Sunday, February 26, 2012

'George Walker: Great American Orchestral Works, Vol. 3' Continues Successful Series on Albany

[ABOVE: Dr. Rochelle Sennet, Pianist BELOW: George Walker: Great American Orchestral Works, Vol. 3; Albany Records 1334 (2012) (Cover Photo: Frank Schramm) (56:13)]

On Feb. 16, 2012 AfriClassical posted: “Albany Records: 'The series of George Walker's orchestral music continues!' on Vol. 3, Albany 1334 (2012).” The works on this diverse program were composed by George Walker over a period of 34 years, from 1975 to 2009, illustrating his compositional style during a significant period of his successful career in music. 

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign says of Dr. Rochelle Sennet, “Sennet’s recitals showcase her versatility through works by Bach, Beethoven, and African American composers such as H. Leslie Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker.”

Icarus in Orbit (3:27) is the first of five works on the CD. The liner notes tell us: “This score was commissioned by the New Jersey Youth Orchestra for its 25th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2004 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. It encapsulates the principal aspects of the myth of Icarus.” The Sinfonia da Camera is conducted by Ian Hobson, who founded the ensemble in 1984, we learn from the liner notes. The notes continue: “Sinfonia, the resident chamber orchestra at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is composed of musicians from the university and throughout the Midwest.

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is a work in three movements, and according to the liner notes “was composed in 1975 for the late Natalie Hinderas, a brilliantly gifted pianist.” The pianist on this recording is Dr. Rochelle Sennet, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois. The notes say of the orchestra: “Sinfonia Varsovia originated in 1972 as the Polish Chamber Orchestra...” The conductor is again Ian Hobson.” “The official premiere of the concerto was given by Ms. Hinderas in 1976 with the Minneapolis Symphony with Paul Freeman conducting. It was recorded for the historic Black Composers Series of Columbia Records with the Detroit Symphony.” The length of Movement I is 11:55; Movement II is 5:57; Movement III is 6:10. The notes indicate “The first movement begins with an orchestral introduction,” “The second movement begins with a Duke Ellington song,” and the third movement has an “orchestral introduction.”

Abu for Narrators and Chamber Ensemble (6:19) “was commissioned by the Network for New Music, a contemporary music ensemble in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The premiere was given in May of 2004. The text of Abu is the well-known poem, Abu Ben Adhem, by the English poet, James Henry Leigh Hunt.” The narrators are Richard Herrera and Yvonne Gonzales Redman. The instrumentalista are Sherban Lupu, violin; Brandon Vamso, cello; and Rochelle Sennet, piano. Ian Hobson is conductor.

Dialogus for Cello and Orchestra (12:15) “was commissioned by Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra for the Bicentennial of 1976. It is a work in one movement that was begun by George Walker during a residency at the Villa Serbelloni, a Rockefeller Foundation site in Bellagio, Italy.” Dmitri Kouzov is on cello, and Ian Hobson conducts the Sinfonia Varsovia.

Da Camera for Piano Trio, Harp, Celesta, String Orchestra and Percussion (10:05) features Rochelle Sennet, piano; Sherban Lupu, violin; Brandon Vamos, cello; and the Sinfonia da Camera under the direction of Ian Hobson, conductor. “Da Camera is a work in one movement composed in 2009. The title is a contraction of Musica da Camera. The music incorporates an infusion of disparate voices. Quotes from a Broadway musical, a spiritual and two jazz standards appear in the parts for the piano trio. The second jazz tune is restated by the sting orchestra. The piano is used primarily in a soloistic configuration.”
[George Walker (b. 1922) is a composer and pianist whose website is, and who is featured at  The website also features Adolphus C. Hailstork and H. Leslie Adams.]  Disclosure: A review copy of this CD was provided by the record label.

No comments: