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Hugh Aitken & Seattle Symphony

Hugh Aitken

Although he had been composing since early high school, Hugh Aitken studied

chemistry for two years at New York University, not being sure that his

career would be in music. He volunteered for the Army Air Corps in 1943,

serving as a navigator on B-17ıs flying out of Italy. After the war he

entered The Juilliard School of Music, studying composition with Bernard

Wagenaar, Vincent Persichetti and Robert Ward, graduating in 1950.

He retired two years ago from the faculty at William Paterson University in

New Jersey. Before that he had taught for twenty years at Juilliard, where

he first met Gerard Schwarz, who was a trumpet major at the time. Their

first collaboration was a quintet for trumpet and string quartet which Schwarz

played several times with the Concord String Quartet and other quartets.

Besides the works on this disc, Schwarz has conducted Aitkenıs first Violin

Concerto, also with Elmar Oliveira as soloist, and most recently, the

premiere performances of his Symphony (1998). Greenwood Press has published

Aitkenıs The Piece As A Whole, a book exploring the relationships between

musicıs technical procedures and itıs expressive character. The composer lives in

Oakland, New Jersey with his wife Laura Isabel Tapia, who wrote the libretto

for his opera Felipe. He has supplied the following comments for the works

on this recording:

Aspen Concerto

This, my second violin concerto, was requested by Joseph Anton Swensen who

gave the first performance on August 9, 1989 at the Aspen Music Festival

with the Aspen Sinfonia conducted by Peter Jaffe. I am grateful to Swenson

for having made the felicitous suggestion that I write several sections in which

he would engage in chamber-music like colloquies with solo players from the

orchestra. It is a special treat to have a violinist as fine as Oliveira

take up the piece anew. Beyond that, I will let the music speak for itself.

Rameau Remembered

This work was requested by Gerard Schwarz for the opening concert of the

White Mountains Festival on August 7, 1980 in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

When Schwarz suggested that I write some sort of transcription for flutist

Julius Baker and chamber orchestra, I was delighted. I have long loved the

delicious music of Rameau, some of which I had used in my chamber opera

Fables, so I jumped at the opportunity to give myself the pleasure of making

an entire piece which would be an homage to his music. Most of the material

I use is from his opera Castor and Pollux. From Les Indes Galantes I chose a

loure and the air for the African slaves. (no political content here at

all.) The changes I have made were dictated by fancy. Some sections remain

more or less as Rameau wrote them, others take unexpected harmonic or

rhythmic turns. Metric changes are common, and I see these as an extension

of Rameauıs own use of irregular phrase-lengths. Although the old regime in

France had little to recommend it other than itıs arts, language and

cuisine, some of itıs music demonstrates the wondrous potential of the arts

to transcend their period and live a new life through new participants. Vive

Rameau! The work was

commissioned by David S. Dana, then president of the White Mountains Center

for the Arts, in memory of Charles A. Dana and in honor of Eleanor Nell


In Praise of Ockeghem

In Praise of Ockeghem was commissioned by the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation

for the renaissance band Calliope, which first performed it on October 27,

1977 at Kaufman Concert Hall in New York City. Written for

specialized players on a variety of period instruments, it was not likely to

receive as many performances as I would have liked, so I transcribed it for

strings. This version was first performed by Gerard Schwarz and the Y

Chamber Orchestra (now the New York Chamber Symphony) in Avery Fisher Hall

at Lincoln Center in New York on October 22, 1982. There is also a

transcription for organ, published by ECS Music in Boston.

Johannes Ockeghem was a Flemish composer who flourished in the French court

and chapels in the mid-fifteenth century. His music is like no other,

often written for five voices in their lowest ranges. The counterpoint is

usually intricate and sophisticated, avoiding the relatively banal imitative

entries and clear cadences so widely used later by men such as Josquin and

Palestrina. The melodic lines grow like, unpredictable

and darkly beautiful. About a minute into the piece I have quoted the brief

first Kyrie from his Missa Sine Nomine, so called because it makes no use of

previously composed melodies, after which a mass was usually named.

