BLOCH, MUCZYNSKI & REGER20th Century Music for Solo Cello
Ernest Bloch, Robert Muczynski, Max Reger
BENJAMIN WHITCOMB, cello
PROGRAM NOTESThe repertoire for the cello is substantial and delightful. It includes true masterpieces, and many of the pieces that do not quite reach that high distinction are still a joy to play and hear. In some respects, I find the repertoire for unaccompanied cello the most remarkable. In addition to the legendary Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), there are dozens of other fine works in the genre, most of which were composed after the turn of the 20th century; three of these pieces are heard on this album.
What makes these and other such works most remarkable is their orchestrational efficiency: the way they enable the cello, an instrument that most typically sounds one note at a time, to have enough harmonic implications to “sound self-sufficient”; not required accompaniment to sound complete. These techniques including having the cellist (1) play on more than one string at a time (known as multiple stops), (2) alternate between different melodic ideas (known as compound melody), and (3) implying harmonies, through the pitch classes selected and their placement within the measure. Listening for how these musical devices are employed by Bloch, Muczynski and Reger in the music recorded here can provide another dimension for the appreciation of this distinctive repertoire.
An active recitalist and chamber musician, cellist Benjamin Whitcomb performs frequently throughout the country and abroad. Whitcomb, a member of the Ancora String Quartet and the UW-Whitewater Piano Trio, is highly active in the American String Teachers Association, having served as Wisconsin state president, national Secretary and Chair of the Student Chapters committee and Studio Teachers’ Forum. At UW-Whitewater, he initiated and continues to coordinate the Music Theory and History Colloquium series, Musical Mosaics Concert Series and Summer String Camp. Also a prolific author, he has published dozens of articles in numerous journals and presented more than 30 academic papers at national and international conferences. In addition, Whitcomb contributed to three books and published 10, including The Advancing String Player’s Handbook series, Cello Fingerings, and Bass Fingerings, all well received by Strings magazine and ASTA and AUSTA journals. More recent books include the Compendium of Chords series and the Guide to Practicing the Popper Etudes. Whitcomb is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Oklahoma State University, and has studied with Phyllis Young, George Neikrug and Evan Tonsing. He is currently Professor of Cello and Music Theory at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater, where he has received awards for his teaching, research and service.
[ www.benjaminwhitcomb.com ]
Violoncello by Raymond Schryer (2002), modeled after the designs of Francesco Ruggieri. Bow by J. Martin.
PROGRAMROBERT MUCZYNSKI (1929-2010)
GALLERY – SUITE FOR UNACCOMPANIED CELLO (1966) [9:20]
II. Rainy Night
III. Noonday Heat
V. Winter Houses
VI. Ice Glare
VII. Black Iron
VIII. September Light
IX. End of the Day
MAX REGER (1873-1916)
SUITE FOR UNACCOMPANIED CELLO NO.2 IN D MINOR (1915)
ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959)
SUITE NO.2 FOR SOLO CELLO, B.94 (1957)