Fred Lerdahl, Vol. 4
Volume 4 of Bridge's Fred Lerdahl series offers music composed over a span of four decades. Three recent pieces, Spirals, Three Diatonic Studies, and Imbrications, are recorded here for the first time and two earlier works, Wake and Fantasy Etudes, are re-issues. Spirals is scored for an orchestra of double woodwinds, two horns, two trumpets, percussion, piano, and strings. The two movements are of equal length, the first fast and brilliant, the second slow and lyrical. Three Diatonic Studies originated in a commission from the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival to write a variation based on the 'Aria' of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Lerdahl later added two other diatonic studies to form the present suite. The brief Imbrications was written in 2001 in honor of the composer Andrew Imbrie's 80th birthday. `The inspiration for Wake came from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. The work was composed at the request of the legendary soprano Bethany Beardslee and was composed while Lerdahl was in residence at the Marlboro Music Festival. Lerdahl composed Fantasy Etudes in 1985. The piece is in one movement and is scored, like Imbrications, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano. The stunning performance here is by three-time Grammy-winning ensemble, eighth blackbird. Fred Lerdahl's music is highly esteemed for having developed original harmonic syntaxes and formal processes, presented with expressive depth.
“If you like the idea of a composer offering you a condensed masterclass of compositional technique via the unlikely medium of booklet notes while at the same time enjoying some modern music leavened with neo-classicism, do seek this series out.” - International Record Review
"The sizzling I is an intense, scintillating affair with intricate development as a result of Lerdahl's developing-variation technique, where fairly uncomplicated ideas are in a constant state of growth. The first of the new variants is a dreamy canon juxtaposing diatonic and pentatonic scale fragments. The Fantasy Etudes is an absorbing, even thrilling workout for the players, who actually played it from memory—a display of virtuosity that astonished even the composer." - American Record Guide
Three Diatonic Studies (2004-2009): Chasing Goldberg, Cyclic Descent, Scalar Rhythms
Mirka Viitala, piano
Fantasy Etudes (1985), eighth blackbird
Related Lerdahl discs: