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Peter Lieuwen


Nicholas Jones, cello
Andrzej Grabiec, violin, Misha Quint, cello, and Carlo Alessandro Lapegna, piano
Leonel Morales, piano, and Jesus Morales, marimba

World Premiere Recordings



“Each work presented here highlights the diverse style of the composer: imaginative, dramatic, well-crafted, contemporary, and appealing in its blending of 20th and 21st century compositional techniques, while anchored in neo-classicism. The CD contains attractive and extensive liner notes.”
Kim McCormick, Pan Pipes [January 2017]
“This is Volume 2 of [Lieuwen's] his music as recorded by [MSR], and it continues a series of warmly emotional and lively works performed with enthusiasm. [the Cello Concerto is a] work of lively character, written in a basically romantic idiom but with imaginative use of harmony and in a style that is always going somewhere and gets there. Jones plays with passion... This is a nicely organized and well-recorded project that presents a strong and capable composer. Keep it up, MSR! You have something here.”
Moore, American Record Guide [November/December 2016]
“My review of this splendid repertoire is aided and abetted by the liner notes which provided all the relevant contextual information... This is a fascinating journey through a diverse selection of Peter Lieuwen’s orchestral music... The composer could not have wished for better advocates for his music that the present soloists, orchestra and conductor. As noted above, I enjoyed Lieuwen’s take on minimalism, it is characteristically a perfect balance between the ‘traditional’ elements beloved by the composers of the genre, but infused with a good dose of neo-classicism.”
John France, MusicWeb International [September 2016]
“Lieuwen's style is conservative and tonal... it's not without individuality and distinction: his music is very spirited and bright and strikes you as fairly original, despite taking on minimalist aspects at times in his rhythms, which also incorporate elements from jazz, rock and world music. The moods here are generally light, but the music isn't lightweight: while Lieuwen often sounds optimistic and playful, he is subtle and very tasteful, with no hint of note-spinning or bombast. Moreover, he does have more than a few serious, even profound moments... All of these performances are recording premieres and to my ears all are excellent. The soloists in the concertos are especially convincing and Franz Anton Krager draws consistently spirited performances from the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and Texas Music Festival Orchestra. MSR provides vivid and well balanced sound reproduction. If you're interested in new and very approachable music, this disc should not disappoint.”
Robert Cummings, Classical Net [September 2016]
“The style of the compositions on this disc may be broadly termed neo-Romantic, but actually there’s much more to them than that. There are touches of Minimalism, jazz, and Latin music. Some of Lieuwen’s rhythmic dynamism seems based directly on his experience touring in a rock band in his youth. Yet none of these influences appears applied capriciously. Taken as a whole, this music always sounds like Peter Lieuwen... There is no padding in a Peter Lieuwen piece... Lieuwen has his own sound, at once luminous and vibrant... the journey Lieuwen sets us upon on this CD is rich and rewarding... Peter Lieuwen definitely has found a distinctive voice as a composer. Leonard Bernstein used to remark that no one else could write his music; Lieuwen can make the same claim.”
Dave Saemann, Fanfare [September/October 2016]
“This is extremely well-crafted, user-friendly and beguilingly seductive music... Lieuwen’s music is built upon tiny, metrically even, and motorically repeated cells or kernels, over which he overlays sustained lines that provide harmonically rich textures in a most gratifying way. One could glean from what I have written that he is a proponent of [Minimalism]. Not quite so. Lieuwen’s harmonic rhythms move at a far faster rate, providing more of a sense of forward motion than of stasis. To all of this one must add his mastery of instrumental color...
The soloists are all world-class and provide rhythmically astute, sonically sumptuous, and highly nuanced performances. Both of the instrumental ensembles—the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and the Texas Music Festival Orchestra acquit themselves admirably under American-born and -trained conductor Franz Anton Krager... this offering is unequivocally a candidate for Want List membership.”
William Zagorski, Fanfare [September/October 2016]
“This is a great CD. Go out and buy it... Cellist Nicholas Jones, for whom [the Cello Concerto] this work was written, plays with aplomb, bringing off the work most splendidly... The trio plays with precision and passion, leaving nothing to be desired in the performance... [to write a showpiece for the gifted Cuban Morales brothers] is a stroke of genius, so well does it work. I’ve heretofore used the term 'scintillating' to describe Lieuwen’s music, but here he virtually defines the word through this music, and the result is glorious to behold. If his harmonies are wondrous in other pieces, they are even more stunning here, and ditto for his textural tone-painting. This work, one of my favorite works of many strong contenders from this composer, is alone worth the price of the disc, and playing of the Morales brothers and Franz Anton Krager’s orchestral support cannot be too highly praised... get [this CD] into your CD player and enjoy! [this is] a very likely entry on my next Want List.”
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [September/October 2016]
“This is a release I'd like to keep on hand for all those curmudgeons who complain that contemporary classical music is ugly and unlistenable. Peter Lieuwen's compositions are anything but... There's a certain exuberance in his music that I find appealing. My impression is that Lieuwen isn't concerned with discovering new sounds never heard before -- he just wants to create the best music possible using the tools already at
hand. And in that, I think he succeeds. While his music is decidedly tonal, it's also contemporary in character and form. And while it's accessible to the first-time listener, the music's substantial enough to merit repeated plays... If you're a fan of the new traditionalists, such as Kevin Puts or Carter Pann, I think you'll find much to enjoy in the music of Peter Lieuwen.”
Ralph Graves, Finding Beauty [August 2016]
[ * * * * ] “Contemporary music fans will feel at home with Lieuwen’s lovely compositions... Lieuwen’s work is hard to characterize. I hear music that sounds like Gade, and some of the American contemporary masters, but the fact is Lieuwen’s sound is unique and compelling. Driving rhythms, thoughtful music, and some lovely dynamics make his music worth more than passing notice... Lieuwen has written some dramatic and interesting music. He’s worth further exploration... this collection is highly recommended.”
Mel Martin, Audiophile Audition [July 2016]
“an intriguing blend... the Concerto’s outer movements, including a finale with a distinct Latin cast, are sonically attractive and involving, and very well played – as is all the music here.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [August 2016]
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, San Antonio Symphony, 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 clarinetists David Campbell and Wonkak Kim, pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, percussionist Steven Schick, guitarist Isaac Bustos, violinist Andrzej Grabiec, and trumpeters Randy Brecker, 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. Most of Lieuwen’s music is published by Keiser Classical and Southern Music, with recordings available on Albany, Crystal, Pro Arte/Fanfare, Divine Art/métier, MSR Classics, Naxos, New World, and VMM labels. [ ]

