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Harold Schiffman:<br> Symphony & Concerti
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Harold Schiffman:
Symphony & Concerti
Harold Schiffman

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Track List
2. ii. Adagietto grazioso
3. iii. Allegro molto, con brio
6. ii. Lento
7. iii. Allegretto grazioso
9. .ii. Allegro--Andante teneramente

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Symphony (1961) received its first performance January 12, 1962, at The Florida State University, Tallahassee. Robert Sedore conducted the Florida State University Symphony. The following note by the composer is taken from the program for that concert.

To the serious composer of instrumental music, the symphony stands as the greatest challenge. Not until he has grappled with its demands has he fulfilled his apprenticeship. In the light of the most significant examples, from Haydn to the present, the symphony has developed as a structure monumental in scope and expression, inherently embracing movement and design organized on a large scale. It is such that the present work seeks to be.

Each of the four movements in this symphony expresses its own basic character and tempo. These serve to unify the diverse ideas within and, concurrently, to achieve contrast among the movements. While melodic and harmonic elements are, for the most part, highly chromatic, the work is tonally organized in terms of the key of C, implied from the outset and becoming increasingly explicit as the music progresses. Many of the important themes, especially at beginnings of movements and internal divisions, prominently delineate the interval of the perfect fourth or fifth, usually tonic with subdominant or dominant. The texture is often contrapuntally complex, and instrumental treatments range from full tutti to the most delicate sonorities involving solo instruments somewhat in the manner of chamber music.

The beginning Allegro appassionato is essentially a sonata movement. It treats principally the opening horn motif, which serves as a motto, in contrast and combination with a group of themes more lyrical in nature. The second movement, Adagietto grazioso, is intimate in character and develops long, continuously expanding melodic lines. The ensuing Allegro molto, con brio functions as a scherzo and is lighter in mood, with rather a burlesque quality. The finale opens with a broad introduction which prepares the march-like theme and variations with which the symphony closes.

The Concerto for Oboe d'Amore and String Orchestra was written in 1988 for Julie Ann Giacobassi and presented to her in October of that year as a wedding present. She gave the first performance in the Green Room, War Memorial Veterans Building, San Francisco, on March 4, 1990, with the ARTEA Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dusan Bobb. This piece completes a trilogy of concerti for members of the oboe family, the others being the Concertino for Oboe and Chamber Ensemble (1977) and the Chamber Concerto for English Horn, Strings, and Winds (1986).

The oboe d'amore is pitched in A, a minor third below the conventional oboe, and thus roughly midway between that instrument and the English horn. It possesses much of the richness of tone associated with the English horn, but seems lighter and more flexible of articulation, thus lending itself to music of a dance-like character as well as that of an expressively lyrical nature. The music of this concerto partakes of both aspects of the instrument's personality in contrasting the strongly rhythmical outer movements with the plaintive song of the middle one.

The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was begun in the late fall of 1981. It was intended as a Christmas present for Jane Perry-Camp. However, the piece was not completed until January 18, 1982. The first performance took place on February 14, 1984, at The Florida State University School of Music's Opperman Music Hall. Jane Perry-Camp was the soloist with The Florida State University Chamber Orchestra (somewhat augmented for the occasion) conducted by Phillip Spurgeon.

Cast in a single, continuous movement, the composition comprises a number of contrasting sections. Nevertheless, the work can be said to be essentially monothematic. A moderately slow opening states the basic material from which the entire piece grows. This is followed by an Allegro which is developmental in character. Next comes a slower, lyrical section (Andante teneramente), somewhat in the manner of an intermezzo. The central portion of the concerto is a scherzo, complete with trio (Presto scherzando). A quieter, rather somber section (Adagio) follows, leading to the finale (Allegro vivo). Near the end, a cadenza for the piano recalls some earlier motifs before the orchestra joins the soloist in a spirited conclusion.

Extensive liner notes accompany the recording.

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