V2492. SANFORD SYLVAN, w.Gil Rose Cond. Boston Modern Orch.: AMERICAN MUSE (Steven Stucky). BMOP 1050, recorded 2010-14, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston. [For anyone unfamiliar with Stucky's work, these compelling compositions are redolent of Benjamin Britten and Lutoslawski.] - 794465963320
“AMERICAN MUSE, for solo baritone and orchestra, was commissioned by Robert and Linda Attiyeh for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who premiered the work with baritone Sanford Sylvan and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen on 29 October, 1999. CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA is scored for full symphony orchestra and was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, with the assistance of Johnson & Higgins, in celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. It was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Riccardo Muti conducting, on 27 October, 1988.
RHAPSODIES, for orchestra, was jointly commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and BBC Proms, with support from the Francis Goelet Fund. The world premiere was given by the New York hilharmonic under the direction of LorinMaazel on 28 August, 2008 at the BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London, with a subsequent US premiere at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall.
Stucky wrote commissioned works for many of the major American orchestras, including Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and St. Paul. He was long associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was resident composer 1988–2009 (the longest such affiliation in American orchestral history); he was host of the New York Philharmonic's ‘Hear & Now’ series 2005–09; and he was Pittsburgh Symphony Composer of the Year for the 2011–12 season. For Pittsburgh, he composed ‘Silent Spring’, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson's epochal book of the same title. He teamed with the celebrated pianist and author Jeremy Denk to create his first opera, THE CLASSICAL STYLE (based on the celebrated book by Charles Rosen), which premiered in June 2014 at the Ojai Music Festival. Other noteworthy compositions by Stucky include the symphonic poem ‘Radical Light’ (2007), Rhapsodies for Orchestra (2008), the oratorio ‘August 4, 1964’ (2008), a Symphony (2012), and his Second Concerto for Orchestra (2003), which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Stucky was an expert on the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski and authored the 1981 study LUTOSLAWSKI AND HIS MUSIC. He also was curator of the Philharmonia Orchestra's 2013 centenary celebration of that composer, ‘Woven Words: Music Begins Where Words End’. Stucky was the Given Foundation Professor of Composition at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. There he founded Ensemble X and led it for nine seasons, from 1997 until 2006, while at the same time he also was the guiding force behind the celebrated ‘Green Umbrella’ series in Los Angeles. He has also taught at Eastman and Berkeley, the latter as Ernest Bloch Professor in 2003. After several earlier teaching and conducting visits, in 2013 he became artist-faculty composer-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival and School. In 2014 he became Professor Emeritus at Cornell and joined the composition faculty at the Juilliard School.”
“American baritone Sanford Sylvan is perhaps best known for his acclaimed participation in the John Adams operas NIXON IN CHINA and THE DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER; other operatic appearances have generally been just as well received. However, Sylvan's career has been much more intensely focused on the art song repertory -- a commitment that has not gone unnoticed by recital goers and lieder/chanson-loving record buyers.
The international spotlight first shone on him when he created the role of Chou En-Lai for the 1987 Houston Opera premiere of NIXON IN CHINA; the original cast recording of the work received a Grammy Award in 1989. Sylvan has since been nominated for several additional Grammys. The entire range of the repertoire has been represented in Sylvan's opera career, from Mozart (including the role of Figaro in a PBS Television broadcast of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) through Stravinsky (THE FLOOD). John Adams called on Sylvan again for the Klinghoffer opera in 1991, and also for a setting of Walt Whitman's THE WOUND-DRESSER (1988), and a number of other major contemporary composers, among them Philip Glass and John Harbison, have followed suit by employing Sylvan's considerable gifts.
When performing and recording art songs, Sanford Sylvan invariably casts David Breitman in the role of pianist; their collaborations, especially of Gabriel Fauré's chansons, are treasured. In 2000, Sanford Sylvan and David Breitman presented THE GLASS HAMMER, a new song cycle by Jorge Martin, to a Carnegie Hall audience.”
- Blair Johnston, allmusic.com