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Cat. No. CHAN 9831 Price: £12 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9831 - Gerber: Orchestral Works
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CHAN 10039(*)
 

Available From: 15 June 2000
The works on this CD were written between 1988 and 1998, a period during which Gerber’s music had become increasingly tonal.

Gerber’s Symphony No. 1 (1988-9) is in three movements. The first movement has an unusual form: its three discrete parts begin very differently, almost as if in different worlds, but the second and third parts gradually revert to the mood and material of the first. The middle movement is a sort of scherzo with a brief coda; it is much more chromatic than the first movement. Throughout the finale, diatonic music is contrasted with much more chromatic music.

In spite of its title, ‘Dirge and Awakening’ is not programmatic. It is a single-movement piece in two sections, Largo and Allegretto. It was written in 1992 and premiered in 1993 by the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev.

The Viola Concerto was written for Yuri Bashmet who gave the first performance at his festival in Tours in 1997. The first movement is marked Maestoso. The second is a set of variations on the name BASHMET (B flat-A-E flat-B-E-E-B: in German B corresponds to B flat, S or Es to E flat, and H to B, while M and T, or Mi and Ti may be said to represent E and B respectively). The third movement is a short, quick finale, a lighter coda to an otherwise sombre work.

The ‘Triple Overture’ for violin, cello, piano and orchestra was written in 1998 at the request of The Bekova Sisters, and for this CD. The first large section of the ‘Triple Overture’ is in three parts, the first Maestoso, the second waltz-like, and the third developing the preceding ideas. This is followed by a set of variations for piano and percussion, the theme being STEGERBER (E flat-B-G-E-D-B flat-E-D-R: R, or Re represents D). A lyrical cadenza for violin and cello leads to the final section, a shortened and restrained recapitulation of the Maestoso and waltz-like music.
Reviews

‘Gerber… is clearly a composer of considerable talent.’
The Washington Star

‘Gerber could serve as an example of American musical professionalism: with freedom and confidence, he possess the entire spectrum of the means of expression of modern composition and all of the different genres, and he stands out with the highest temperaments and musical taste.’
Evening Moscow

‘Steven Gerber’s Symphony No. 1 is a beautiful work. The composer uses simple means and achieves large, lasting philosophical ideas. The human tragedy sings in his music.’
Vladimir Vais (former conductor of the Bolshoi Ballet)

 

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