Miniature works for orchestra


Jay Anthony Gach Rain Worthington Marga Richter Phillip Rhodes

George Gershwin Steven Winteregg Douglas Anderson Bruce Babcock

Stephen Lias





SPARKS, a compilation of orchestral miniature works by several composers, offers a sampling of much of what post-modern, contemporary orchestral music has to offer, and is most interesting to consider in contrast to nineteenth century orchestral transitions. Miniatures, in their brevity, defy the conventional bias that orchestral music must conform to the characteristics of large symphonies. More generally, the works on this album suggest a wide range of influences unique to contemporary postmodernism. These include the aesthetics of midcentury composers, as well as film scores and non-classical genres.


These orchestral miniatures, because of their limited duration, all, in some way, focus on one specific idea, and play with that over the course of their structures. In works like Phillip Rhodes’ A Tango Fantasy and Bruce Babcock’s Event Horizon, this kernel is conceptual, whereas in works like Rain Worthington’s Still Motion, the piece develops a singular musical idea.


Richard Stoltzman’s performance of Summertime, composed by George Gershwin for the opera Porgy and Bess, shows how the colors of the clarinet can be used to create the wonderful feelings that singers achieve in the great arias of contemporary opera. Worthington’s energetic work explores rhythm and melody, developing a melodic idea that is introduced immediately in the vibraphone part. Babcock’s piece is the most abstract and dissonant of the album, using delicate and fluid orchestral textures to express momentum and arrival. Rhodes’ work’s allusions to tango are fascinatingly subtle, as the piece only expresses the essence of tango – its iconic rhythms, typifying harmonic motions, and slippery melodies – without making too obvious a connection to the well-known dance genre. Fragments, by Marga Richter, is based on one melodic idea, which it explores over its five brief movements in an astonishing array of orchestral textures and colors. Gangsta, by Jay Anthony Gach draws its title in reference to the popular 1940’s film noir gangster cinema – the work’s intensity and use of brass choirs seems to evoke the drama of today’s blockbuster film scores. Prelude for Charles, composed by Steven Winteregg, is a myriad of thematic materials based on the musical representations of the word, "Charles." Stephen Lias’ Crown of the Continent is the result of an Artist-in-Residency at Glacier National Park in Montana, celebrating in music its beautiful and colorful “wild west” history. Douglas Anderson’s solemn and moving In Memoriam was written in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11/2001.




Douglas Anderson is a composer, conductor, educator, and producer who has been active in the New York area for more than 40 years. He has been guest composer, featured composer, composer-in-residence, and more with a variety of ensembles, and is also an active conductor. His compositions include chamber works, orchestral works, concerti, vocal music (including synthesized voice), electronic music, radio drama, jazz, film music, and opera, and have been heard live and on radio around the world for decades, notably on Voice of America radio abroad, and nationally on NPR in three radio dramas broadcast on NPR's “The Radio Stage:” "Romance Concerto," "The Sound of Fear Clapping," and “The King of Jazz.” Anderson released his debut Ravello Records album CHAMBER SYMPHONIES 2, 3 & 4 in 2016


Applauded by Aaron Copland, inspired by Desmond Tutu, and mentored by Hugo Friedhofer, Paul Glass, and Earle Hagen, Bruce Babcock has spent his working life composing music for the musicians of Los Angeles. Successful in both film and television and the concert hall, Babcock was described as “a musician who blends superior craftsmanship with a colorful, expressive sense of narrative” (Gramophone), referencing his 2015 Navona album TIME, STILL, and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series in 1992, one of eight total Emmy nominations in a ten-year period


Jay Anthony Gach’s original concert music has been critically acclaimed as “witty, virtuosic and accessible” (Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine), “vibrant textures” (New York Times), and “multi-layered, whirling and propulsive” (Minneapolis Star). Summarized by the composer Lukas Foss during his tenureship as conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Gach’s “writing for orchestra is brilliant beyond words”. Gach has received commissions and award in over thirty competitions, and his music has been performed, recorded and broadcast internationally by ensembles including the National Italian Youth Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Haydn Chamber Orchestra of London, Millennium Symphony Orchestra/Robert Ian Winstin, Brooklyn Philharmonic/Lukas Foss, and by solo artists including British pianist Ronan Magil, and American Grammy-award winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman


