Category: Symphonic Images


compact disc cover for Symphonic Images

Music by David Hoenigsberg and Robert Rollin; conducted by Rollin and Hoenigsberg

This recording is part of the Dana Recording Project and is sponsored by the New Music Society with additional support from the Dana School of Music, The Youngstown State University College of Fine and Performing Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. Proceeds benefit the New Music Society Guest Artist and Young Composers Scholarship Funds. All music licensed by ASCAP

In Memoriam David Hoenigsberg

Recorded at the Great Kiev Recording Studio of the Ukranian National Radio

Produced by Dr. Robert Rollin
Manager of Kiev Philharmonic: Alexander Hornostai
Audio Engineer: Andrej Mokritzy
Premastering Engineer: Johnterryl Plumeri
Mastering Engineer: Arnie Acostra
Cover Art: Susan Dunn
Mastered at The Mastering Lab — Ojai, California

Track Listing / Program Notes by Walter Mony and Robert Rollin

  1. AFRICAN IMAGES FOR VIOLIN AND STRING ORCHESTRA Robert Rollin • African Images is an original work which hints obliquely at an old Zulu melody without ever really quoting it. A stately original theme is followed by a lighter, more dance-like one with repetitive rhythmic patterns… more
  2. VIOLIN CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND FULL ORCHESTRA Robert Rollin • The Violin Concerto was originally premiered in Guadalajara, Mexico by Gwyneth Rollin, the composer’s wife, in two performances with the Filharmónica de Jalisco… more
  3. FANTASY ON POLISH FOLK SONGS FOR VIOLIN STRING ORCHESTRA Robert Rollin • Much like the “Allegretto” of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, this one movement piece is a theme and variations with interludes appearing periodically for contrast… more
  4. VIOLA CONCERTO FOR VIOLA & FULL ORCHESTRA David Hoenigsberg • The Viola Concerto was commissioned by the South African Performing Rights Organization and was dedicated to Walter Mony for his birthday… more
  5. LYRIC COUNTERPOINT FOR VIOLIN AND STRING ORCHESTRA Robert Rollin • This contrapuntal piece is a set of variations on “Eyfin Pripitchok,” a melody by Mark Warshawsky (1845-1904)… more
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09: LYRIC COUNTERPOINT FOR VIOLIN AND STRING ORCHESTRA — Robert Rollin

This contrapuntal piece is a set of variations on “Eyfin Pripitchok,” a melody by Mark Warshawsky (1845-1904). A lawyer by profession, Warshawsky had a passion for folk singing. He was championed in America by the great Jewish writer Shalom Aleychem, and collections of his music were published in 1907 and 1914. This particular song became so embedded in the cultural psyche of the Jewish people, it achieved folk-song status. The traditional natural minor mode of the Ashkenazim with it’s lowered seventh degree of the scale is enhanced by daring ventures into extreme registers, poignant harmonic sprinkling, and cunning invertible counterpoint. This captures the sweet nostalgic childhood reminiscence of the glow of fire-place embers as the Rabbi inducts the children into the mysteries of the alphabet.

VIOLA CONCERTO FOR VIOLA & FULL ORCHESTRA — David Hoenigsberg
06: First movement
07: Second movement
08: Third movement

The Viola Concerto was commissioned by the South African Performing Rights Organization and was dedicated to Walter Mony for his birthday. At the time, Mony was the Professor of Music in the Chair At the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where David studied for the B.Mus. Hons.degree. The Concerto is sub-titled “Scenes from African Life,” suggesting personal and autobiographical connection. It is scored for strings, woodwind, brass, and a substantial percussion section. The work abounds in an opulent variety of textures — simple, compound, hybrid and dense chordal clusters rather reminiscent of Ligeti or Lutoslawski. The viola role emerges like a denizen of the African undergrowth, initially ungainly, and then gradually metamorphosing into a creature of consummate agility. Searing dissonances alternate with transparent magical textures. Towards the end of the first movement there is a solemn intoning of a quotation from the Hebrew liturgy with its poignant augmented intervals. The second movement is a Dance, studded with dense double stops and chords darting in and out of the orchestral backdrop and evolving into complex rhythmic patterns. The third movement elaborates on the motifs from the first and second and is interspersed with snippets of African folk tunes. There are brief spells of onomatopoetic nature sounds from the African forest. The work closes with a coda in which a fanciful flight of the flute ascends into the stellar regions over a sustained solo viola pedal, completing the metamorphosis.

