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PETER DICKINSON listens to the music of Elliott Schwartz


<< Continued from page 2

It's impossible to do justice to the piece with a short extract - it takes time to set up the frame of reference - but here's some of the quoted material as it appears later on leading to a climax with triads [listen - example 1 - 'Tapestry', track 1, 11:12-12:01]. 'Phoenix' is for bassoon and piano and arises from images of rebirth as well as connections to another earlier piece. There's more quotation this time - of music associated with smoke and fire. At the start there's the opening of Stravinsky's 'Firebird' disguised on muted piano then a phrase from Kern's 'Smoke gets in your eyes' [listen - example 2 - 'Phoenix', track 2, 00:00 - 00:58].

You get the idea of how the composer's mind works - and there's much more later, although the composer gives no hints in the CD booklet. Quotation is again a feature of 'Vienna Dreams' for violin, clarinet and piano, which is based on specific works by Mozart, Schubert and Brahms well in the foreground. There's no need to know the actual pieces but, as in Ives, there's some enrichment to be gained from tracing the shifts in and out of focus, rather like knowing when the development section starts in a sonata-form movement. Here's Schwartz close to his models, mixing them up and periodically slapping them in the face with a note-cluster on the piano [listen - example 3 - 'Vienna Dreams', track 3, 1:42-2:03].

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Copyright © 18 June 2000 Peter Dickinson, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK





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