Recent musical innovations have often been a reaction against the uncontrolled expansiveness so fashionable during the Romantic era. While composers in the 19th century overindulged in their penchant for writing voluminous works featuring gargantuan forces, a renewed interest in chamber music has been one of the hallmarks of contemporary times. The search for new timbres and textures has led to the use of unusual combinations of instruments with an emphasis on mixed ensembles comprising winds and strings. These combinations are often enriched by the addition of vocal lines, brass or keyboard instruments, or by incorporating a wide range of both standard and exotic percussion instruments into the ensemble. Recent public discussion has focused on the apparent failure of orchestras to maintain their musical and social relevance. Orchestral manifestations at the end of the 20th century stand in strong contrast with the vitality, originality and creativity evident in the chamber music featured on this recording. The listener will be pleasantly surprised by the diversity evident in the four recent compositions available on disc for the first time. Not only do these works represent a wide variety of aesthetic viewpoints, but each work successfully meets the compositional challenges posed by its chosen medium. Great care was taken to preserve the integrity of the concert hall ambiance when this recording was made. Indeed, you will find that we successfully captured both the natural resonance of the concert hall and the wide dynamic range of the music without distortion. Please use a moderate volume setting when you play this recording.
Max Lifchitz, New York; March, 1994