Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies, pianos
1. Piano Phase 17:33
Six Scenes from Les Enfants Terribles
2. Overture 4:04
3. The Bedroom 9:19
4. Paul Sleepwalking 5:29
5. Snow Falling in the Playground 4:42
6. Elizabeth Chooses a Career 5:55
7. Death of the Twins / Finale 4:31
Philip and Steve Reich were leaders of a new music revolution in New York City in the 1960’s and 70’s that included Terry Riley, Lamonte Young, and Meredith Monk. In the years since then their careers and music have greatly diverged, and it was rewarding to find, with Gerfried Stocker, a way to reconnect these two outstanding musicians for this production.
Steve’s Piano Phase is a seminal work of the modern repertory for two pianos. It is also the first work that Maki Namekawa and I rehearsed and performed together. I’ve come to the conclusion that Maki agreed to develop a two-piano repertory with me after I proved to her in this work that I was able to play (not just conduct) a steady tempo. The skill and discipline she demonstrates in achieving the subtle and complex accelerations of tempo are extraordinary. I make an admirable “straight man.”
— Dennis Russell Davies
LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES BY PHILIP GLASS
© 1996 Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc. Used by Permission.
Distinguished as one of the greatest composers of our time, Philip Glass’ repertoire ranges among opera, dance, theater, orchestra and film. Lauded for Einstein on the Beach and Music in Twelve Parts, Glass is also renowned for the scores for Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi and the Academy Award nominated films The Hours directed by Stephen Daldry, The Fog of War directed by Errol Morris, and Kundun directed by Martin Scorsese. Glass’ non-traditional musical syntax, his experimental, minimalist approach and his ambiguous tonality have long resisted interpretation.
(Reprinted by kind permission of Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc., New York)
Background on the work:
Les Enfants Terribles was composed in 1996 as the final part of a trilogy of operas based on three films by Jean Cocteau. The first two operas, Orphée and La Belle et la Bête, were composed in 1991 and 1994 respectively – Orphée for voice and chamber orchestra, and La Belle et la Bête for my own ensemble. Les Enfants toured internationally in 1996-97 with stage director and choreographer Susan Marshall’s own dance company, a vocal ensemble and a three-piano ensemble made up of Eleanor Sandresky, Nelson Padget and myself.
The present recording for two pianos is based on six scenes from the opera – “Overture,” “The Bedroom,” “Paul Sleepwalking,” “Snow Falling in the Playground,” “Elizabeth Chooses a Career” and “Death of the Twins/Finale” – and presents a new arrangement by Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa. It is currently being performed by them internationally.
— Philip Glass
PIANO PHASE BY STEVE REICH
© 1980 by Universal Edition (London) Ltd., London.
Steve Reich was recently called “…America’s greatest living composer.” (The Village Voice), “…the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New Yorker) and “…among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times).
Steve Reich is a leading pioneer of Minimalism whose music has been influential to composers all over the world. His music combines rigorous structures with propulsive rhythms and seductive instrumental color. Many choreographers have used his scores, including Alvin Ailey, Siobhan Davies, Eliot Feld and Jiri Kylian. Virtually all of his works have been commercially recorded. He has an exclusive recording contract with Nonesuch, on which label Different Trains earned him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition. His documentary video opera works The Cave and Three Tales (in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot) have expanded the boundaries of the operatic medium.
(Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes)
BACKGROUND ON THE WORK:
Piano Phase (1967) is the direct result of my work in 1965-66 on two identical audio loops played simultaneously on two separate tape recorders, whereby barely perceptible changes in the tape playback speed produced minimal phase shifts between two identical, repeating patterns. This tape study led to It’s Gonna Rain, Come Out and Melodica. Since the process of progressive phase shift is actually typical of machines (windshield wipers on a bus, audible signals at a railroad crossing, etc.), I wasn’t sure if it could be reproduced by two people. Over the course of several months, Art Murphy and I – by first working at home playing against tape recordings of our own performance, and then playing on two pianos – found that, while we lacked the perfection of the machine, we could give a good approximation of it and we got to like this totally new and particularly satisfying way of playing, which was completely worked out in advance and eliminated the necessity of actually reading a score. The result was that we became totally absorbed in listening while we were playing the piece.
