A. Louis Scarmolin in Retrospect: Salon and Chamber Music

A. Louis Scarmolin in Retrospect: Salon and Chamber Music

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Anthony Louis Scarmolin spent the majority of his long life in New Jersey, composing small, pedagogical piano pieces at a furious rate for a variety of publishers and teaching music at a local high school. Scarmolin also created a wealth of serious music, most of which was never heard in his lifetime. MSR Classics' A. Louis Scarmolin: Salon and Chamber Music is

Overview

Anthony Louis Scarmolin spent the majority of his long life in New Jersey, composing small, pedagogical piano pieces at a furious rate for a variety of publishers and teaching music at a local high school. Scarmolin also created a wealth of serious music, most of which was never heard in his lifetime. MSR Classics' A. Louis Scarmolin: Salon and Chamber Music is a career-spanning survey that includes chamber pieces composed from 1907 to roughly 1963. It reveals a diverse musical voice, but one tempered by discipline, high musical standards, a natural inventiveness, and stylistic preferences that can easily be equated with Scarmolin's peers among American composers. A. Louis Scarmolin: Salon and Chamber Music includes two string quartets, a quintet, and several pieces for violin and piano. Some of the violin music shows an affinity with the work of Fritz Kreisler, and as such, may be considered as "salon music," although it is of such high quality that this should not be viewed as a negative qualification. 1907's "Una Discussione" is a different matter, however -- while it retains many of the gestures and contours associated with the salon genre, it does not settle into a key, and moves sinuously through a number of distantly related harmonic fields. Scarmolin was one of maybe a half-dozen composers worldwide to write atonal music before Arnold Schoenberg formally introduced this style in 1908, and when one considers he was all of 16 years old at the time, it seems not only revolutionary, but also "impossible." In addition to that, unlike Charles Ives, Scarmolin's piece was published at the time by a vanity press in his native Italy! The larger chamber pieces included here were written after 1940. In some of the works from that time forward, Scarmolin began to take some elements of his early style back into his music, after a long period of avoiding it. The "Quartet for Strings" is an amazing work: big-boned, mellifluous, and 100 percent American. While informed to some degree by the neo-Classicism current in 1940, it also retains the influence of early 1900s Americans such as Arthur Farwell and Edward MacDowell. "Evocation: Allegro" is a stunningly beautiful piece from his last phase that easily rewards repeated listening, revealing new detail even though it's only seven minutes in length. The performances here are dedicated, and while at times one would like to hear more of a fluid, warm, and romantic sound from violinist Vladimir Tsypin, the overall impression is that A. Louis Scarmolin: Salon and Chamber Music successfully represents this fascinating composer, and serves as a more than adequate introduction to his work.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2005
Label:
Msr Classics
UPC:
0681585113523
catalogNumber:
1135

Tracks

  1. String Quartet No. 1
  2. Romance (Andante sostenuto), for string quartet
  3. Petite Mazurka de Concert (Moderato), for string quartet
  4. Valse caprice (Moderato), for string quartet
  5. String Quartet No. 2
  6. Evocation (Allegro), for string quartet
  7. Una Discussione, for string quartet
  8. Quintet: In Retrospect (Con un po di moto), for string quartet
  9. Remembrance (Moderato), for string quartet
  10. Strephon - Pastoral Dance (Allegro vivace), for string quartet
  11. Melodie d'amour (Andante molto sostenuto), for string quartet

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