Chamber Music
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Old-fashioned romanticism.

Stephen Dankner attended New York University, Queens College and the Juilliard School where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts. His principal composition teachers were Roger Sessions and Vincent Persichetti. To date he has composed more than 50 works including music for synthesizers, computers and solo instruments. Currently he is Chairman of the Music Department of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, an arts high school in New Orleans and also teaches both undergraduate and graduate advanced music theory, composition and electronic-computer music at Loyola University's College of Music. About Songs of Bygone Days Dankner writes: "The lyrics of the five songs that comprise this cycle of songs for soprano and baritone were assembled from songs that were successful in the 1890s. The idea of composing new music to popular song lyrics nearly 100 years old intrigued me, as it offered the possibility of merging the popular idiom of the past with a contemporary approach to song composition. Such a style could at the same time borrow from a previous commercial formula yet infuse it with an enriched scope of expression through the more elaborate melodic and harmonic treatment found in concert music." Mr. Dankner carries out his ideas beautifully in these tuneful, accessible songs. "The conception for my Piano Sextet originated from a desire to return to purely instrumental composition after a period of time in which I had composed mainly electronic music." In this music Dankner has created a big, bold, romantic work, worthy of the name sextet.
Stephen Dankner, composer
Song of Bygone Days
Ellen Frohnmayer, soprano, Philip Frohnmayer, baritone, H. McCracken, piano

Stephen Dankner, composer
Piano Sextet
Valerie Poullette, Eric Tanner, violin, Michael Gyurik, viola, Allen Nisbet, cello, Robert Kassinger, contrabass, Logan Skelton, piano

"...The piano sextet reveals Dankner as a composer on his own, but the impression of the 1890s remains. This is a huge (46:36) late-Romantic work with dense textures of a strongly chromatic flavor which occasionally bursts the bounds of chamber music...Given Dankner's choice of style, I must admit that he does it well; he has a knack for striking phrase-openings, and these lengthy movements hold my interest and grow on me with repeated hearings." (Fanfare)
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