JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): String Quartet No. 5, WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Piano Quintet No. 2 (Christopher Taylor [piano]),PAUL SCHONEFIELD (b.1947): 3 Rhapsodies for Piano Quintet (Brian Hsu [piano]), WALTER MAYS (b.1941): String Quartet No. 2 "Dreaming Butterfly".
Catalogue Number: 01P075
Reference: TROY 1469/70
Description: These works were commisioned to celebrate the centennial of the Pro Arte quartet. Mays' 2nd Quartet is based on an ancient Chinese philosophical tale; a philosopher dreams of being a carefree butterfly, and awakes questioning whether the man dreamt of being a butterfly, or whether the insect is now dreaming of being a man. Three attractive, light and lively, very tonal episodes - the butterfly's adventures - are bracketed by more ambiguous 'sleep music'. After a misleadingly serious introduction, Schoenfeld' first rhapsody breaks out into a series of variations on the 1957 rock 'n roll hit 'Get a Job' in various styles; a brilliantly executed joke that transcends its own humor by being a terrific piece in its own right. The second rhapsody is based on Henry Jams parable of the corrosive effects that love can inflict, The Bench of Desolation; the piece consists of a mournful first part and a languidly melodic second. The lively finale evokes freilach klezmer music, with an affectionately humorous depiction of lively revelry. Bolcom's contribution is a classically structured piano quintet in four movements in which the composer acknowledges his Romantic antecedents - Brahms especially - in a grandly expressive work that transcribes romantic forms and spirit in an updated harmonic language without attempting to reject them for the sake of modernism. Harbison's 5th Quartet is an urgently discursive single span in ten short, contrasting sections in the composer's characteristic complex yet approachable style of expanded, ambiguous tonality and rhythmic vitality. 2 CDs. Pro Arte Quartet.