Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

PAUL CRESTON - A Bio-Bibliography
compiled by Monica J Slomski
Published by Greenwood Publishing Group
No.55 in the Bio-Bibliographies series
(full details and ordering specifics below)
AmazonUK £56.95 AmazonUS $76.50

Greenwood's bio-bibliographies are one of the glories of music publishing. The house specialises in the less-fêted composers and valuably fills gaps in the world's bookshelves. Greenwood do it with style and eminent judgement.

The book is robustly case-bound in darkened denim blue and produced on substantial grade high quality matte paper which is a pleasure to read. The font size is smaller than ideal though still comfortably legible. There is no dust-wrapper but the tough no-nonsense hardback with a gold outlined panel identifying composer and author (on the cover and spine) gives every indication of lasting for many a decade.

The bio-bibliography series follows a fairly common pattern: biography, list of works and notable performances, discography, bibliography, alphabetical and chronological lists of works - all thoroughly indexed.

Paul Creston was a twentieth century romantic in whose musical temperament met an altogether masculine panache and a more relaxed Delian - almost pre-Raphaelite tendency. The panache was often expressed through dance. Dance titles are not uncommon among his 151 compositions. The languorous tendency can be heard in all of them. It takes the gales out of his sails in the symphonies and for some the contrast between high summer drowsing and the charge of wintry chilliness can be too much to accept. The contemplative dionysian strain is evident from fellow Americans Edward Burlingame Hill, Griffes and Sowerby. The high voltage dynamism charges out at you from the pages of William Schuman, Leonard Bernstein and Peter Mennin.

Creston's many symphonic works are of enduring worth. The symphonies 2 and 3 have lived on because of the Westminster LP (Howard Mitchell conducting) and now continue with the Naxos CD (Theodor Kuchar conducting the Ukraine orchestra). However going by an archive recording of No. 1 this too is a major discovery. The two violin concertos are brief (20 mins or so) but they have much the same unleashed calorific and melodic value as the two Pistons (recorded by Naxos). James Buswell, who did brilliantly with Pistons, is a natural to record the Creston concertos. Creston's Sadhana is a passionate cello and orchestra piece written in his final years and this too richly merits a recording. It would go well with the fiddle concertos.

Creston is such a varied composer with an acute eye for opportunity. His concert pieces for marimba and accordion are testimony to a nice judgement as well as a real creative impulse.

Ms Shomski's industry is evident. She soundly delivers thorough worklists and what amounts to a directory of sources. This librarian's attention to detail has its virtues but a juicy richness is added by Shomski's 13 page biography based on interviews with Creston, published sources and family archives. Browsing among the long list of published sources brings its own revelations and perspectives. Each entry, besides giving title of volume and article, page number, dates and author etc gives a thumbnail sketch of the content of the review and often a quotation. The heavy peppering of press references, culled by the composer from a cuttings agency, presented Shomski with some difficulties as page numbers and dates were sometimes omitted (poor service from any such agency). These have however been reconstituted from Ms Shomski's own no doubt arduous) research.

This is an extremely attractive volume and is THE companion for anyone setting out on the exciting pilgrimage through Creston's works.


Rob Barnett


Price $65.00

ISBN 0 313 25336 6

236 pp

Publ November 1994

order toll free 1 800 225 5800


Greenwood Publishing

88 Post Road West

Box 5007

Westport CT 06881

(203) 226 3571



The ordering information for the UK is as follows:

Available from Greenwood Publishers, C/o EDS, 3 Henrietta Street,
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In the USA and Canada the book is available from:
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Tel: (203) 226 3571.

Fax: (203) 222-1502.

Checks should be made payable to: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

The following credit cards are accepted: Visa, Mastercard, American Express.



Paul Creston
A Bio-Bibliography
Compiled by Monica J. Slomski
No. 55 (ISSN: 0742-6968)
Greenwood Press. Westport, Conn. 1994. 232 pages
LC 94-31649. ISBN 0-313-25336-6. SKP/ $65.00 (Reference Book)

** Description **

Although born Giuseppe Guttovergi to a poor, immigrant Italian family, it was as Paul Creston that Giuseppe rose to prominence, becoming one of the most widely performed American composers. Rhythm was a continued subject of research for this composer, and by 1945 he had established a terminology of rhythmic structures, which he observed both in his music and the music of other composers, even writing two books on the subject. This volume presents for the first time a complete descriptive account of the life of the composer, as well as access to currently available materials by and about him.

** Table of Contents **

-- Preface
-- Acknowledgments
-- Biography
-- Works and Performances
-- Discography
-- Bibliography
-- Appendix I: Alphabetical Listing of Compositions
-- Appendix II: Chronological Listing of Compositions
-- Index

** Author **

MONICA J. SLOMSKI is Head of Music Cataloging at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford.

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