Adventurer-composer Stephen Lias’ music is performed regularly around the world by soloists and ensembles including the Anchorage Symphony, the Oasis Quartet, the Ensamble de Trompetas Simon Bolivar, and the Russian String Orchestra. He has served as Artist-in-Residence at numerous national parks and has created a substantial body of chamber and concert music inspired by these wild places. Most recently, in 2015 he received an NEA-funded commission from the Boulder Philharmonic to create a new park-related piece to be premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


Phillip Rhodes is Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Composer in Residence Emeritus at Carleton College, having received degrees from Duke University and the Yale University School of Music. He has received numerous commissions and composition awards, including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Fund for Music, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters which cites his work as “music which radiates an evocative warmth of expression, while also exhibiting a highly disciplined approach to matters of form and continuity ...” His works have been performed by the Atlanta Symphony at Carnegie Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center


Composer Marga Richter has been hailed “an artistic imagination of remarkable power and subtlety” (The Argonaut), “her most valuable attributes are an original sense of rhythm, of drama in choice of materials … an ability to make her own forms grow from the very nature of her materials and ideas” (New York Tribune), and “inimitable, personal, compelling, unforgettable” (Newark Star-Ledger). Richter earned degrees in Composition from The Juilliard School. Her orchestral music has been played by more than fifty orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra and the Atlanta and Milwaukee Symphonies, and her ballet, Abyss, was performed on five continents by the Harkness Ballet. A full-length biography, Marga Richter, is published by the University of Illinois Press


Steven Winteregg is a Professor of Music at Cedarville University. He has received dozens of awards in composition, including First Prize in competitions sponsored by the International Horn Society and the International Trumpet Guild. He is composer of four ballets, and his compositions have been performed by orchestras such as the Cincinnati Symphony, the Czech Radio Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony. His works have been performed throughout the world


Rain Worthington has a distinct voice within the field of contemporary music. As noted in Music Web-International, “… she writes music which speaks to the senses, is packed with real emotion and, most important of all in contemporary music, really communicates.” Her music takes “…ideas of American musical style to a new place – like a walk in a familiar, yet very different park... And isn't afraid to come up with its own startling conclusions.” (Chamber Music Magazine). World music, minimalism and romanticism have influenced Worthington’s compositional style. Worthington’s full-length solo orchestral CD, DREAM VAPORS, was released February 2016 on Navona Records


Two-time Grammy Award-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman is known as a captivating recitalist, chamber musician, and jazz performer, as well as a prolific recording artist. He gave the first clarinet recitals in the histories of both the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. In 1986, Stoltzman became the first wind player to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize. Recently he was awarded the prestigious Sanford Medal by the Yale School of Music. He has performed or recorded with such jazz and pop greats as the Canadian Brass, Chick Corea, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Keith Jarrett, Wayne Shorter, Mel Tormé, and Spyro Gyra founder Jeremy Wall. His most recent album RESOLVE, released on Navona Records in 2014, features works of Hindemith. He has won Grammy® Awards for his recordings of the Brahms Sonatas with Richard Goode, and Trios of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax

Release Date July 8, 2016

Catalog #: NV6050





Jay Anthony Gach


Siberian State Symphony Orchestra  |  Vladimir Lande, conductor


Rain Worthington


Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Petr Vronský, conductor


Marga Richter


Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra  |  Petr Vronský, conductor

3 I

4 II


6 IV

7 V


Phillip Rhodes


Siberian State Symphony Orchestra | Vladimir Lande, conductor


George Gershwin


Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  | Kirk Trevor, conductor

Richard Stoltzman, clarinet


Steven Winteregg


 Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Petr Vronský, conductor


Douglas Anderson


Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Petr Vronský, conductor


Bruce Babcock


The Wembley Players  |  Bruce Babcock, conductor


Stephen Lias


Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra  |  Petr Vronský, conductor



















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