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A concert of music by Connecticut Composers, Inc.

Cover Design: Canio La Salvas

Available at your favorite digital etailers
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Catalog Number: CPS-8650
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 66:31
Release Date: 1997

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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  William Penn
  1. Chamber Music II (8:06)
  Maya Beiser, cello
  Jeffrey Jamner, piano
  Stephen Grye
  Five American Portraits for Five Wind Instruments
  2. H. L. Mencken (2:47)
  3. John Cage (3:00)
  4. Henry Ford (1:15)
Edgar Allan Poe (2:52)
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  6. Theodore Roosevelt (2:44)
  Members of the Hartt Contemporary Players
  Douglas Jackson, director
  Alicia Di Donato, flute
  Brian Schallhavver, oboe
  David Dunn, clarinet
  Patrick Smith, horn
  Sue Black, bassoon
  Ken Steen
  7. While Conscience Slept (14:18)
  Greig Shearer, flute
  Ronald Krentzman, clarinet
  Jeffrey Krieger, electric cello
  Istvan B'Racz, MIDI keyboard system
  Michael Ersevim, conductor
  Robert Dix
  Lyric Quartet for Clarinet and Strings
  8. Vigorously (3:54)
  9. Slowly and tenderly (5:06)
  10. Boldly (7:03)
  Larry Guy, clarinet
  Eriko Sato, violin
  Ann Roggen, viola
  Daire Fitzgerald, cello
  Arthur Welwood
  The Breath Inside the Breath
  11. What comes out of the harp? (3:42)
  12. The woman who is separated from her lover (3:00)
  13. Friend, wake up! (2:38)
  14. The flute of interior time (3:24)
  15. Are you looking for me? (2:42)
  Kathryn Wright, soprano
  Matt Marruglio, flute
  Melissa Howe, viola
  Felice Pomeranz, harp


American Record Guide - November/December 2007 - by Jack Sullivan

"Each of these symphonic works by Connecticut composers has something special to offer. Robert Carl’s Death is a morbidly effective depiction of the planet earth in the death throes of global warming, evoking birds plummeting from empty skies. Elizabeth R. Austin’s Symphony No. 2:  Lighthouse is a misty, impressionist tone poem, with quotations from Debussy, Wolf, and Schubert. Allen Brings’s wistful, tightly unified Serenade was, in the composer’s words “written to give an untroubled piece to a troubled world.” This it does, admirably; it’s a serene, swaying piece with the feel of a real serenade, though not at all sentimental. Ken Steen’s Legacy, written in honor of the composer’s father (originally a song with a text by Rilke) is a lyrical string work, the most instantly likeable one on the program.

These are all Connecticut composers, and one is tempted to posit a Connecticut style: long lines, winter colors, cool lyricism. The performances, if not the last word in elegance, are highly communicative, especially the eloquent string orchestra in Legacy conducted by Marguerite Mullee."


Fanfare - November/December 1998 - by David Denton

"There are now more than 40 members of the Connecticut Composers, a nonprofit group that embraces a range of writers in diverse domains from classical to jazz, mostly working in a progressive idiom. Having formed the group in 1981, they have been able to combine their activities in promoting their music in public concerts and the media.

The present disc offers an opportunity to sample the chamber music of five of their members, all writing in a differing musical idiom and format. The elder statesman of the group is Robert Dix, now in his 80th year, though it was only in 1977 that life allowed him time to concentrate on composition. Unless you are devout modernist, his Lyric Quartet for Clarinet and Strings would make a good entry point into the disc. It is unashamedly melodic, the three movements simply reflecting their description - vigorously; Slowly and tenderly; Boldly. It is music that immediately delights the ear: Dix's thematic material is arresting, and his acute sense of tonal colors is always fascinating.

Arthur Welwood's song cycle for soprano and instrumental trio, The Breath Inside the Breath, is equally based on the conventional concept of melody, with strong influences from the Far East. He has used five ecstatic poems of the l5th~century poet Kabir in translations by the contemporary American poet Robert Bly. As the poems mention the flute and harp, Welwood has combined these with the viola to create an unusual instrumental accompaniment, the dark flowing tone of the viola set against the brittle quality of the harp.

The younger generation is represented by Ken Steen, with his view of the injustices that were part of life in the Caribbean islands pictured in While Conscience Slept. He contrasts the beauty of the country and the deep blue sea surrounding the islands with the racial brutality that existed there. The quartet certainly conveys the former aspects but fails to find the cruelty, as the fragile sound quality of the instruments is hardly capable of such a nerve-jangling impact.

Stephen Gryc was born in 1949, and currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at the Harit School of the University of Hartford. His pictures of five well-known names-H. L. Mencken, John Cage, Henry Ford, Edgar Allan Poe, and Theodore Roosevelt-are intended to be more conceptual than pictorial. Each person is represented by a wind instrument, from the dark and shadowy bassoon for Edgar Allan Poe to the triumphant horn to epitomize the achievements of Theodore Roosevelt. As modern fun pieces they work wonderfully, though, as Gryc admits, they equally emerge as sound pictures of the public concept of each instrument's personality.

The disc opens with the very dramatic Chamber Music II from William Penn. Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1943, he has written for Broadway, television, films, and has received awards both in the field of popular and serious music. Chamber Music II is a short but incredibly powerful Score for cello and piano that makes heavy demands on the virtuosity of the cellist but is a quite exciting experience for the listener.

The performances have the assured quality that is evidence of careful and dedicated preparation. Maya Beiser gives a particularly impassioned account of the Penn score, and Dix could hardly have wished for a more persuasive performance of his quartet. Equally pleasing is the soprano voice of Kathryn Wright, who carefully delineates every word. The recordings would appear to have been made at differing times, the general sound quality being rather too tight and manufactured, but it has clarity and is well focused. Only Steen is currently included in the international CD catalog, and I hope this disc will generate interest in some obviously gifted composers."