(Reprinted by kind permission of Universal Edition AG, Vienna)
MAKI NAMEKAWA, PIANO
Maki Namekawa is one of the young musicians who are introducing new works by leading composers into the mainstream of German concert activity. As a soloist and a chamber musician equally at home in classical music and contemporary repertoire, Maki Namekawa appears regularly at major concert venues in Japan and Europe, at international festivals (including the Musik-Biennale Berlin, the Festival Eclat in Stuttgart, Ars Electronica Linz, and the Ruhr Piano Festival), on radio broadcasts as well as with prestigious orchestras such as the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Munich Philharmonic and Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam.
Maki Namekawa studied piano at the Kunitachi Conservatory with Mikio Ikezawa and Henriette Puig-Roget (Conservatoire de Paris) and continued her studies with Werner Genuit and Kaya Han at the University of Music Karlsruhe, where she completed her diploma as a soloist with special distinction. She then broadened her experience by studying with Edith Picht- Axenfeld, György Kurtág, Prof. Dr. Stefan Litwin (University of Music Saarland), Florent Boffard (Ensemble Intercontemporain) and Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Hochschule für Musik Köln).
DENNIS RUSSELL DAVIES, PIANO
Dennis Russell Davies, chief conductor of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and the Landestheater Linz since 2002, as well as chief conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra since 1995, was born in Toledo, Ohio. His activities as an opera and concert conductor, as a pianist and chamber musician are characterized by a very broad repertory ranging from the Baroque to the very modern, with an intense commitment to the composers of our time. As pianist and conductor, he has premiered important works by Robert Beaser, Luciano Berio, Henry Brant, William Bolcom, John Cage, Philip Glass, HK Gruber, Lou Harrison, Gija Kancheli, Thomas Larcher, Bruno Maderna, Philippe Manouri, Kurt Schwertsik, Johannes Maria Staud, Balduin Sulzer, Heinz Winbeck, and Herbert Willi.
Davies began his piano studies at an early age. He first studied in Toledo with Berenice B. McNab, and later with Lonny Epstein and Sascha Gorodnitzky at The Juilliard School of Music. Over the years, his chamber music partners have included the Stuttgart Wind Quintet, cellist Janos Starker, violinists Oscar Shumsky and Romuald Tecco, oboist Heinz Holliger and singers Simon Estes, Hanna Schwarz, Wolfgang Schöne, Uwe Heilmann and Thomas Mohr. His recordings as a pianist can be found on ECM, Orphée, Orange Mountain Music and Koch-Schwann. Most recently, his performances of Kancheli’s Valse Boston and Glass’ Tirol Concerto were released on ECM and Orange Mountain Music.
DENNIS RUSSELL DAVIES AND MAKI NAMEKAWA
Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa worked together for the first time in 2003. After their highly acclaimed performance at the Festival Ars Electronica in Linz, both musicians decided to continue their cooperation as a piano duo. Recent performances include concerts at the Metropolitan Pavillion in New York and at the Festival International de Colmar, at the festival in Gmunden, the Festival Ars Electronica Linz; upcoming recitals include concerts in the USA and at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Performed on two pianos by Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies.
Idea by Dennis Russell Davies and Gerfried Stocker. Recorded at Brucknerhaus Linz by Erich Pintar / Studio Weinberg, Kefermarkt, Upper Austria.
Cover photo by Nicolas Naveau.
Translation by Mel Greenwald. Project management by Manuela Pfaffenberger.
Many thanks to Philip Glass and Steve Reich for their support of this project.
Participating artists Dennis Russell Davies, Maki Namekawa, Wolfgang Winkler, Doris Hintermaier and Gustav Bauer from Brucknerhaus Linz, Don Christensen from Orange Mountain Music, Annette Kulenkampff from Hatje Cantz Verlag, Erich Pintar, Wolfgang Schiefermayr and Herwig Preiss from Studio Weinberg, Michael Schimpelsberger from MUSIK & CO Schimpelsberger, Wolfgang Gruber, Christian Wührer and Andrea Fleissner from Sony DVD Center Europe, Cat Celebrezze from Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc., Karoline Guggenberger-Spanny from Universal Edition AG / Vienna, Dr. Heribert Schröder, Dr. Karen Kopp and Andrew Rosner.
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Exclusive worldwide distribution: Orange Mountain Music, Inc. 632 Broadway suite 902 New York, NY 10012
Les Enfants Terribles