Chamber Music of Robert Ward
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Ward's warm, nostalgic all-American sounds.

Echoes of America was commissioned by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild in celebration of Robert Ward's 80th birthday. Jimmy Gilmore, the clarinetist for the piece, responded to the idea of a title for the trio with Echoes of America. He felt that each of the four movements related to some aspect of American musical culture in the southeastern part of the country. The work was completed in June 1997. About Appalachian Ditties and Dances the composer writes: "This work reflects the interest I have had in American folk music in general since the 1950's and in Appalachian music in particular since the 1970's when my wife and I had a second home in Sparta, North Carolina. The richness and vitality of that music is unparalleled by that of any other region of the country. The mountain folk are a singing people and the tunes are an inspiration or a solace for a wide spectrum of human feeling." The Raleigh Divertimento was commissioned by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild for the Aspen Wind Quintet. "My great fascination with the beauties and difficulties of writing for the medium dates from the late 1940's when I coached woodwind ensembles at the Juilliard School. The creation of the work started with the melodies inspired by the sounds of the instruments." Lamentation first appeared as "Of Ancient Guilt" for piano and dancer and is dedicated to dancer Judith Martin who commissioned it and gave the first performance in 1947 at the Studio Theater in New York. Scherzo, which is frequently performed with Lamentation, was first performed in 1951 at the Peabody Conservatory by William Crystal. Dialogues for Violin, Cello and Piano first appeared as Dialogues for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, written on commission from the Chattanooga Symphony for its 50th anniversary season, 1982-83. The Chamber version of the work was premiered at Duke University on February 4, 1984.
Contents:
Robert Ward, composer
Echoes of America
Aurora Musicalis

Robert Ward, composer
Appalachian Ditties & Dances
Stephen Shipps, violin, Eric Larsen, piano

Robert Ward, composer
Raleigh Divertimento
Aspen Wind Quintet

Robert Ward, composer
Lamentation
Eric Larsen, piano

Robert Ward, composer
Scherzo
Eric Larsen, piano

Robert Ward, composer
Dialogues for Violin, Cello, and Piano
Amadeus Trio

Review:
"Born in Cleveland in 1917, Robert Ward has had a long and distinguished career. He studied at Eastman with Hanson and Rogers and later with Copland, then taught at Columbia and Juilliard before becoming President of the North Carolina School of the Arts and after that a professor at Duke. His music - there are seven operas, six symphonies, many big choral works, and much else - is tonal, melodic, straightforward, optimistic, "American" - very much in the lineage of Piston, Hanson, and Diamond, if not quite matching their individuality or accomplishment....This new anthology gathers six mostly fairly recent pieces: a trio for clarinet, cello, and piano titled Echoes of America; Appalachian Ditties and Dances for violin and piano; Raleigh Divertimento for wind quintet; Dialogues for piano trio; and two piano solos. The best (and, at 25 minutes, biggest) thing here is Echoes of America. As the title suggests, Echoes uses popular and folk sources....These inspire four contrasting movements that combine relaxed tunefulness, sprightly rhythms, and Brahmsian harmonic fullness." (American Record Guide)
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