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HAROLD SCHIFFMAN, STEVEN STRUNK, MARILYN ZIFFRIN, MAX LIFCHITZ, ROBERT MARTIN
Max Lifchitz, Conductor, North/South Chamber Orchestra
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The resourcefulness and creativity displayed by the five compositions featured on this album will immediately impress and delight the listener. Appearing on record for the first time, these works attest to the skill and vitality evinced in America's contemporary music scene. Similarly, the expertly recorded performances brandish the dazzling virtuosity of the New York City based musicians who perform under the auspices of North/South Consonance.
A post-modernist outlook connects the five distinctive compositions. Schiffman's attractive contrapuntal writing employs rustic melodies instilled with an Appalachian flavor. Strunk's experience as a jazz pianist underscores his use of the electric bass as well as his penchant for abstract, jazz-derived gestures. Ziffrin's straightforward lyrical simplicity is both moving and disarming. While my composition could easily be considered an intensely personal response to the violence inherent in conflict, Martin based his expansive work on a war-inspired painting by Arshile Gorky, the American from Armenia whose life was deeply affected by tragedy. Prior to their being recorded, all the compositions were introduced to the New York public as part of North/South Consonance's concert series at Christ and St Stephen's Church on Manhattan's West Side.
The heartbreaking news concerning the sudden passing of Steven Strunk reached me as work on this recording project was almost concluded. We met in 1967 while studying at The Juilliard School. I sincerely hope this album will commemorate his vast musical achievements while keeping his music alive.
As with all the recordings on the North/South label, great care was taken to preserve the integrity of the concert hall ambiance when this album was recorded and mastered. Indeed, the listener will find that the natural resonance of the concert hall and the music's wide dynamic range were captured successfully. Please use a moderate volume setting when playing this disc.
New York; February 2012
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