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Press Releases

BMOP/sound Releases Two Albums This Month by Samuel Barber and Walter Piston

June 22, 2021 | By AMT PR | April Thibeault | april@amtpublicrelations.com

 

Samuel Barber: Medea

Composer: Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

Release Date: June 22, 2021

TRT: 52:50

Works: Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (1947), Medea (Complete Original Ballet) (1947), A Hand of Bridge (1959)

Performers: Matthew DiBattista (tenor), Angela Gooch (soprano), David Kravitz (baritone), Krista River (mezzo-soprano), Kristen Watson (soprano), and Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) led by Gil Rose (conductor)

 

Walter Piston: Concert for Orchestra

Composer: Walter Piston (1894-1976)

Release Date: June 22, 2021

TRT: 49:41

Works: Variations on a Theme by Edward Burlingame Hill (1963), Divertimento for Nine Instruments (1946), Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1967), Concerto for Orchestra (1933)

Performers: Michael Noseworthy (clarinet) and Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) led by Gil Rose (conductor)

Boston, MA (For Release 06.22.21) — Known as the nation’s foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music, Grammy Award-winning BMOP/sound today announced the release of two albums: Samuel Barber: Medea and Walter Piston: Concerto for Orchestra. Both Barber and Piston were among the first generation of American symphonists who established their reputations as significant composers on the world stage. Featuring performances by the intrepid Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) led by conductor Gil Rose, these albums give listeners the opportunity to hear two Pulitzer Prize-winning mid-twentieth century American composers who both preserved and developed their individualities and musical voices.

Along with Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, Roy Harris, and William Schuman, Barber and Piston were pioneering twentieth-century American composers at a time when there was a great deal of interest in developing an American style of music. Piston, echoing the thought of Schoenberg, opined: the composer “must resist the temptation to follow this or that fashion. He must find what it is he wishes to say in music and how best to say it, subjecting his work to the severest self-criticism...Strength of will and faith in one's creative gift are essential. The composer must judge for himself in these matters, with self-reliance based on a thorough knowledge of his craft and a capacity for independent thinking as an individual creative artist." Barber practiced the same philosophy: “I’m not a self-conscious composer. I write for the present and I write for myself. I’m not an analyzer, and I don’t surround myself with other composers. It seems to me that the most practical thing is simply to write your music in the way you want to write it. Then you go out and find the interpreters who will give it voice. “

Barber’s most exquisite achievements were in the realm of vocal music, particularly the two vocal works on this album: Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and the chamber opera A Hand of Bridge. Knoxville is the first orchestral work for voice commissioned by an American singer. In 1947, Eleanor Steber asked Barber to write something for her voice and orchestra. A Hand of Bridge is one of many collaborations by Barber and his professional and personal partner, composer Gian Carlo Menotti. A witty nine-minute opera, it premiered at the 1959 Spoleto Festival in Italy, which Menotti founded the previous year. The recording’s capstone work is the complete original rendition of Medea, the ballet commissioned for the greatest choreographer/dancer at that time, Martha Graham.

Walter Piston: Concerto for Orchestra embodies what the composer is known for: well-conceived and consistent structure, with quintessentially neo-classical clarity and proportions. Piston’s authentically modernist style, infused with the wit and charm of his New England roots, shines through on this album. With a collection of works spanning four decades of composition, the largest and earliest composed of those is Piston’s Concerto for Orchestra (1933), recorded for the first time on this CD. The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its premiere performance, which Piston himself conducted.

 

About BMOP/sound  

BMOP/sound, BMOP’s independent record label, was created in 2008 to provide a platform for BMOP’s extensive archive of music, as well as to provide widespread, top-quality, permanent access to both classics of the 20th century and the music of today’s most innovative composers. BMOP/sound has garnered praise from the national and international press. It is the recipient of a 2020 Grammy Award for Tobias Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox as well as eight Grammy Award nominations, and its releases have appeared on the year-end “Best of” lists of The New York TimesThe Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Time Out New YorkAmerican Record GuideDownBeat, WBUR, NewMusicBox, and others. Admired, praised, and sought after by artists, presenters, critics, and audiophiles, BMOP and BMOP/sound are uniquely positioned to redefine the new music concert and recording experience. Launched in 2019, BMOP's digital radio station, BMOP/radio, streams BMOP/sound's entire catalog and airs special programming. BMOP.org

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