MUSIC OF PETER LIEUWEN, VOL.1OVERLAND DREAM
ISAAC BUSTOS, guitar
ANDRZEJ GRABIEC, violin
TIMOTHY HESTER, piano
SOLI CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
CUMBERLAND WIND QUINTET
World Premiere Recordings
[ * * * * * / 5-stars] “[Peter Lieuwen's] music is tough to pin down; unabashedly tonal, I detect borrowings from Nordic composers like Nielsen, the French school of Les Six, meanderings originating in Hindemith and winding up in the prolific contrapuntal work of people like Walter Hartley and the considered modern melodists like Samuel Barber. But this is only by way of analogy—he is his own voice, easily... Overland Dream [has an] innate positivism that works well especially in an election year! The ensemble makeup...covers the widest of colorist gamut in this ear-catching opus. The Guitar Sonata is something that needs a lot of attention. So many have tried and failed in this genre simply because the technical demands are underestimated or misunderstood. Lieuwen gets them all, and turns in a piece simplicity and brilliance, making full use of the guitar’s natural strength in reverberation and color... Windjammer is a delightful piece that most reminds me of the late French impressionist school dovetailing into Les Six... the delicious Rhapsody for violin and piano show the composer at his astute best, navigating the difficulties of the violin while providing a soaring and intensely lyrical vehicle for both instruments of engaging conciseness and expansive tonal emotion. MSR’s sound is top notch, and this is a highly recommended issue. Best of all, the cover says “Volume 1”.
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [January 2016]
“Peter Lieuwen writes music full of clear melodic lines, dreamy lyricism, and jazzy syncopation. He is a very listenable composer, and I mean that in the most positive way. He obviously writes for the pleasure of players and audiences, but he does not dumb down. His sensibility is basically classical— structures are always clear, compact, and logical—but there is a romantic undercurrent of strong emotion. The harmonies are basically tonal or modal but full of spice, variety, and expressive dissonance... The 2009 Guitar Sonata will be a treat for any guitar aficionado, as it exploits everything the instrument has to offer, including delicate overtones… Guitarist Isaac Bustos, for whom the piece is written, wanted a “big piece” from Lieuwen, and he certainly got it. The Rhapsody for violin and piano is the lushest, most song-like work, with a soaring violin line played with passion by Andrzej Grabiec… All the players seem to be enjoying themselves—not always the case with contemporary programs. The recording is vibrant and clear, just right for the music. I haven’t heard a guitar sound this realistic in years; the music sounds like it’s coming from inside the instrument.”
Sullivan, American Record Guide [September/October 2015]
“...there are interesting moments within all four works... Lieuwen’s music tends to have familiar inspirations, including nature and legends, and like that of many other contemporary composers, it reaches beyond traditional classical roots into jazz and non-Western music... Lieuwen has his own approach to the traditional conversational nature of chamber music, expanding that conversation so that it occurs not only among the musicians but also between the players and the audience.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [June 2015]
“I’ve been a fan of Peter Lieuwen’s music ever since my first exposure to it in 36:4, when I reviewed his violin concerto and other works… One of the hallmarks of Lieuwen’s music is its crystalline clarity of line and structure. Its essentially tonal basis is augmented through interjections of non-chord sonorities… His music is also characterized by all the rhythmic vitality of, say, an Appalachian Spring... All of the performances of the works heard herein serve Lieuwen’s music very well, as does the recorded sound. This disc is not to be missed by fans of tonal contemporary music, of which I firmly count myself one. Most enthusiastically recommended.”
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [July/August 2015]
“broad in instrumental palette and highly successful in its handling of balances”
MUSICAL AMERICA [ON LIEUWEN’S CHAMBER MUSIC]
“an attractive array of shimmering, shuddering sonorities”
THE NEW YORK TIMES [ON LIEUWEN’S ORCHESTRAL MUSIC]
PROGRAM NOTES"I compose music that is challenging and spiritually uplifting for the performers and the audience; a musical journey in which timbre, drama and dialog among the musicians, elicits different emotions from the audience. My sound world is one in which performers and audiences hear a broad palette of instrumental color and allusions to natural sounds. This, and my desire to evoke visual images through aural stimuli are of great interest to me. By stretching the musicality of the musicians, a single performer’s part may be technically demanding while the synergistic effect of the ensemble is dramatic and emotional.”
[Peter Lieuwen, November 2014]
The music of PETER LIEUWEN has been commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras, small ensembles and artists throughout North America and Europe. Many of Lieuwen’s compositions are impressions of nature and legend, infused with the kinetic rhythms of jazz and world music. His orchestral works have been introduced by such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Slovak National Symphony, Orchestra of the Americas and the National Orchestral Association.
The composer’s chamber and vocal works have been presented by numerous ensembles, including the Cassatt String Quartet, American Piano Trio, Core Ensemble, Enhake, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Trio Bel Canto, and by an array of artists, including clarinetist David Campbell, pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, percussionist Steven Schick, guitarist Isaac Bustos, violinist Andrzej Grabiec, and trumpeters Vince DiMartino, Allen Vizzutti and Doc Severinsen. Recent commissions include works for the Royal Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, The Arts Council of Wales, Cassatt String Quartet, Iridium Saxophone Quartet, Isaac Bustos and Andrzej Grabiec. In addition to winning First Prize in the Doc Severinsen International Composition Competition in 2013, the composer has garnered awards and honors from Musicians Accord, The Contemporary Record Society, The League of Composers – ISCM and the National Orchestral Association.
Lieuwen was born in 1953 in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and grew up in New Mexico. He studied at the University of New Mexico and the University of California at Santa Barbara with composers Scott Wilkinson, William Wood, Edward Applebaum, Emma Lou Diemer and Peter Racine Fricker. From 1984 to 1987, he taught composition at UC Santa Barbara. Since 1988, he has been on the faculty of Texas A&M University, where from 2000 to 2005 he served as the inaugural head of the Department of Performance Studies. He is currently Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence there. Lieuwen’s music can be heard in recordings on the Albany, CRS, Crystal, Pro Arte/Fanfare, Naxos, New World and VMM labels.
[ www.peterlieuwen.com ]
Overland Dream published by Keiser Classical, Inc. All other works available from the composer.
PROGRAMPETER LIEUWEN (b.1953)
OVERLAND DREAM for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (2011)
SONATA for Guitar (2009)
WINDJAMMER for Woodwind Quintet (2009)
RHAPSODY for Violin and Piano (2013)