Fragmented phrases from the Gloria of the same mass appear later, as do

phrases from the Missa Mi-Mi and the opening of the secular work Ma Bouche

Rit. Other than that, the music is ³my own². No worthy piece of music is

wholly the composerıs ³own². Our taste, imagination and intuition have all

been shaped and colored by the music we have grown up with; this is how our

predecessors share in our compositional labors. Some composers have chosen

to avoid this by the use of aleatoric or

serial procedures but I have always rejoiced in and drawn strength from the

knowledge that I was part of an ongoing, essentially social enterprise.

My thanks go to David S. Dana for substantial support toward the production

of this recording, as well as to Dr. Fernando Tapia.

­Hugh Aitken


Elmar Oliveira

Elmar Oliveira has taken his place as one of the

most commanding violinists of our time, with his

unsurpassed combination of impeccable artistry and old-world elegance. Mr.

Oliveira is one of the few major artists committed to the entire spectrum of

the violin world, constantly expanding traditional repertoire boundaries as

a champion of contemporary music and development of the young artists of

tomorrow, and enthusiastically supporting the art of modern violin and bow


Among his generationıs most honored artists, Elmar Oliveira remains the

first and only American violinist to win the Gold Medal at Moscowıs

Tchaikovsky International Competition. He is also the first violinist to

receive the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, in addition to capturing First

Prizes at the Naumburg International Competition and the G.B. Dealey


Mr. Oliveira has become a familiar and much-admired figure at the worldıs

foremost concert venues. His rigorous international itinerary includes

appearances in recital and with many of the worldıs greatest orchestras,

including the Zurich Tonhalle, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Leipzig Gewandhaus

Orchestras; the New York, Helsinki, Los Angeles and London Philharmonic

Orchestras; and the San Francisco, Baltimore, Saint Louis, Boston,

Indianapolis, Oregon, Vancouver, Taiwan and Chicago Symphonies, and the

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He has also extensively toured the Far East,

South America, Australia, New Zealand, and regularly performs at the Mostly

Mozart, Seattle, Grant Park, Blossom, and Chautauqua summer music festivals.

Mr. Oliveiraıs repertoire is among the most diverse of any of todayıs

preeminent artists. While he has been hailed for his performances of the

standard violin

literature, he is also a much sought-after interpreter of the music of our

time. He has premiered works by such distinguished composers as Morton

Gould, Ezra Laderman, Charles Wuorinen, Joan Tower, Krzystof Penderecki,

Andrzej Panufnik, Benjamin Lees, Nicholas Flagello, Leonard Rosenman, Hugh

Aitken, and Richard Yardumian. He has also performed seldom-heard concerti

by Alberto Ginastera, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Joseph Achron, Joseph Joachim,

and many others.

A prodigious recording artist, Elmar Oliveira is a two time Grammy nominee

for his CD of the Barber Concerto with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis

Symphony. His discography on Angel, SONY Masterworks, Artek, Vox, Delos,

IMP, Ondine, and Melodiya ranges widely from works by Bach and Vivaldi to

the present. His best selling new recording of the Rautavaara Violin

Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic (Ondine) won a Cannes Classical

Award and has appeared on Gramophoneıs ³Editorıs Choice² and other Best

Recordings lists around the world. Other recent recordings include the

Joachim Concerto ³in the Hungarian Manner² with the London Philharmonic

(IMP) and the Tower Concerto (written for him) with the Louisville Orchestra

(dıNote). Also recently released is the rarely heard Pizzetti and Respighi

sonatas (Artek), the Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String

Quartet, and the Lekeu Sonata (Biddulph), and soon-to-be-released recordings

include the Brahms and Saint-Saëns B minor Concerti with Gerard Schwarz and

the Seattle Symphony (Artek). Of great historical significance are two

unique projects: a major book and CDs released by Bein & Fushi of Chicago,

featuring Mr. Oliveira

performing on some of the worldıs greatest violins (fifteen Stradivaris and

fifteen Guarneri del Gesus), and a recording of short pieces highlighting

the rare violins from the collection of the Library of Congress.

