PAUL REALE: CHILDREN'S PALACEChamber Music for Winds and Piano
THE BOREALIS WIND QUINTET
CHRISTOPHER GUZMAN, piano
THE BOREALIS WIND QUINTET
Keith Bonner, flute
Tamar Beach Wells, oboe and English horn
JoAnn Sternberg, clarinet
Dan Culpepper, horn
Wayne Hileman, bassoon
World Premiere Recordings
"Reale’s music does not really sound like any of his former mentors. Its style is recognisably early 21st century postmodernist, tonally based but having little truck with minimalism. It is well written without being overtly challenging to listen to, but sufficiently interesting to bear repeated listening, The performances are all exemplary, with Christopher Guzman a near-perfect accompanist to the soloists. Excellent sound, too."
Guy Rickards, Gramophone [November 2019]
“a playful, relaxed, and carefree listening experience... Reale reflects on the fanciful, playful nature of wind instruments in general throughout the history of musical composition. The result is very listenable and varied recording that entails the sounds of a range of wind instruments."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [September 2019]
"Paul Reale’s musical compositions are largely diverse and emblazoned with a refreshing spirit. Reale’s neoclassical permeation makes his compositions beg for open ears and wide eyes: his innovations allow the listener to stretch his/her imagination and discover some of the most beautiful musical instruments in the classical family... The CD’s most intriguing piece is saved for last. Here, famed Borealis Wind Quintet punctiliously sparks along the route mapped by Paul Reale. It's like opening up a bag of Jelly Belly confections. Just as one of the eleven commentaries seem to plant nicely on the ear, the journey abruptly ends… it’s addictive and absorbing… we beg for more. These expositional, rudimentary ‘thoughts’, though fleeting and imposing, have a firm integration. [Children’s Palace] pays strong tribute to those instruments that we, otherwise, often take for granted in the large orchestral field."
Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet [August 2019]
"Most of the material on this disc has a positive, buoyant feeling about it, making the pieces enjoyable to hear and, from the enthusiasm with which the performers handle them, apparently very enjoyable to play... All these works are world première recordings, and all will bring considerable enjoyment both to wind players and to listeners who enjoy the sounds of instruments for which Reale certainly knows how to write with skill."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad.com [September 2019]
"Reale writes in a neo-modernist style that is accessible... His ideas rarely unfold to expectation; yet on their own, they are delightful kernels that will please on the first hearing. To this end, the 11 Miniatures is a good starting point, a collection of brief but vividly scored nuggets... [Reale's music is a] quirky yet affecting soundscape... Borealis and Guzman make a solid case for Reale’s music, with secure technique and sincere expression. In particular, the clarinet, bassoon, and horn pieces are wonderfully played... The balance and blend in the woodwind quintet are superb."
Hanudel, American Record Guide [September/October 2019]
"airy flights of fancy... highly imaginative development..."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [July 2019]
"Like most of Reale’s music, unpredictability is at the fore. One never knows what will come next in these pieces, although they each retain a compelling flow of ideas from one to the next. The composer’s harmonic language is also very rich, with overt tonality struggling with near-atonality in an attempt to gain prominence... The members, individually and collectively, of The Borealis Wind Quintet, along with their collaborator, pianist Paul Guzman, do a stellar job in bringing off these very demanding works. I doubt that the composer could have asked for a better presentation of them, and I know I certainly could not have. I therefore wholeheartedly recommend this latest issue of music of this iconic composer."
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [July/August 2019]
"Paul Reale’s music has been given excellent coverage by MSR. This release explores his chamber music for winds and piano via six happily contrasting works. Now in his mid-70s he has no need of schismatic procedures, having long since preferred the pleasures of direct, communicative and warmly textured composition... The players of The Borealis Wind Quintet, singly or collectively, and hardworking pianist Christopher Guzman play with spirit and finesse. There’s plenty to enjoy in this whimsical, and sometimes beguiling selection."
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International [June 2019]
PROGRAM NOTESFROM THE COMPOSER
I have always thought of wind chamber music as fanciful problem solving. From the environment of the serenades by Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Igor Stravinsky’s Octet, there is a kind of lighthearted agility that underlines the music, not that it is superficial, but it can have great weight like Mozart’s Serenade in C minor, K.388. Wind quintet music stands in sharp contrast to the implied gravitas of string quartets and their concomitant sweatiness. The biggest influence in my wind writing, overall, is probably the music of French composers of the last century. There is an almost neo-classical balance in the progress of materials in those works. The title I have chosen for the album, Children’s Palace, has an oblique reference to Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges. In Ravel’s oneact opera, familiar objects come to life and assume dramatic personae. My wind instruments in these sonatas develop lifelike qualities as each piece proceeds. The word “sonata” implies abstract structural procedures. Here, the pieces are more like tiny dramas.
