earth to tremble, just a bit. We see this register migration in my Guitar Variations from 1994, where I employ a simple process suggested by both the melody and the harmonization of the pop song that is treated, Jerome Kern’s Long Ago and Far Away.
A device used by Stravinsky, rotational arrays are built from strands of notes, cycled, transposed, and repeatedly stacked. Such dimensional designs, imbued with symmetries and recursions, lead to a complex flowering of the original pitch material. In Jonathan Dawe’s Under the Tafelmusik (1998) uses melodies taken from Telemann’s Tafelmusik. Six preexisting passages act as the primary panels from which the balance of the music is made. As an outcome of these operations, many expressions of the Baroque borrowings are recast into a new drama. Threads of connections are made to Telemann’s tunes, some direct, some quite distant. Jonathan Dawe studied with Milton Babbitt and Richard Hoffman. His music is widely performed, and he has won awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Foundation, the Presser Foundation, ASCAP, and BMI. He is now on the graduate faculty of the Juilliard School.
Ernst Krenek’s Suite for solo guitar is a universe away from his Hausmusik. Yet they were written within a few years of one another. In a certain respect, Hausmusik is the more complex work, despite its outward simplicity and its intention to be very accessible. At the risk of oversimplifying, Hausmusik behaves more like serial music, while the Suite is 12-tone. Serial music articulates background motion in the very same way that melodies delineate chord progressions in tonal music. In serial music, the melodies land prominently on certain notes, often landing in the same place more than once, creating focal pitches. The focal pitches may then move much more slowly than the surface, creating a depth to the texture in a manner that is identical and indeed descended from the way old fashioned tonal music behaves. The Suite’s Webernian feel has much to do with the fact that the row is one that Webern used very often. —William Anderson
Produced By: Marc Wolf
Executive Producers: Jeremy Tressler & Marc Wolf
Recording & Engineering: Jeremy Tressler, Dreamflower Studio
Mastering: Jeremy Tressler, Dreamflower Studio
Design & Typography: Marc Wolf
Rondo für drei Gitarren published by B. Schott’s Sohne, Mainz
Danci published by C.F. Peters Corporation
Henry’s Lullaby is in the composer’s manuscript
Three Duos is in the composer’s manuscript
Sech Musiken published by Universal Edition
Hausmusik published by Barenreiter-Verlag, Kassel
Guitar Variations is in the composer’s manuscript
Under the Tafelmusik is in the composer’s manuscript
Cover illustration: Ward W. Willits House by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The drawing of Frank Lloyd Wright is Copyright © 2000 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. Used with permission.
"first rate" -Bernard Holland, The New York Times
"the perfect pioneer" -Lili Afshar, American Record Guide
"The mirror-paneled recital room provided an apt visual metaphor for how such seemingly modest dimensions can trick the ear into an impression of vaster scale. Guitarist William Anderson brought both technical and expressive virtuosity to his accounts...a quasi-orchestral pallete of coloristic effects...deftly realized by Anderson as he shaped each entry with epigrammatic concentration." - Thomas May, The Washington Post
"William Anderson is one of our finest guitar players." -Leo Kraft, The Music Connoisseur
"Performed with warmth tenderness and strength by Mr. Anderson. ...Mr. Anderson soared over the different challenges presented by a difficult, contrapuntally complex solo guitar work by Milton Babbitt. He danced over the virtuosic combinations of rhythms and pitches, at the same time communicating a strong, long-phrased emotional getsure." -Graham Mckinley, Princeton Packet
“played with virtuosity and a close attention to style.” -Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post
“a seriously dedicated and adventurous performer.” -Emma Martinez, Classical Guitar (London)
"The mindful voice of Ives, of Stravinsky and of Mr. Wuorinen's music would not seem to be implied much by such a song as "Night and Day", but Mr. Anderson's extraordinary arrangements of this and other numbers by Jerome Kern and Richard Rogers set them squarely and astonishingly in the same tradition..." -Paul Griffiths, The New York Times
“...a sensitive, thoughtful player.” -Allan Kozinn, New York Times