All selections except Vivace published by Keiser Classical (BMI).
[ ]
Vivace available from the composer

The Slovak National Symphony Orchestra was formed in 2002 as an independent and exclusive orchestra comprising top musicians from the various orchestras in Bratislava, including most of the principals from the Slovak Radio Symphony, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Cappella Istropolitana and the Slovak National Opera Orchestra. The independently managed SNSO has developed a world-class reputation for film, television, classical and popular music recordings. In addition to some hundred film and television contributions, the orchestra has also made numerous classical CD recordings for Naxos, Albany and EMI, with the conductor Kirk Trevor and others, and has also recorded music for numerous computer game projects. Other projects have included a complete re-recording of Miklós Rózsa’s Oscar-winning score to Hitchcock’s Spellbound to commemorate the composer’s centenary.

The Texas Music Festival Orchestra is the resident orchestra of the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival. Founded in 1990 to provide intensive musical training for exceptional young orchestral musicians, the Texas Music Festival has grown into one of the most highly regarded summer orchestral training programs in the United States. Based at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, the festival attracts students from around the world, and boasts an international faculty of artists, teachers, members of major orchestras and conservatory faculties, as well as conductors and soloists of international renown. [ ]
I. Buoyant and animated
II. Broadly – Spirited



I. Fiery
II. Placid
III. Incisive and spirited

MSR Classics