05: FANTASY ON POLISH FOLK SONGS FOR VIOLIN STRING ORCHESTRA — Robert Rollin

Much like the “Allegretto” of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, this one movement piece is a theme and variations with interludes appearing periodically for contrast. The thematic core of this piece is the renowned Polish carol “Lulajze Jezuniu” (Sleep Little Jesus), a gentle pulsating lullaby. This melody was used by Chopin in the B minor Scherzo. In the Fantasy, the tune makes three appearances, The soloist and string orchestra share and switch the variety of the roles of contrasting registers, interweaving commentary, delicate plucked accompaniment, or the distant subdued reminiscence of the lullaby. The three interludes which follow are based on monophonic folk material from the mountain region of Silesia in Southern Poland. These range through a multiplicity of meters-at once gracious and florid-and then close in an ebullient joyous dance.

VIOLIN CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND FULL ORCHESTRA — Robert Rollin
02: Blues
03: Barcarolle
04: Rhapsody

The Violin Concerto was originally premiered in Guadalajara, Mexico by Gwyneth Rollin, the composer’s wife, in two performances with the Filharmónica de Jalisco, José Guadalupe Flores, conductor. It is in three contrasting movements, each with its own solo violin cadenza. The first movement, “Blues,” incorporates original themes with two old American folk songs, “Every Night When the Sun Goes Down,” and “Careless Love.” The second, “Barcarolle,” a Venetian boat song, employs original themes and an old Sicilian lullaby with counterpoints and harmonization by Rollin. It has the unusual feature of ending with a solo violin cadenza fading into silence. The third movement, “Rhapsody,” beginning with original themes, leads into paraphrases of two Russian/Jewish folk songs (“Margaritkes” and “Die Mezinke Oysgegeben”), one very sad and wistful about a young maiden deserted by her lover, and the other, a rousing dance by a proud father as he gives away his daughter in marriage and celebrates with abandon in a large catered party. There follows a cyclical return to opening material of the first movement interspersed with fragments of the two folk songs. A virtuoso solo violin cadenza ensues, followed by an exciting closing tutti suddenly cut off by six powerful syncopated chords for full orchestra.

01: AFRICAN IMAGES FOR VIOLIN AND STRING ORCHESTRA — Robert Rollin

African Images is an original work which hints obliquely at an old Zulu melody without ever really quoting it. A stately original theme is followed by a lighter, more dance-like one with repetitive rhythmic patterns. Even greater contrasts occur when fragments of the quasi Zulu theme are presented simultaneously at several different speeds, a technique drawn from traditional African music. The entire process is repeated in a compressed and truncated form to increase tension. The final resolution occurs in the short, slower and more sonorous codetta.

ROBERT ROLLIN, a native of Brooklyn, New York, began composing at age 8 and was soon recommended by conductor Erich Leinsdorf for a special composition scholarship at Juilliard. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from City College and with a Doctorate from Cornell, he studied under Mark Brunswick, Ravi Shankar, Robert Palmer, Karel Husa, Elliot Carter, and Gyorgy Ligeti. He has been recognized with annual ASCAP awards consecutively for 25 years, and has held many important awards, post doctoral fellowships and grants, including the Ohio Governor’s Award for Creative Excellence presented by the Hon. Richard Celeste in a public ceremony.