The son of Portuguese immigrants, Mr. Oliveira was nine when he began

studying the violin with his brother John. He later continued his studies

with Ariana Bronne and Raphael Bronstein at the Hartt College of Music and

the Manhattan School of Music, where Mr. Oliveira also received an honorary

doctorate. He has served on the juries of some of the most prestigious


competitions, including the Montreal, Indianapolis, Naumburg, and Vianna da

Motta. He has appeared on international TV including Good Morning America,

CBS Sunday Morning, the Today Show, and A&Eıs Breakfast with the Arts among

others. The Prime Minister of Portugal recently awarded Mr. Oliveira the

countryıs highest civilian honor - The Order of Santiago. Elmar Oliveira

performs exclusively on an instrument known as the ³Stretton,² made in

1729-30 by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, and on an exact copy of that violin

made by Curtin and Alf in 1993.


Gerard Schwarz

Gerard Schwarz has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since 1985,

of the New York Chamber Symphony since 1976 and of New Yorkıs Mostly Mozart

Festival from 1982. Under his

leadership, he has amassed a vast recording profile of award winning albums

for the Seattle Symphony and has brought them to their new home in Benaroya

Hall in a gala concert on September 12, 1998; his

appearances with Mostly Mozart have continued their prestige as New Yorkıs

favorite summer festival and bought them a large television viewing audience

on the PBS network as well as an international profile with their tours; and

he has brought the New York Chamber Symphony from a fledgling organization

to a full concert season at Lincoln Centerıs Alice Tully Hall. He has

appeared as a guest conductor with the Washington Opera, the San Francisco

Opera, the Kirov Opera and the Seattle Opera as well as, most recently, in

Japan where he was Artistic Advisor to Tokyu Bunkamuraıs Orchard Hall from

1994 to 1997, in conjunction with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the current season Maestro Schwarz will conduct eleven subscription

series concerts in the Seattle Symphonyıs new home, Benaroya Hall, as well

as special concerts with soloists Mstislav Rostropovich and Itzhak Perlman

and five

concerts in the ³Musically Speaking² series. He will present the world

premiere of David Diamondıs A Gala Celebration in the hallıs opening

concert, Bright Shengıs Spring Dreams with soloist Yo-Yo Ma, also in the

first weekıs celebrations, and new works by Francis Thorne, Henri Lazarof,

Hugh Aitken, David Stock and Samuel Jones, as well as music by Prokofiev,

Rachmaninov, Beethoven, R. Strauss and concert performances of Deems

Taylorıs opera Peter Ibbetson and the Verdi Requiem. His many recordings

with the orchestra have been devoted to music of American composers such as

Howard Hanson, Aaron Copland, Charles Griffes, Walter Piston, William

Schuman, Donald Hovhaness, David Diamond, Paul Creston, as well as music of

Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Bartok, Ravel, Schumann, Shostakovich and

Wagner, among others, and they have earned accolades and Best Classical

Album awards from Stereo Review Magazine, as well as more than ten Grammy

nominations. Their most recent releases have been an album of music by Sir

Andrzej Panufnik and one by Henri Lazarof on the JVC label, and the

Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 on Koch. He has recorded extensively with other

orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic,

London Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish and English Chamber Orchestras,

Mostly Mozart, New York Chamber Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

In the 1998-99 season Mr. Schwarz lead the New York Chamber Symphonyıs

opening concert at Alice Tully Hall on October 24 in a concert featuring the

world premiere of the Three Preludes for Orchestra by Michael Hersch, and he

lead a

second world premiere on March 13 of A Little Miracle by David Stock.

He first conducted the Mostly Mozart Festival in 1978, and since serving as

its Music Director from 1984, he has conducted a wide and varied repertoire

with the worldıs most distinguished soloists as guest artists, including

concert performances of many of Mozartıs rarely heard early operas. He has

brought Mostly Mozart as guests to the Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals and

annual tours of Japan, this

season being their eighth visit there. Live concerts with the Mostly Mozart

Festival have been frequently featured on the PBS Live from Lincoln Center


During the current season, he will also appear as a guest conductor with

numerous orchestras including, among others, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and

the Royal Liverpool Orchestra, and he will lead performances with the

Seattle Opera of Weberıs Der Freischütz.

