PAUL REALE: CONCERTO DIES IRAEPiano Sonatas Nos. 7 & 8
PAUL REALE, piano
THE MIRECOURT TRIO
(Kenneth Goldsmith, violin; Terry King, cello; John Jensen, piano)
California State University Wind Ensemble
DAVID WHITWELL, conductor
World Premiere Recordings
"[The Concerto ‘Dies Irae’] is music of approachable warmth, sporting fine clean sonorities and hints of dance motifs throughout, not least a sinuously sublimated tango theme, as well as bell tolling motifs. There are plenty of opportunities for the fine Mirecourt players... the engaging variety of [Reale’s Piano Sonata No.7] is amplified by his confidence in ending the work quietly... [The Piano Sonata No.8] is dedicated to pianist Walter Ponce who plays it with sympathy and convincing bravura in the music’s more animated sections. MSR serves Reale well here; its documentation is attractively laid out – the booklet notes are written by the composer and by Terry King – and the recordings, which come from the years between 1982 and 2013 show Reale’s music in the best aural light. Engaging and enjoyable."
MusicWeb International [June 2019]
“[Paul Reale's music] remains firmly committed to the classic concerns for beautiful melody, colorful harmony, and recognizable form... Reale has composed 11 [piano] sonatas so far; I don't know if he plans to write more, but I hope so. These are engaging works, well conceived for the instrument and very compelling. Reale, himself a pianist, delivers the goods in the five-movement Sonata 7... The Bolivian Walter Ponce shows a marvelous virtuosic elan in the eighth—the mercurial unfolding of the piece and its deft incorporation of the Folia theme very effectively convey the sense Reale had for it—an evocation of giddy, almost transgressive ecstasy. I love the timbral choice of solo strings with piano complemented by wind ensemble in the concerto, as well as the wide stylistic range... The performers are committed and expert.”
Haskins, American Record Guide [September/October 2018]
“The compilation is admirable... The performances are very fine and committed by all concerned, all the music is written with passion and conviction, and Mr. Reale is a composer who takes a lot of care over what he writes, taking time, and often revision.... This is interesting music with much to commend it...”
Geoff Pearce, Music & Vision [August 2018]
“There is some interesting listening to be had…from a new MSR Classics release featuring music by Paul Reale... The longest and most intriguing work here is Concerto “Dies Irae” for Piano Trio and Wind Ensemble... The Mirecourt Trio and California State University Wind Ensemble under David Whitwell certainly give this work its due... [Listeners] will enjoy the fine performances to be found on this disc.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [June 2018]
"There is never a moment when the soloists and ensemble sound at odds with one another. Reale uses the wind ensemble so deftly that its palette of colours adds subtle connections as violin, cello and piano weave lines through exuberant and, when the ‘Dies irae’ theme exerts itself, dark terrain.... Reale is the first-rate soloist in his Piano Sonata No 7, subtitled Veni Creator Spiritus for its nuanced use of the plainchant within five movements that make inventive use of traditional forms."
Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone [May 2018]
“...listeners will be drawn to the highly imaginative harmonic language that Paul Reale employs throughout these three works. His desire to keep his listener guessing as to what will come next will intrigue the listener as much on his 15th hearing as on the first. The works are presented in the best possible light by the artists who perform them. Highly recommended to all enthusiasts of intelligently written contemporary music.”
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [May/June 2018]
PROGRAM NOTESPaul Reale has created a catalogue of compositions large and diverse. It includes eleven 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 reached the semi-finals of the 2015 American Prize competition. His chamber music is also distinguished, and has been widely performed and recorded. Seven Deadly Sins for violin and piano 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]. In 2017, Le Bonheur de Vivre, a clarinet trio, was chosen by the Pierrot Ensemble (all firstchair players of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra) to be included in Volume 1 of their Ablaze series. His Sacred Geometry 2 for violin and viola received a Special Mention at the 2005 International EPICMUSIC Composition Competition, and Simplexity for 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 composer topics, from Ives to Boulez, many of which were published with an accompanying CD. Reale’s music over the course of his career has retained a distinctly fresh, original voice. On the one hand, his compositional language is as identifiable as Chopin, yet it is impossible to pigeonhole him into a convenient cliché. His vast output continues to fascinate and draw listeners to return to his music again and again. 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, with whom he had studied privately for two years prior. 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).
As described by Walter Simmons in Fanfare magazine, “The Mirecourt Trio has been characterized by a dedication to the highest standards of performance, to unearthing lesserknown works, and to increasing the piano trio repertoire by inviting important composers to investigate the medium. This dedication pursued aggressively and discriminatingly has made them [one of] today’s preeminent piano trios.” Since its inception in 1973, the trio has commissioned and premiered more than 100 works in their 20-year career. Violinist Kenneth Goldsmith is today Professor of Violin at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Cellist Terry King teaches at the Longy School of Music of Bard College and the Hartt School, University of Hartford and is co-director of LyricaFest, a bi-annual chamber music festival. Pianist John Jensen is a staff pianist at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, a position he has held for 14 years.
Walter Ponce has performed extensively in North and South America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. Ponce, who for many years was under the same management as Martha Argerich, Alicia de Larrocha and Maurizio Pollini, has performed under the baton of noted conductors, including Sir Georg Solti, with whom he made his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut. At the invitation of Daniel Barenboim, he was featured in Chicago’s prestigious Orchestra Hall Piano series. In New York, Ponce gave his solo recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Introductions” series to critical acclaim. He also appeared in New York at Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall, Hunter College and in Carnegie Hall’s Emerging Artist Series. In 1995 at the invitation of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Ponce presented a solo recital as part of the United Nations 50th anniversary celebrations. A strong advocate for new music, Ponce has given premiere performances of more than 200 works by many of today’s greatest composers, including Rochberg, Husa, Crumb, Bolcom and Gould. Composers Paul Reale and Ezra Laderman have written piano concertos for Ponce, the latter having been premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. An active recording artist, Ponce recorded the complete works for piano and cello by Beethoven with Yehuda Hanani, and made the original recording of George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale under the supervision of the composer. He can be also be heard in recordings on the Columbia Masterworks, Library of Congress, CRI and Vox Cum Laude labels. Walter Ponce has a Master’s and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, and is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UCLA.
PROGRAMPAUL REALE (b. 1943)
CONCERTO “DIES IRAE” for Piano Trio and Wind Ensemble (1982/2015)
Song and Stride
PIANO SONATA NO.7 “VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS” (1994/rev.1996, 2013)
PIANO SONATA NO.8 “IL TRIONFO DELLA FOLIA” (1997/2013)