Rollin’s many compositions have been performed and broadcast on six continents, and have been required jury pieces in the USA France, and South Africa His publishers include Seesaw Music Corporation, Acoma/Nambe Editions, E.G. Schirmer, and Bourne Music Publishers. He serves as Associate Editor of the theoretical journal Ex tempore, and has authored numerous articles in other international journals. An active pianist, he is founder and coordinator of the International Dana New Music Festival now in its 23rd year, and conductor of the Dana Festival Chamber Orchestra, a professional group. He is also Chair of Graduate and Undergraduate Composition at the Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University in Ohio.

Next season the Pittsburgh Live Chamber Orchestra, under conductor Jeffry Turner, will present the Pittsburgh premiere of Rollin’s Double Concerto for Viola, String Bass, Strings, and Harp with Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Violist Randolph Kelly and Pittsburgh Symphony Bassist Micah Howard as soloists. The group will then record the work on Albany Records for international distribution.

DAVID HOENIGSBERG (1959-2004) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa of German-Jewish and Afrikaner parents. His musical interests and activities started at the tender age of four with piano lessons from his mother. He studied with the most well-known South African piano teachers (Peggy Haddon, Annette Kearney, and Pauline Nossel). His first compositions to achieve success were the Orchestral Suite (1974) and Frolics of the African Night for Flute Solo (1974), the latter of which was recorded by flutist John Hinch and broadcast on the SABC.

At 14 he was selected along with two other students, to attend a Special Harmony and Counterpoint Class at the University of Natal, Durban Music Department. After matriculating, he attended the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg School of Music, graduating with a B.Mus. Degree in Composition. At the School of Music Opera School (Head of Voice Joyce Barker), he worked as a repetiteur and eventually Chorus Master on various operas and musicals. He conducted various ensembles from Synagogue Choirs, Church Orchestras through to orchestras on the Rand. He became one of the panel of Music Critics for the Johannesburg newspaper The Star. He emigrated to Switzerland in 1993, working as a freelance composer, conductor, and pianist. Awarded the SAMRO Scholarship for Overseas Study, he attended the Hochschule for Musik and Darstellende Kunst in Vienna as a pupil of Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Hoenigsberg’s catalogue of works includes 4 Symphonies, 2 Violin Concertos, a Piano Concerto, a Viola Concerto, a Soliloquy for Violoncello and String Orchestra, a Piccolo Concerto, 5 String Quartets, a Missa Brevis, two cantatas, numerous songs and chamber music.

Important commissions include Tamas and the Rainbow Dragon, commissioned by Howard Griffiths and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Metco Musik, commissioned by the Basle Symphony Orchestra. His music had performances in many countries and his catalogue of 134 works can be viewed on www.sibeliusmusic.com

[Note: this CD-jacket bio was written in 2007 before Walter Mony’s passing. Visit www.waltermony.com for more information on this deeply-missed musician and educator.]

WALTER MONY was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and began violin with George Bronoff and John Waterhouse. As a scholarship student at the Royal College in London he studied under Albert Sammons, Henry Holst, and Max Rostal, soon becoming Assistant Principal of the London Symphony and a member of the Royal Philharmonic under Sir Thomas Beecham.

Touring with the Nederburg Trio, with which he recorded extensively on major labels, he moved to South Africa, becoming Chair of Music at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He is beloved as a concert soloist, having performed the South African premieres of the concertos of Walton, Suk, Shostakovich, and Bartók, as well as world premieres of South African composers Graham Newcater and Carl van Wyk. He is equally versatile on violin and viola.

Mony is active worldwide as conductor of professional and youth orchestras, string clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer. The University of Witwatersrand has conferred on him the titles of Professor Emeritus and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow for his meritorious service. Many of his students hold prominent international playing and teaching positions. In recent years he has been involved in outreach programs for the disadvantaged children of the South African Townships.

As of January 2005, Walter Mony was appointed Head of Strings at the renowned Victoria Conservatory of Music, British Columbia, Canada. He is the Artistic Director of the Summer String Academy, which functions at the VCM with a prestigious international faculty during August of each year.