Aside from his televised appearances with Mostly Mozart, Gerard Schwarz has

been seen in A Romantic Evening, a Northwest Regional Emmy Award winning

program from KCTS/Seattle, and two broadcasts of his acclaimed educational

concerts entitled Musically Speaking. Under this name, he has also initiated

an extensive series of over twenty educational CDs.

Gerard Schwarz made his debut as a conductor in 1966, and within ten years

he had been appointed musical director of the Erick Hawkins Dance Company,

the Eliot Feld Dance Company, the Waterloo Festival and the New York Chamber

Symphony, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 1981, he

established the Music Today contemporary music series, serving as its Music

Director until 1989. He first conducted opera with the Washington Opera at

the Kennedy Center in 1982 with Mozartıs Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, and

he has led performances since with the Seattle and San Francisco Opera,

Juilliard Opera Theater and the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburgıs historic

Mariinsky Theatre in works including all of the major Mozart operas,

Straussıs Elektra, Salome and Rosenkavalier, Beethovenıs Fidelio, Wagnerıs

Der Fliegende Holländer, Verdiıs La traviata, Janacekıs The Cunning Little

Vixen, Stravinskyıs Le Rossignol and Debussyıs Pelléas et Mélisande which he

conducted in Japan in May of 1998 with

immense success.

Mr. Schwarz was named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 1994, and

he has received the Ditson Conductorıs Award from Columbia University, an

honorary Doctorate of Music from the Juilliard School, as well as honorary

degrees from Farleigh Dickinson University, the University of Puget Sound

and Seattle University.


Scott Goff

The 1998-99 season marks Scott Goffıs 29th season as principal flutist of

the Seattle Symphony. Since 1983 he has also served as solo flutist with the

Mostly Mozart Festival at New York Cityıs Lincoln Center and with Tokyu

Bunkamura in Japan.

A frequent soloist for the Seattle Symphonyıs Masterpiece, Basically Baroque

and Chamber Music series, Mr. Goff has also appeared at the Mostly Mozart

Festival including performances

as featured soloist on PBSı Live from Lincoln Center telecasts.

A native of Tacoma, his early studies were with long-time Seattle Symphony

principal flutist Frank Horsfall, also the teacher of Chicago Symphony

principal flutist Donald Peck and University of Washington flutist Felix

Skowronek. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University

of Washington, Mr. Goff moved to New York City commencing graduate studies

at The Juilliard School of Music with renowned flutist Julius Baker. Upon

completion of his studies, Mr. Goff freelanced in New York for several years

before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony. He returned to Seattle at the

invitation of then Music Director Milton Katims. Mr. Goff is proud to have

both witnessed and

participated in the building of the Seattle Symphony to its current position

of international eminence.


Hugh Aitken

Aspen Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

[1] I. Vigoroso 6:27

[2] II. Tranquillo 8:32

[3] III. Adagio; Amabile 8:10

Rameau Remembered for Flute and Orchestra

[4] I. Overture 4:30

[5] II. Loure, Gavotte, Air 4:05

[6] III. Prelude, Minuet, Two Airs 7:17

[7] IV. Sad Preparations 3:08

[8] V. Two Passepieds, Tambourin 3:04

In Praise of Ockeghem for String Orchestra

[9] In Praise of Ockeghem 12:39

total time: 57:55


Producer: Adam Stern

Engineer: Albert G. Swanson, SMI Recording

Editing Engineer: Dmitriy Lipay, SMI Recording

Mastering: Laura Harth Rodriguez, Francisco X. Rodriguez

Graphic Design: Jim Manly, Judd Robbins

Cover Painting: ³Disintegration² by Leonardo Nierman

Special Thanks: David S. Dana, Dr. Fernando Tapia


Elmar Oliveira, Violin

Scott Goff, Flute

Gerard Schwarz, Conductor

Seattle Symphony


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