Specter: The Music of George Antheil | Sono Luminus DSL92222

Specter: The Music of George Antheil


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Label: Sono Luminus

Cat No: DSL92222

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 10th August 2018



“When George Antheil and his future wife, Boski Markus, arrived in Paris in the summer of 1923 they moved into a small apartment on rue de l’Odéon above Sylvia Beach’s famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. The musicians, artists, and literary giants who comprised the shop’s clientele steered Antheil toward his calling as the ‘Bad Boy of Music’. For us, Odéon represents our artistic path together, beginning with Antheil’s wild early music and sustained through a mutual love for collaboration, experimentation, and discovery. We met during our first year as doctoral students at Arizona State University, developing a natural collaborative energy when Hannah began writing her dissertation on Antheil’s three Parisian violin sonatas. Over the course of six months, we discovered the very limits of our technical and musical skill as we worked through each piece. We thrived on the raw energy and driving aggression of Antheil’s early sonatas, finding beauty in their vivacity and quirky athleticism.

“In the fall of 2016, we received an email from our friend in Switzerland, the scholar Mauro Piccinini, informing us of a newly discovered Antheil work for violin and piano, found amongst the late violinist Werner Gebauer’s papers. Marc Gebauer, his son, had unearthed a set of three short waltzes,
Valses from ‘Specter of the Rose’, an arrangement of music from Antheil’s 1947 film score for Specter of the Rose. As we studied Gebauer’s Valses, we learned that Antheil and Gebauer’s relationship extended far beyond successful musical collaboration into friendship, mirroring our own musical relationship. Over the course of their collaboration, Antheil composed two works specifically for Gebauer, his 1945 Sonatina for Violin and Piano and his 1946 Violin Concerto. The Sonatina displays a lighter, humorous side of Antheil, contrasting his earlier style, and tailored to Gebauer’s energetic virtuosity. The Violin Concerto follows in this same vein of artistic partnership and collaboration. In the ink of the handwritten manuscript at the Library of Congress, we could see Antheil’s borrowed melodies and ideas from earlier works pop out of the page, transformed for Gebauer’s technical brilliance. Schirmer’s recent engraving of the concerto for violin and orchestra reflects Gebauer’s premiere performance in 1947, including altered violin passages and a number of large cuts made during rehearsals. In our recording we have attempted to remain as close to the handwritten score as possible, taking into account the recording of Gebauer’s premiere performance under Antal Doráti, several copies of the score, and our own musical understanding of Antheil’s style and writing.

“With these three pieces, we have come to a deeper understanding of the collaboration and friendship between two incredible musicians. Our own friendship and musical partnership have flourished as a result. We hope you enjoy Specter as much as we loved creating it for you.”

Violinist Hannah Leland and pianist Aimee Fincher formed Duo Odéon in 2014 after meeting in the contemporary music ensemble during their doctoral studies at Arizona State University. The two immediately bonded over a mutual passion for new and unknown classical music. Today, they perform, research, and present the music of the American composer George Antheil along with other little-known twentieth and twenty-first century composers. Their mission is to bring underperformed, often unpublished, music to new audiences in inviting and unconventional environments.

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