Formed at the Juilliard School in 1976, The Borealis Wind Quintet has won numerous awards and prizes, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America. They have toured throughout the United States with notable performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Concert Hall, the Frick Museums in New York City and Pittsburgh, and Wolf Trap in Virginia. They have also performed on prestigious concert series, including the Four Seasons in Berkeley, Strathmore in Baltimore, Corning Glass Museum in New York and Sun City in Arizona. Princeton, Yale, Notre Dame, Brown and the Universities of Missouri, Maine, North Texas, Pennsylvania and Virginia are just a few of the schools at which Borealis has played. Their well-received performances have resulted in numerous repeat engagements across the country. Intent on bringing contemporary music to a wide audience, Borealis often includes new works on their tours, including new pieces by Joseph Turrin, Manny Mendelson, John Steinmetz and Miguel del Aguila, and works composed expressly for them by Paul Moravec, Bob Brookmeyer, Brian duFord, Philip Wharton, Eric Ewazen and Sima Wolf. The Quintet is also dedicated to presenting educational programs in conjunction with their performances. They have been in residence at the Newport Music Festival, Bucknell University and in Ellsworth, Maine, and have ongoing programs for the public school system in Connecticut. Borealis has presented workshops and master classes at pre-schools through universities and have provided community educational programs in conjunction with concert performances. Active as a recording ensemble Borealis has released five CDs: Discoveries (Helicon) presents three new tonal works, featuring “The Roaring Fork by Eric Ewazen, commissioned by Borealis; A la Carte, a 2006 Grammy nominee, is a melange of audience favorites, including the little known Pastorale by H.H.A. Beach and the dazzling Potpourris Fantastico sul Barbieri di Siviglia by Giulio Briccialdi; Boréalis En Salon features cornerstones of 19th century French repertoire; Borealis: Live is an live concert recording made at the University of Missouri in Kansas City; Arias for Winds features instrumental adaptations of some of opera’s finest arias. Borealis has also been featured on the album En Prévision by Sima Wolf. [ borealiswindquintet.com ]
Pianist Christopher Guzman regularly performs as soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe and Asia, in a broad range of styles, from Baroque to the avant-garde. Guzman is a prizewinner in numerous international competitions, including the Walter M. Naumburg Competition, Seoul International Music Competition and Isang Yun Competition of South Korea. Recently, he won the Grand Prize and several special prizes at the 10th Concours International de Piano d’Orléans in France. As a result, he regularly travels to France to perform in Paris and throughout the Loire Valley. An active recording artist, Guzman has released Vienne et après which features German and Austrian music from the past 100 years (Tessitures) and the highly acclaimed Chopin’s Ghosts (Naxos) which features music of Paul Reale. Guzman’s career has brought him to such venues as Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and others. He performs regularly with many of the world’s brightest talents, including Ilya Gringolts, Antoine Tamestit, David Fray and Jeremy Denk, among others. Guzman performs regularly with members of the world’s finest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He appears regularly on the New York Philharmonic’s chamber music series “Philharmonic Ensembles,” and performed on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s chamber series. He continues to collaborate with many of the nation’s pre-eminent new music ensembles; his performances have included world premieres of works by Donald Martino, Nico Muhly, Paul Schoenfield and Christopher Theofanidis. Born in Texas, Guzman began studying piano at age nine and violoncello two years later. He worked primarily with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald at the Juilliard School, with Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin, and with the late Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory. Guzman is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. [ www.christopherguzman.net ]
PAUL REALE has a catalogue of compositions large and diverse which over the course of his career has retained a distinctly fresh, original voice. It includes 12 piano sonatas, of which Sonata No.6 “The Waste Land” received a New Ariel Music Competition prize, three piano concertos and nine concertos for various instruments, including the Columbus Concerto for organ and winds, which was composed for the 500th anniversary of the “Discovery of America”. Reale has also written two song cycles and several other vocal and dramatic works. His vocal piece Two Madrigals was a finalist in the 2009 Cincinnati Camerata Choral Composition Contest. Among Reale’s orchestral music, Caldera with Ice Cave (MSR MS1703) reached the semi-finals of the 2015 American Prize competition. His distinguished chamber music has also been widely performed and recorded. Seven Deadly Sins for violin and piano (Naxos 9.70204) was released in a series of recordings of his complete works for violin, in addition to Chopin’s Ghosts, which features music for cello (Naxos 8.559820). In 2017, Reale’s Le Bonheur de Vivre clarinet trio was chosen by the Pierrot Ensemble for Volume 1 of their Ablaze series (Ablaze Records, AR-00035). His Sacred Geometry 2 for violin and viola received a Special Mention at the 2005 International Epic Music Composition Competition, and the Simplexity string quartet was a winner in the First Seattle Composers’ Alliance String Quartet Competition in 2014. As an author, Reale has written both aesthetic and analytical articles on 20th century composers, from Ives to Boulez. Reale began his education at Columbia College studying English literature and the hard sciences, and in 1967 received a degree in composition under the primary tutelage of Otto Luening and Chou Wen-Chung. A decision to enter the teaching profession prompted further study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he came under the influence of George Rochberg and George Crumb. A dedicated educator, Paul Reale received the Charles and Harriet Luckman Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1995, and since 2004 is Professor Emeritus at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
PROGRAMPAUL REALE (b.1943)
CHILDREN’S PALACE – SONATA FOR FLUTE AND PIANO
Repose and Romp
SONATA FOR OBOE AND PIANO
TRANSFIGURATION FOR CLARINET AND PIANO
Stage I – Introduction
Stage II – Lament
Stage III – Triumph
HORN CALL FOR HORN AND PIANO
SONATA FOR BASSOON AND PIANO “DIES IRAE”
ELEVEN MINIATURES FOR WIND QUINTET