Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


Donald HARRIS: Sonata 1957 – a documentary film by Daniel Beliavsky.
 
A number of years ago I wrote an ‘impressionistic’ essay [1] about the Piano Sonata, Op. 1 by Donald Harris (b.1931). In this I concentrated on the ‘sitz in leben’ of this work, which was the result of the composer’s sojourn in Paris whilst studying with Nadia Boulanger. It represented the beginnings of a variety of trajectories that were used by the composer over more than half-a-century of musical writing. The Sonata was most definitely a 12-tone serial work. However, the added value was that it had a significant degree of artistry and an obvious inspiration: it was not just a fabrication defined by the manipulation of sets and series.
 
The pianist, theorist, and musicologist Daniel Beliavsky has taken this Piano Sonata to his heart. Not only has he made a recording of the work but has also produced formal analyses of the piece. In 2011, he made a 50-minute documentary film entitled Sonata (1957).
 
Daniel Beliavsky has written the following note which is well worth quoting in full:-
 
During the summer of 2000, just after I graduated from college, I was invited to perform a solo recital at the Festival of the Hamptons on Long Island, NY. The festival’s director, Lukas Foss (1922-2009), prefaced the invitation with the condition that I play a piano sonata by Donald Harris (born 1931), his friend and colleague. I did, and then met Harris immediately following the recital. Although I met Harris in person, I had discovered him first through this music, his first professional composition finished in Paris in 1957. This Sonata is Harris’ first independently composed work, completed after he left Nadia Boulanger’s studio and before he began working with Max Deutsch. In Harris’ own words, he loved every note; he caressed every note, and he felt liberated to compose freely in a style of his own choosing after an unremarkable start with Boulanger.
 
Since that first performance, I have played the Sonata many times, and have even written analyses detailing the music’s intricate structures. More importantly, I have grown to love the piece. This film was born out of the desire to make intimate and understandable a music whose aesthetic is complex and whose language is atonal. I wished for the film not only to explain what circumstances lead Harris to compose the Sonata, but also to expose an audience to the work’s intellectual vigor and subtle emotional beauty. In effect, I hoped to make clear to an audience why this difficult and intricate music so captivated me. In these ways, the film is also an unfolding composition, one in which its uncommon protagonist, the Sonata itself, is gradually assembled from fragments into a complete, meaningful, and freshly interpreted performance.
 
There are three things that make this documentary a model of its kind. Firstly, Beliavsky has allowed a number of people to speak about their experiences of this music. Basically composer and performers are encouraged to discuss and debate the music and the background of the Sonata. Perhaps the most exciting part of the discussion is the portrait of the composer that is presented, complete with photographs taken at the time of his student days in Paris. But just as important are the views of Veronica Jochum, a pianist who made the second commercial recording [2] of this work after the late Geneviève Joy’s 1961 recording for the French Radio. Equally interesting are the contributions by Gunther Schuller, who has been a long-time friend and associate of the composer. Added to these views are the considerable insights of Beliavsky himself, who is the work's current champion.
 
Secondly, during the course of the documentary, Beliavsky gives an analysis of the work, supported by images of the score and musical examples played by himself. However this never sinks into mere cerebral pontification on complex musicological functions. There is a danger that any discussion of a ‘serial’ work will rely heavily on charts, lists and diagrams in order to elucidate the progress of the composition. Although the documentary is quite obviously aimed at musically literate viewers, it never crosses the boundary into sheer pretentiousness. And finally, a complete performance of this work is given at the end of the film. After the discussion and analysis it is necessary to hear the subject of the conversations.
 
I have not seen many ‘analytical’ films about music, although I have attended a few lectures and seminars. Not a few of these have been over-technical, beside the point and sometimes downright tedious. However, I believe that Daniel Beliavsky gets the balance absolutely right. At the end of the discussion I really wanted to hear the piece rather than switch the DVD player off!
 
The film is produced by Daniel Beliavsky and directed by Engin Ufuk Kaplan and Alexis Boling and was edited by Bodine Alex Boling. However it is not at present commercially distributed. Anyone interested in viewing this film, or making further inquiries about it is invited to write to the producer directly at his email address: opus1films@gmail.com
 
[1] http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2005/Aug05/Donald_Harris.htm
 
[2] Veronica Jochum New England Conservatory Recording Series, Volume 7. Includes Robert Schuman’s Piano Sonata No.1 in F sharp minor, Op.11, Quincy Porter’s Piano Sonata and Donald Harris Piano Sonata. Golden Crest NEC-107 (LP only)
 
© John France, July 2011


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.