Chamber music by
Richard Wilson -
'... uniformly excellent to hear ...'
This disc is Albany Records's latest release dedicated to the distinctive chamber music of American composer Richard Wilson (born 1941). Educated at Harvard and Rutgers Universities, he has taught at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York since 1966 and has been an active composer and musician in the New York City area. In addition to his compositional work, he is a pianist, performing often in both his own works and chamber music with piano from the standard repertoire. His music has been performed throughout the world, and he has received commissions from numerous ensembles, solo performers, and foundations.
Wilson has also served for a number of years as composer-in-residence to the American Symphony Orchestra (Leon Botstein, music director). In that capacity, Wilson gives a series of extensive pre-concert lectures for every subscription concert of the orchestra, and is also active in the yearly Bard Summer Music Festivals, which involve the ASO. Wilson is thus a musician who does not shy away from true and meaningful audience communication -- both through his lectures and likewise through his own compositions.
This most recent disc contains chamber works performed by musicians with whom Wilson has had a number of meaningful collaborations. The three main performers (violin, cello, and piano) have performed together frequently as a trio. The disc contains pieces from the 1980s through to some of his most recent music. Wilson's language utilizes a fully chromatic musical palate with active rhythmic textures and contrapuntal interplay. In this sense, it falls within the American modernist tradition. However, unlike some music of this sort, the sonic surface is always quite transparent and highly intelligible. Furthermore, his pieces are structured in readily understandable shapes, and material is developed in creative, yet audible manners.
Copyright © 3 July 2005
Carson P Cooman, Rochester, NY, USA