Sustain Vol. 3

Solo Works for Piano & Organ

Jacob E. Goodman composer
John A. Carollo composer
Hayg Boyadjian composer
Bruce Babcock composer
Sydney Hodkinson composer

Release Date: September 23, 2022
Catalog #: NV6466
Format: Digital
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Organ
Piano

Navona Records presents SUSTAIN VOL. 3, an exploration of the capabilities of piano and organ highlighting the varied compositional approaches of today’s composers. Influenced by the classical canon and moving in new directions, the latest edition in the SUSTAIN series pays homage to the classical composers of yesterday, while thoughtfully expressing modern personalities and ideals in a dynamic presentation of new piano repertoire. From the suspenseful passages of Sydney Hodkinson’s Organmusic, to the turbulent times reflected in Bruce Babcock’s Alternative Facts, and Hayg Boyadjian’s delicate variations on Bach, SUSTAIN once again gives it all, and everything in between.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Ten Variations on Fragments of a Mussorgsky Theme Jacob E. Goodman Lucie Kaucká, piano 10:54
02 Piano Etude No. 3: The Ruptured Disc John A. Carollo Lucie Kaucká, piano 3:35
03 Piano Etude No. 8: No One Has An Idea John A. Carollo Lucie Kaucká, piano 4:56
04 Piano Etude No. 10: Purposelessness John A. Carollo Lucie Kaucká, piano 4:44
05 Variations on a Theme by Bach Hayg Boyadjian Armen-Levon Manaseryan, piano 24:51
06 Alternative Facts Bruce Babcock James Walker, organ 7:41
07 Organmusic from A Keyboard Odyssey: I. Introit Sydney Hodkinson Boyd Jones, organ 3:21
08 Organmusic from A Keyboard Odyssey: II. Swing Shift Sydney Hodkinson Boyd Jones, organ 3:32
09 Organmusic from A Keyboard Odyssey: III. Signals and Response Sydney Hodkinson Boyd Jones, organ 5:28
10 Organmusic from A Keyboard Odyssey: IV. Zephyrs Sydney Hodkinson Boyd Jones, organ 1:50
11 Organmusic from A Keyboard Odyssey: V. Vesper Sydney Hodkinson Boyd Jones, organ 3:52
12 Organmusic from A Keyboard Odyssey: VI. Toccata Sydney Hodkinson Boyd Jones, organ 3:58

Ten Variations on Fragments of a Mussorgsky Theme
Recorded November 10th, 2021 at Orlí Street Theater Recording Studio in Brno, Czech Republic
Editing, Mixing & Producer Jan Košulič

Piano Etude No. 3
Recorded January 7, 2022 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Editing, Mixing, Producer & Engineer Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková

Piano Etude No. 8
Recorded November 23, 2021 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Producer Richard Mlynář
Engineer Aleš Dvořák
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Editing & Mixing Melanie Montgomery

Piano Etude No. 10
Recorded March 7, 2022 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Editing, Mixing & Producer Jan Košulič
Engineer Aleš Dvořák
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková

Variations on a Theme by Bach
Steinway and Sons D. Grand Piano
Recorded October 30, 2021 in Münster, Germany
Engineer Peter Hertmans
Mastering Arthur Khachatryan
Artistic Director of Recording Heribert Koch

Alternative Facts For Organ
Recorded June 17, 2021 at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach CA
Producer & Engineer Ed Johnson

Organmusic
Previously released on A Keyboard Odyssey (NV5961)
Recorded 1961 at Lee Chapel, Stetson University in DeLand FL
Engineer Rudolf Von Beckerath

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson, Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Melanie Montgomery

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland, Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Jacob E. Goodman

Composer

Jacob E. Goodman (November 15, 1933 – October 10, 2021), founder of the New York Composers Circle in 2002, was Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the City College of New York. He studied musical composition with, among others, Ezra Laderman and David Del Tredici. His works have been performed in Delaware, Nebraska, Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Tokyo, and various venues in both New York City and the Bay Area of California. Recent compositions include a set of variations for piano trio; three song cycles; a set of variations for orchestra on a Beethoven theme; a quintet for flute, piano, and strings; a set of intermezzi for piano; a prelude for saxophone and piano; two sets of variations for piano; a duo for cello and piano; a string quartet; and three bagatelles for piano; as well as the score for the documentary film Meet Me at the Canoe, produced for the American Museum of Natural History by his daughter Naomi Goodman-Broom.

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John A. Carollo

Composer

John A. Carollo studied piano as a child and was a member of a Catholic Church choir which sang for the congregation during weekend services. In 1986, he began composing for the piano and graduated from San Diego State University with a Masters Degree in Psychology. After moving to Honolulu HI in 1987, he started a career as a mental health counselor and social worker with the State of Hawaii, Department of Health. In 1997, he began private composition lessons with Dr. Robert Wehrman.

