LAUREL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE

JAMES COHN: A GRECIAN FESTIVAL

JAMES COHN: A GRECIAN FESTIVAL

And other Chamber Music

James Cohn

LAUREL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
Kenneth Chia, Flute
Winnie Lai, Oboe
Hideaki Aomori, Clarinet
Eric Grossman, Violin
Amadi Azikiwe, Viola
Gerald Kagan, Violoncello
Susan Kagan, Piano
Emi Kagawa, Piano
Lori Piitz, Piano
Vladimir Valjarevic, Piano
 

World Premiere Recordings

[MS1285]

$12.95

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REVIEWS
“Hearing [Cohn’s] chamber works on [previous] issues, I always wondered why his music isn’t better known. It is most ingratiating in every way, incorporating good melodies, a dance-like character, and evidencing idiomatic use of every instrument… I know enough performers on various instruments who remain fond of tonal music, and they would like, if not love, this music… The present disc offers a generous sampling of Cohn’s art in the chamber-music idiom to those who may not have yet encountered it. The Oboe Sonata would seem to allow Cohn to make a claim of being America’s Poulenc. The unabashed joy of the melodies in this work is every bit the equal of that found in the Frenchman’s melodic genius. The work, especially in its jazzy finale, is a delight from beginning to end. Actually, the same may be said of every work on the CD. The Viola Sonata, with its bouncy opening movement, calmly meditative second, and rhythmically dynamic finale, should be on the radar screen of every violist. They must by now be looking for something besides the ubiquitous Rebecca Clarke sonata, and this work is at least as good as that repertory staple. The pieces for solo clarinet are also rewarding to hear, and I would think to play as well… Performances on this disc are uniformly excellent—even definitive. I am happy to encounter pianist Lori Piitz in a new recording: She is a superb artist… The recorded sound of every work is likewise both warm and spacious. There is simply nothing not to like about the recording of this well-crafted and inspired music. If you’re into tonality, Cohn is definitely worth exploring, and this CD is as good a place to start as anywhere. I hope to be able to hear some of Cohn’s works for larger forces someday.”
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare - Issue 35:5 May/June 2012
“This disc is…a festival of good contemporary melodic music… I have reserved a special note of praise for Cohn’s Arkansas Reel. It is a wonderful piece based on two quintessentially American folk songs, Arkansas Traveler and the Blue Mountain Boys’ Reel. He uses these tunes much as European composers have used their folk music for centuries. It is a most listenable piece that can attract more people to classical music. Bravo, Maestro Cohn, for that one. “
Maria Nockin, Fanfare [May/June 2012]
"Cohn revels in the expressive prism of early modernism, wandering as far back as JS Bach in a neo-classical bent; bringing Eastern European folk idioms into 20th Century rhythms and harmonic language, much like Bartok and Kodaly; and in the final selection, a whirl through the rural South, something Virgil Thompson or William Grant Still may have done. His music is well written, idiomatic, and always has something to say. His works easily complement more famous names on a concert program, but even a compilation such as this one is effective for its sheer variety, imagination, and profundity.  The collaborators on this project…play with energy and they give a good introduction to Cohn’s works.”
Hanudel, American Record Guide [May/June 2012]
PROGRAM NOTES
JAMES COHN was born in 1928 in Newark, New Jersey. Cohn studied composition with Roy Harris, Wayne Barlow and Bernard Wagenaar and majored in Composition at the Juilliard School. He has written solo, chamber, choral and orchestral works, and his catalogue includes three string quartets, five piano sonatas, eight symphonies and an orchestral suite entitled The Little Circus. Several works have won awards, including a Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Prize for his Symphony No.2 and an A.I.D.E.M. prize for his Symphony No.4, which was premiered in Florence, Italy. Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony introduced the composer’s Symphony No.3 and Variations on the Wayfaring Stranger. His opera The Fall of the City won an Ohio University Opera Award. There have been many performances of Cohn’s choral and chamber music, and worldwide use of his music commissioned for television and cinema. Other major commissions have come from the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress for the Concerto da Camera and from the Music at Gretna Festival for the Mount Gretna Suite. Maestro Guido Six of the Conservatory of Music in Ostend, Belgium commissioned the Caprice for Claribel, his 30-piece clarinet choir. A recent commission, The Texas Suite, was given its premiere at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio in 2010. Maestro Six has just commissioned a new work for Claribel, to be performed at the Midwest Clarinet Conference in Chicago in 2012.
 
PROGRAM
JAMES COHN (b.1928)
A GRECIAN FESTIVAL for CHAMBER ENSEMBLE (2007)
Message found on a Grecian Column
Concerning Love
Concerning Wine
Beethoven visits the Swamp
Daphne’s Flight & Metamorphosis

SONATA for OBOE AND PIANO (1988)
Allegro non troppo
Allegretto grazioso
Andante – Allegro con fuoco

SONATA for VIOLIN AND PIANO (2005)
Presto
Allegretto
Allegretto giocoso – (Dance of Praise)

THREE PIECES for CLARINET ALONE (1999)
Wind Song
Slow Dance
Polonaise

SONATA for VIOLA AND PIANO (1987)
Essay
Blues
Cakewalk

BAROQUE SUITE for FLUTE ALONE (1966)
Allemande
Courante
Sarabande
Bouree
Gigue

PIANO TRIO NO. 2 (2003)
Soliloquy
Waltz
Rondo

ARKANSAS REEL (1994)
 



MSR Classics