Time for a George Walker boxset!

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Time for a George Walker boxset!

Post by piston » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:24 pm

Albany Records has issued no less than 16 CDs featuring American composer George Walker (b. 1922). At first, the label appeared more interested in George Walker the pianist than the composer. But once he won the Pulitzer for his Lilacs for voice and orchestra, in the late nineties, the label truly championed his works and, it so happened, the octogenarian composer was seemingly completing more pieces than he had ever done before! I bet that if Albany worked on a "complete edition" it would total a good twenty CDs or more.

Walker basically learned piano in the US and orchestration in France. He was another Boulanger student whose orchestral and choral apprenticeship was mostly completed across the pond. He achieved a lot of "firsts" as an African-American composer (first Ph.D., first tenured job, first Pulitzer prize, etc.) but his main goal was always to get his music performed and heard by the American public. That goal, long a source of frustration, has only been achieved via this label and a few additional recordings on other labels, in recent years:

Troy 117:
Walker plays Scarlatti, Beethoven, Schubert, George Walker (sonata for piano no. 1 (1953)), Chopin and Brahms.
Image

Troy 136:
Five fancies for clarinet and piano (1974) Vivian Taylor (Piano), Eric Thomas (Clarinet), John McDonald (Piano)
Antifonys for chamber orchestra (1968) Paul Freeman, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Variations for Orchestra (1971) Paul Freeman, Royal Phil. O.
Cantata for soprano, tenor, boys' choir and chamber orchestra (1982) Joyce Mathis (Soprano), Dr Walter Turnbull (Tenor) Warren Wilson Orchestra of St. Luke's, Harlem Boys Choir
Three pieces for organ (early sixties) Mickey Thomas Terry (Organ)
An Eastman Overture (1982) David Effron, Eastman Philharmonia, New Philharmonia Orchestra
Image

Troy 154:
Sonata no. 2 for piano (1956), George Walker, piano.
Sonata for Cello and Piano (1957), Italo Babini, cello, George Walker, piano.
Poem for soprano and chamber ensemble (1986), Janet Rowe, soprano, Capitol Chamber Artists, Angello Frascarelli.
Sonata for Violin and Piano, no. 1 (1959), Gregory Walker, violin, George Walker, piano.
Music for Brass (Sacred and Profane) (1975), American Brass Quintet.
Image

Troy 252: Walker plays Bach, Schumann, Chopin and Poulenc.
Image

Troy 270:
Serenata for Chamber Orchestra (1983)
Lyric for Strings (1946)
Poeme for violin and orchestra (1991), Gregory Walker, violin.
Orpheus for Chamber Orchestra (1994)
Folk Songs for Orchestra (1990)
Edwin London, Cleveland Chamber Symphony
Image

Troy 411: Walker plays Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy and Liszt.
Image

Troy 593: Walker plays Schumann, Debussy, Walker (prelude and caprice), Rachmaninoff, Chopin.
Image

Troy 697:
Songs: In Time of Silver Rain, I Never Saw a Moor, Mother Goose, Response, Softly, Blow Lightly, Wild
Nights, Mary Wore Three Links of Chain, Patricia Green, mezzo-soprano, George Walker, piano.
Modus for Chamber Ensemble (2000), Tara O'Connor, flute, Robert Ingliss, oboe, William Anderson, guitar, Oren Fader, guitar, Calvin Wiersma, violin, Susannah Chapman, cello.
Prayer (1996), Trent Johnson, organ.
Improvisation on St. Theodulph, Trent Johnson, organ.
Spires (1998), Trent Johnson, organ.
(includes Walker's performance of Liszt's Sonetto del Petraca 104, Valse Oubliée no. 1 and of Chopin's Mazurka in C, op. 33, no2, Mazurka in D flat, op. 30, no.3, Mazurka in f minor, op. 63, no. 2, Etude in G flat, op. 10, no. 5, Scherzo in E, op.54)
Image

Troy 880:
Lyric for Strings (1946) Son Sonora String Quartet.
Perimeters for Clarinet and Piano (1963), Scott Anderson, clarinet, Robert Pollock, piano.
Canvas for Wind Ensemble, Voices and Chorus (2000) North Texas Wind Symphony and A Cappella Choir, Jonathan Howell, tenor, Eugene Corporon, conductor.
(includes Walker's performance of Franz Liszt's Piano Sonata in B Minor)
Image

Troy 1061:
Address for orchestra (1959; rev. 1995)
Overture: In praise of folly, for orchestra (1980)
Sinfonia no. 1 (1984)
Sinfonia no. 3 (2002)
Hoopla (A Touch of Glee), for orchestra (2006)
Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia
Image

Troy 1082:
String Quartet no. 1 "Lyric" (1946) Son Sonora Quartet.
String Quartet no. 2 (1967-68) Son Sonora Quartet.
Piano Sonata no. 4 (1985) Frederick Moyer, piano.
Take, O Take Those Lips Away, James Martin, baritone, G. Walker, piano.
Lament, James Martin, baritone, G. Walker, piano.
And Wilt Thou Leave Me Thus, James Martin, baritone, G. Walker, piano.
Song Without Words, James Martin, baritone, G. Walker, piano.
Image

