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Two by Three<br> (Music by Women)
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Two by Three
(Music by Women)

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6. Largo (after Bach)

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Stefania de Kenessey''s music is characterized by its tunefulness and sophistication. Her distinctive style fuses the homegrown and the foreign, drawing from sources as diverse as Eastern European folk music, Medieval polyphony and American popular music. In her works, diverse influences blend into a unique and strong personal voice avoiding post-modern mannerisms in favor of lyrical tunes, consonant harmonies and recognizable forms.

A native of Budapest, de Kenessey received her training at Yale and Princeton Universities, earning her doctorate in composition under the tutelage of Milton Babbitt. She is now a Professor of Music at the Eugene Lang College of the New School for Social Research in New York. Her creative endeavors have garnered repeated awards from ASCAP and Meet the Composer, Inc. Her compositions are published by Hildegard Press and Seesaw Music Corp. They are available on the Opus One, ERM and I Virtuosi record labels.

In addition to numerous solo and chamber works, de Kenessey''s recent successes include Jumping Jacks for chorus; Summer Nights and Wintersong, for orchestra; and The Monster Bed and The Other Wise Man, both one-act operas.

De Kenessey is the founder and director of The Derriere Guard, an alliance of traditionalist contemporary artists and architects, poets and composers. The First Derriere Guard Festival took place in March 1997 at The Kitchen in New York City, featuring cultural critic Tom Wolfe as its keynote speaker.

Sunburst takes its title from its bright, explosive opening theme. The single movement composition is clearly shaped in accordance with the principles of the Sonata-Allegro form. Contrasting themes in opposing keys are heard in the repeated exposition; they are transformed and manipulated throughout a lengthy development and finally, restated in the concluding recapitulation. Highly pianistic, the music provides the performer with ample opportunity for technical display. Written during the spring of 1993, the work was commissioned by Mary Kathleen Ernst. Under the auspices of the National Association of Composers, USA Ms. Ernst gave the New York premiere of the work in February 1994 at Carnegie Hall''s Weill Recital Hall.

As its name suggests, the music of Beating Down is forceful, persistent and rhythmically hard-driving. Scored for violin, cello and piano, the work is also cast in a modified Sonata-Allegro structure. A vigorous, insistent and rhythmically driving theme in C minor alternates with a lyrical secondary melody, returning with renewed force and explosiveness in the concluding section. The piece is drawn from an earlier, longer trio which received its first New York performance by the Casa Verde Trio. Revised in 1995, it appears for the first time in its present form as part of this recording.

Nancy Bloomer Deussen is a leader among the growing group of composers writing tonally oriented, eminently lyrical and highly accessible contemporary music. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Southern California, her composition instructors included Vittorio Giannini, Lukas Foss and Ingolf Dahl. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Bloomer Deussen is on the faculty of both, Mission College and Santa Clara University. She is the founder of the San Franciso Bay Chapter of the National Association of Composers, USA.

Ms. Bloomer Deussen''s compositions have been performed throughout the US and Canada by, among others, the Oakland and Palo Alto Chamber Orchestras, The Redlands Symphony, Virginia''s James Madison University Symphony, the Vermont Youth Symphony, the Baton Rouge Concert Band, the New England Philharmonic, the Gabrieli Brass, the Soundmoves Chamber Ensemble and the Santa Clara Chorale. She is the recipient of many awards including the first prize in the 1996 Britten-on-the Bay Composition Contest.

Her works are published by Brazinmusikanta, Freeland Music, Frank E. Warren/Earnestly Music and New Music Publications. Two of her chamber works, San Andreas Suite and One of Nature''s Majesties appear on an earlier volume released by North/ South Recordings (N/S-R 1012). Ascent to Victory, a new chamber orchestra work composed for the Special Olympics, will be released shortly on the BMS label.