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Hayg Boyadjian

Hayg Boyadjian

Composer

GRAMMY-nominated composer Hayg Boyadjian was born in 1938 in Paris, France. At an early age he immigrated with his family to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he started his musical studies at the Liszt Conservatory. In 1958 he immigrated to the United States, and presently lives in Lexington MA. He continued his musical studies as a special student first at the New England Conservatory and later at Brandeis University. Among his teachers were Beatriz Balzi (student of Alberto Ginastera, with whom Boyadjian had several consulting meetings), Seymour Shifrin, Alvin Lucier, and Edward Cohen.

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Bruce Babcock

Composer

Applauded by Aaron Copland, inspired by Desmond Tutu, and mentored by Hugo Friedhofer and Earle Hagen, Bruce Babcock has spent his working life composing music for the musicians of Los Angeles. Successful in film, television, and the concert hall, he is known for vibrant, sonorous, and expressive pieces that immerse audience members and performers alike in an inclusive and exuberant celebration of the musical art.

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Sydney Hodkinson

Composer

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Sydney Hodkinson (January 17, 1934 – January 10, 2021) led an impressive career in conducting, composition, and music education, having received a bachelor’s and master’s of music from the Eastman School of Music, and a doctorate of musical arts from the University of Michigan in 1968.

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Lucie Kaucká

Pianist

The pianist Lucie Kaucká was born on March 31, 1978 in Kraslice near Karlovy Vary, where she began studying music at the age of seven. She continued her piano studies at the Conservatory of Teplice and the Conservatory of Pardubice with Martin Hröel. After graduation from Pardubice she concentrated on the study of musicology at the Palacky University in Olomouc and finished successfully there in 2003.

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Armen-Levon Manaseryan

Armen-Levon Manaseryan

Pianist

Armen-Levon Manaseryan was born in Yerevan into a family of musicians. His musical talent was evident from an early age. He studied Piano Performance at Komitas State Conservatory in Armenia with Professor Sergey Saradjian. Then continued his education at the Royal Conservatory of Liège in Belgium with Professors Etienne Rappe and François Thiry. After Belgium, he continued at the Musikhochschule Münster in Germany with Professor Heribert Koch.

Manaseryan is a multi-prize winner, having won medals and awards in numerous international piano competitions. He has been invited to the prestigious International Festivals in Armenia, the Russian Federation, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Malta, Portugal, and other countries.

He has been invited to the famous festivals such as “International Summer Academy at Universität Mozarteum Salzburgm,” a piano recital for “Harvard Club in Germany” at Steinway & Sons Frankfurt, “Hammerklavier” International Festival in Barcelona, Festival de Música de Sant Pere de Rodes in Girona, “Monheimer Klaviersommer” festival in Germany, and “Music of Europe” at Sofia Philharmonic, Bulgaria.

He has left an outstanding impression on the following pianists: Michel Béroff, Frederic Rzewski, Balázs Szokolay, Joseph Paratore, Ivan Urvalov, Kirill Kashunin, Françoise Chaffiaud, Paul-André Bempéchat, Yury Martynov, Jerome Rose, and many others.

Manaseryan is the founder and artistic director of the VITRAGE International Festival in Brussels and the Art Next To Kids charity art project for children with special needs and autism.

He recorded his debut album Color Of Sound with the KNS Classical label. The CD booklet includes 10 paintings of Manaseryan based on impressions of Mussorgsky’s music. Several new albums are already planned to be released in 2022-2023.

He was also a jury member of the Merci, Maestro! International Competition for Young Pianists in Brussels (2017) and a jury member of “Music and Stars Awards,” an online edition of a classical music competition. (2020, 2021, 2022). Manaseryan loves to share knowledge, frequently give masterclasses, and teach piano in Cologne and Bonn, Germany.

Notes

Ten Variations on Fragments of a Mussorgsky Theme was written by selecting several fragments of the Promenade in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and using their melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic content as raw material for constructing brief variations. The latter are in major and minor keys, one in a “mock pentatonic” mode, another a waltz, all in a variety of styles.

Composed in 2005 and 2006, these works are from a larger series of three books of Piano Etudes, totaling 18 pieces of music. As I began to compose the first work my friends were beset with maladies. Philosophical introspections helped everyone to deal with life’s unexpected happenings. It all turned into historical dramas which got played out in personal interpretations. The 3 books of Piano Etudes are: Maladies, Philosophies, and Histories.

Being an independent musical mind helps me to disregard the methods, thoughts, and opinions of my contemporaries. Remaining true to myself, I quietly compose as art “springs” from a well of creativity. It was always thus, and it will always be. