Toshiyuki Shimada: Elliott Schwartz Voyager for Orchestra

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Toshiyuki Shimada conducting the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Elliott Schwartz was born in New York City and studied composition with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson at Columbia University. Since 1964, he has taught at Bowdoin College, where he is currently the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of music. There are five orchestral works on this disc which share a number of traits - in particular, a fondness for bright, splashy instrumental colors, multi-layered textures (akin to photographic "multiple exposure"), eclectic style juxtapositions, and references to pre-existent music of the past. Many of the principal motives are derived from patterns - number sequences, or musical spellings - which are related to extra-musical programmatic sources. Moreover, these pitch patterns often expand into twelve-tone rows (which in turn generate new patterns). The musical surfaces, however, are far removed from the world of strict serialism. Quite the opposite, in fact: tonal, triadic passages and angular, dissonant ones jostle each other, and controlled improvisation often flows through and around strictly notated narrative. Finally, a distinctly "theatrical" strain runs through these compositions. Performers may be asked to walk or speak; orchestra choirs - the wind section, or the brasses (appropriately at the rear of the stage), may play "competing music" - fragments of pre-existing material - at odds with the prevailing music that surrounds them. Unusual instruments - metronomes, police whistles, flashlights, or piano interiors - may be employed by the players. These are intended to create a multi-dimensional, and perhaps even dream-like, experience.

Elliott Schwartz, composer
Voyager for Orchestra
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Toshiyuki Shimada, conductor