Written in 1990, Two Pieces for Violin and Piano were composed for a Mu Phi Epsilon concert held in Palo Alto, CA. The first piece, Julia''s Song, is dedicated to the composer''s mother whom the composer lost at age five. A heartfelt lament, the music opens with a moving lyrical melody presented in the piano which is subsequently restated and developed by the violin. In contrast, the second piece Jubilate, is an affirmation of life and spirit representing uplifting sentiments associated with overcoming previous adversities.

Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano was composed on commission from the Bresquan Trio, the ensemble in residence at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. The work was premiered shortly after its completion in 1993 at the California Music Educators Association Conference held in Fresno. Since then, it has been performed frequently on both east and west coasts.

The first movement, marked Divertimento e canto, starts out with a sprightly theme which alternates between the string instruments and the piano. The middle section (subtitled canto) features a lyrical theme introduced by the cello which builds into a contrapuntal passage featuring also the violin. The movement ends by recalling the sprightly opening music.

The second movement Largo (after Bach) holds more of a spiritual connection to Bach than any actual musical similarity. The slow, winding contrapuntal themes reach a high musical climax before the movement settles on a quiet, serene note.

The closing movement In Movimento opens with a rising continual motion followed by an interplay between the three instruments. Its middle section begins with a bitonal duet between the cello and piano eventually imitated by the violin. A rousing finale brings the work to a close.

Beth Anderson is a critically acclaimed composer of neo-romantic music, text-sound compositions and musical theater events. Her principal teachers include John Cage, Terry Riley, Robert Ashley and Larry Austin. A native of Kentucky, Ms. Anderson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she attended Mills College and the University of California at Davis. She currently resides in New York City.

Active also as a writer, she became the founding editor of Ear Magazine: NY, a publication devoted to issues relevant to contemporary music and musicians. She also wrote music criticism for The Soho Weekly News and published in Heresies Magazine, Paid My Dues, American Women Composers'' News, and News of Music. Ms. Anderson has taught for the Greenwich House Music School, the College of New Rochelle, New York University, The New School for Social Research and the New York City Public School System.

A composer with a wide range of interests, Anderson''s oeuvre includes three Off-Broadway musicals, numerous dance scores, compositions for orchestra, tape and electronic pieces, music for chamber ensembles, vocal compositions and music for solo instruments. While her early works exhibited stylistic features usually described as post-Cageian and non-academic, her recent works are cast in a mold that is an amalgam of lyrical, quasi-romantic qualities and certain "cut-up" traits commonly found in minimalism. The Village Voice''s Kyle Gann described her music as sweetly melodic and sometimes repetitive of somewhere between minimalism and romanticism.

Ms. Anderson''s compositions have been performed by important soloists and ensembles including the Richmond Symphony, the Bratislava Radio Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, conductors Dennis Russell Davies and Tania Len, The Tango Project and baritone Thomas Buckner. Her works are available on the Opus One, Newport Classics and 1750 Arch labels. They are published by American Composers Editions and Joshua Corp./EMI.

Trio: dream in d for violin, cello and piano is based on a simple harmonic progression centered around the key of d minor. Almost rhapsodic in its conception, inspiration for the work came in a dream during a time the composer was very involved in collaborations with dancers. Folk-like melodies are accompanied by uncomplicated, straight-forward rhythmic motion. The harmony strongly suggests a rock ''n roll type of progression where the tonic is usually surrounded by chords built on the "flat sixth" and "flat seventh" degrees. The music moves inexorably into its climactic ending where several musical ideas heard previously in the piece return and are layered with one another as duple and triple meter compete. The work was completed in 1980 and was first performed by Andrew Bolotowsky, Carol Browning and the composer at the piano.

Net Work for solo piano consists of a series of rhythmic variations also based on a harmonic progression strongly modal in character. The progression hovers around a tonic—minor dominant— tonic progression. Its main melodic material is reminiscent of a Spanish folk melody. The introduction foreshadows the tonal centers of the subsequent seven variations while the meter constantly shifts among measures of different lengths. Originally commissioned by the Commotion Dance Company for contact-improvisation, it was revised in 1984 at the request of choreographer Donna Oberstein for Montclair State College.

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