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a CRUMB of MUSIC for GEORGE CRUMB
for instrumental ensemble

in memory of Samanta Smith

1985     18'

fl./fl.c-alto, ob, cl, fag, cor, tr, trn, batteria (2 esecutori), arpa (ad lib), pno, 2 vn. vl, vc, cb.

Premiere – Ensemble of soloists of Bolshoi theatre orchestra,
conductor Alexander Lazarev
Lugano, Switzerland. 18.09.1987

    Music samples: page 19, page 32
    LP and CD Recording



studio for new music (moscow), conductor igor dronov. ‘an introduction to faradj karajev’ megadisc mdc 7852)
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version from 1986:

fl., ob., pn/cmb., vn., vl., vc.




version from 1998:

fl., cl., pn/cmb., vn., vl., vc.




version from 2004 – for ensemble reconsil wien:

fl., cl., trbn., pn., vn., vc.







Written for an ensemble of some fifteen musicians (one for each woodwind instrument, brass instrument and string instrument and with two percussionists), this composition uses a text by the American female poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). The musicians pronounce the text at the beginning, accompanied by barely audible (quasi niente) brass instruments, punctuated by the piano in the bass part:


If I shouldn’t be alive
When the Robbins come
Give the one in red cravat
A memorial Crumb
If I couldn’t thank you
Being fast asleep
You will know I’m trying
with my granite lip!
(By Emily Dickinson)

The woodwinds burst into song, a kind of repeated hymn, with a dominant oboe. This mysterious and intimate music is an excellent illustration of Karajev's special talent for creating a sonorous universe which is simultaneously melancholy and magical.

After a renewed outburst of song, the strings provide a contrapuntal reflection that accumulates the interstices between the parts in major and minor in a slow crescendo. The composition ends with a murmur of voices repeating "Robins come", while the brass section plays sustained notes, al niente.


Frans C. Lemaire, comment to MEGADISC CD  





29.09.2011
festival bookletfestival booklet festival booklet …a crumb of music for george crumb
studio for new music, conductor igor dronov
55th international festival of contemporary music
la biennale di venezia
teatro malibran, venice, italy


I due concerti luganesi dell’Ensemble di solisti del teatro Bolscioi
ALLA RUSSIA CON SPICCATA PERSONALITA


     Sul fronte di uno sperimentalismo più ardito, ancorché non vuoti di significati, troviamo Shut con Warum e Karaev con ...a crumb of music. Se il pezzo di Shut è una specie di proiezione caleidoscopica di un'immagine romantica (il riferimento a Schiumann ed a uno dei suoi ‘pezzi fantastici’ è pressoché dichiarato), quello di Karaev è un tentativo di fusione di vari tipi di espressione assai distanti tra toro: dimensione epoetica, dimensione teatrale e dimensione di ‘musica pùra’ si combinano in un disegno forfemente suggestivo. ...a crumb of music crediamo sia l'opera più bella che i solisti del Bolscio abbiano presentato durante il secondo appuntamento.
Fernando deCarili
‘Corriere del Ticino’ 22.09.87.


‘АЛЬТЕРНАТИВА –?’

     Главной в череде фестивальных побед и поражений, удач и разочарований, в смешении традиционных, импровизационных, интуитивных способов интерпретации окружающего нас мира была сама атмосфера свободного поиска, уничтожающая рогатки во многом искусственных культурных и эстетических барьеров. Может быть, поэтому протягивались родственные нити от ‘Немного музыки для Джорджа Крамба’ Ф.Караева (одно из самых ярких впечатлений фестиваля) к композициям его американского коллеги.
Владимир Барский
‘Баку’ 07.01.89.


SOLOISTS ADD HUMOR TO REAL ELOQUENCE

With Aleksandr Lazarev as conductor, these are brilliant, committed players wroth a humor of their own, valuable when the odd mishap occurred but absolutely vital to the success of Nikolay Korndorf’s Confessions, Rodion Shchedrin’s Geometry of Sound and Faradj Karayev’s …a Crumb of Music for George Crumb, all of which seemed dependent on being presented without solemnity.

Whether F.Karayev’s tribute to the American composer, George Crumb, was meant to be admiring or simply a send-up was hard to say. One suspects the former, but the performers (initially surrounding the open grand piano, into which they blew and breathed) again found opportunities for humor, thoug rightly they allowed the section for string qurtet its moments of eloquence.
Conrad Wilson
‘Acotsman’ 07.11.89.



The dud was from Faradj Karayev, an uplifting of workbench droppings from American George Crumb, of which the Azerbaydjan lcomposer failed to make anything at all. All the performances were first class.

‘Glasgow Gerald’ 06.11.89.


FOUR UNKNOWN WORKS, FOUR DIFFERENT STYLES  

One of the Julliard School's happier ideas has been its new new-music group. Conducted by experienced .professionals and staffed by students, this New Julliard Ensemble opened its second season at the Julliard Theater on Sunday afternoon. The music was unknown to most of us, and mostly worth hearing. Joel Sachs led his young players in four pieces, using chamber orchestras of various sizes.

Looking back in time at musical trends is always easier than trying to catch history in midnight. The present crowds us; we have no perspective on it Series like this, on the other hand. are not a bad way to make an attempt Sunday's four items, all premieres of a sort, went in four different directions. They offered provocation mostly for what they were not.

No historical imperatives here. No stumping for one school, one set of procedures or one esthetic faction. Faradzh Karayev, Zygmunt Krauze, Betty Olivero and Miguel del Aguila come from varied worlds. They seem to accept those worlds as they find them and make the best use of them they can.


… a crumb of Music for George Crumb is Mr. Karayev's tribute to America's high priest of the sound effect The opening pages mimic Mr. Crumb's breathless sonic melodramas. Wind players blow over their instruments or whisper into the body of the piano. Other musicians speak in fragmented phrases. There is a recurring six-note arpeggio figure. Textures build from eccentrically placed, overlapping little bits of phrase. This was music with its own naughtiness.

By Bernard Holland
‘New York Times’ 27.09.94.



BOLSHOI ENSEMBLE ALMEIDA

The Karayev piece came closest to experimentalism. Called …a crumb of Music for George Crumb, it uses amplified piano as a resonating space for other instruments, but only by way of introduction to a plaintive sustained lyricism, not unlike the other scores in the programme. Not, perhaps, works of great stature, these were all gratefully crafted pieces: immediately attractive and well presented by the conductor Alexander Lazarev.

Michael John White
‘Independent’ 06.07.89.



ECLECTIC DAZZLE AND FADED FADS
Paul DRIVER on the Russian avant-garde at Glasgow’s New Beginnings festival


The fads of (he day before yesterday, in this case those associated with the quietist American composer George Crumb, who was prolific in the 1960s, were resumed by Faradj Karayev in his work entitled …a Crumb of Music for George Crumb (1987). Some of the musicians were grouped, a la maniere, around the body of the piano, looking down into it and picking up its vibrations. Electronic amplification and echo-effects duly enhanced the music's dreamy harmonics and leisurely flow, and there was chanting, too. Perhaps Crumb himself would be genuinely touched by the piece.

Sunday ju……..???   12.11.89.
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