Troy 1178:
Concerto for violin and orchestra (2008), Gregory Walker, violin.
Sinfonia no. 2 (1992)
Foils for orchestra (Homage à Saint-Georges) (2006)
Pageant and Proclamation, for orchestra (1997)
Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia
Image

Troy 1334:
Icarus in Orbit, sinfonia da camera (2002)
Concerto for piano and orchestra (1975), Rachel Sennet, piano
Abu for Narrators and Chamber Ensemble (2003), Richard Herrera, Yvonne Gonzales Redman, narrators
Dialogues for cello and orchestra (1976), Dimitri Kouzov, cello
Da Camera for piano trio, harp, celesta, string orchestra, and percussion (2008)
Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia Image

Troy 1370:
Piano Sonata no. 3 (1975), Leon Bates, piano.
Music for 3, piano, cello, violin (1970/1991) Ritz Chamber Players.
Songs: The Bereaved Maid, Hey Nonny No, Sweet, let me go, So We'll Go No More A-Ro, With Rue my Heart is Laden, Wild Nights, What if I Say I Shall Not Wait, I Have No Life But This, Bequest, I Went to Heaven, Response, A Red Red Rose, In Time of Silver Rain, Leaving, Ev'ry Time I Feel De Spirit, I Got a Letter from Jesus, Mary Wore Three Links of Chain, Alison Buchanan, soprano, George Walker, piano.
Bleu for Unaccompanied Violin, Gregory Walker, violin.
Piano Sonata no. 5 (2003), Robert Pollock, piano.
Image

Troy 1430:
Sinfonia no. 4 (Strands) (2012)
Antifonys for Chamber Orchestra (1968)
Lilacs for voice and orchestra (1995), Albert Lee, tenor.
Movements for cello and orchestra (2012), Dmitri Kousov, cello.
Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Varsovia
Image

Troy 1447:
Mass (1977), Claudia Lindsay, soprano, Norma Hirsch, alto, William Brown, tenor, Abraham Lind-Oquendo, baritone, Morgan State College Choir, Baltimore S.O., Bergiu Comissiona
Psalm 117, Morgan State College Choir, Nathan Carter.
Psalm 96, Morgan State College Choir, Nathan Carter. (includes Walker's piano performance of Johannes Brahms Concerto for Piano No. 2 with the Eastman Phil. O., Howard Hanson)
Image
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17621
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Time for a George Walker boxset!

Post by Lance » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:19 pm

I just checked my own CD catalogue and didn't find anything by George Walker ... quite a few other Walkers, however. I know not his work, but I am intrigued by what he has committed to disc insofar as his piano artistry is concerned in standard classical literature. In what style might his compositions (for the most part) be compared to stylistically?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: Time for a George Walker boxset!

Post by piston » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:17 am

Hard to be any more specific than to refer to Walker as a modernist who balks at being identified with any school of thought. Let's remember that he has been composing music for seventy years! I'd say that his early music (e.g., the popular Lyric for Strings) sounds to me like Barber's and that he composed some works in the fifties that seem to be neo-classical, but he rejects these kind of comparisons. He was influenced, partly, by Stravinsky but takes issue with the dryness of some of Stravinsky's post-WWII music, such as his Orpheus. Music "must breathe," he states, adding that E. Carter failed to make his music "breathe" at the end of his long career. Like Hindemith, his "style" often varies depending on the instrumentation or type of work and he is more dedicated to challenging musicians, including his son violinist Gregory Walker, than to please the public who has become so much polluted by all kinds of music.

He is a modernist who has always rejected formalized compositional systems and still searches to find, through his writings, "something new that has never been done."
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17621
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Time for a George Walker boxset!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:55 pm

Excellent points. I shall try to listen to one of his compositions.
piston wrote:Hard to be any more specific than to refer to Walker as a modernist who balks at being identified with any school of thought. Let's remember that he has been composing music for seventy years! I'd say that his early music (e.g., the popular Lyric for Strings) sounds to me like Barber's and that he composed some works in the fifties that seem to be neo-classical, but he rejects these kind of comparisons. He was influenced, partly, by Stravinsky but takes issue with the dryness of some of Stravinsky's post-WWII music, such as his Orpheus. Music "must breathe," he states, adding that E. Carter failed to make his music "breathe" at the end of his long career. Like Hindemith, his "style" often varies depending on the instrumentation or type of work and he is more dedicated to challenging musicians, including his son violinist Gregory Walker, than to please the public who has become so much polluted by all kinds of music.

He is a modernist who has always rejected formalized compositional systems and still searches to find, through his writings, "something new that has never been done."
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: Time for a George Walker boxset!

Post by piston » Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:47 pm

Do try his Lyric for Strings. If it's not Barber, it's the same story as his Adagio for Strings: Walker revised the second movement of his first string quartet for a chamber orchestra. You might also like his first Sonata for violin and piano. He did not keep any symphony from his earlier period; his four sinfonias come from the middle and the latter part of his career.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 29 guests