RICHARD CROSBY (b. ~1954?) : By The Waters of Memory Op. 9; Sonata for Piano in B Minor Op. 21; Variations for Piano Op. 13; Sonata for Viola and Piano Op. 10 ( Sila Darville, viola). Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 19 (Nathan Jasinski, cello). Four Latin Dances for Oboe and Piano Op. 14 (Julie Smith, oboe). Richard Crosby, piano.

Catalogue Number: 04Z023

Label: Navona Records

Reference: NV6598

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Lyricism and melody are often vainly sought in contemporary composition. American composer Richard Crosby goes against the grain on BY THE WATERS OF MEMORY, a selection of compositions so aesthetically sublime, yet so profound, one wonders if this is still music, or someone mesmerizingly peeling back the layers on existence itself. BY THE WATERS OF MEMORY features two scintillating chamber duos with piano – one a viola, the other a cello sonata – as well as a charming tetralogy of Latin dances for piano and oboe. But perhaps the greatest revelation arrives in the form of trenchantly beautiful solo piano pieces, which bear all the hallmarks of unadulterated classical-romantic genius. If Schubert had been an American, he would have sounded like this. I chose the title for this nocturne-like, lyrical piece from Greek mythology. According to the followers of the Orphic School, the soul of the deceased would cross the river Styx and be parched with thirst from the long and arduous journey to the Underworld. Upon arriving on the shore, the first thing they would come to was a pool called the Waters of Lethe (forgetfulness), and if the soul drank from those waters, its memory would be erased and it would have to reincarnate again into the weary sorrowful circle of life. But if it remembered not to drink from this pool and proceeded on it would encounter the Waters of Mnemosyne (memory), and after drinking from this pool it would remember not only its recently completed life but its previous lives as well and could then proceed on to the Elysian Fields. While this piece is not an attempt to describe the story per se, I have had many people describe memories and images that were conjured up by it, and I hope that it will touch upon the emotions of the listener and that it will bring to the surface the memory of some important event or person in their life. The sonata was commissioned by the Sigma Alpha Iota fraternity for their national convention in Scottsdale AZ as part of their Inter-American Music Awards and was premiered by the composer in July of 2018. It is published by C. F. Peters. The work is laid out in the standard three movement structure with a sonata form first movement marked “Allegro molto,” a slow “Andante” movement with a chant-like melody, and a multi-metered final movement marked “Allegro energico.” These variations were composed in 2013 and I presented the world premiere at the EKU Center for the Arts on October 20 of that year. I wrote this work as a gesture of gratitude to Dr. Amit Gupta, the Louisville surgeon who saved my career as a pianist. I chose a variation form to explore a wide variety of musical styles. The theme is followed by nine “character variations:” Variation 1: Shifting Meters and Rhythms
Variation 2: Tempo di Valse
Variation 3: Homage to Bartók
Variation 4: Fantasia
Variation 5: Contrapunctus
Variation 6: Quasi Una Fantasia
Variation 7: Tarantella
Variation 8: Homage to Rachmaninoff
Variation 9: Invocation and Dance (Basant Mukhari) In the last variation, in honor of Dr. Gupta, I transformed the theme into an Indian Raga and used the sostenuto pedal at the beginning to allow for sympathetic vibration of the strings to create the impression of a sitar. This work was commissioned by the Kentucky Music Teachers Association for their 2010 convention at the University of Louisville and was written while I was on a sabbatical. It consists of three movements in fast-slow-fast order with the first being an Allegro in sonata form, the second being Andante in ABA form, and the third a mono-thematic Vivace in compound duple meter in a perpetuum mobile format. The work was premiered with Jeremy Mulholland on Viola with me as the composer at the piano. This sonata was commissioned by the Kentucky Music Teachers Association for their fall conference in 2017 and was premiered by cellist Abby Whitt accompanied by the composer. It is in the standard three movement structure — sonata form, ABA, and rondo — and features romantic harmonies as well as mixed meter and increasing dissonance in the final movement. These four dances were commissioned by pianist Imelda Delgado and oboist Evelyn McCarty in memory of Narciso Delgado, a Tejano music pioneer. The dances are a Bolero, Tango, Bossa Nova, and Mambo.


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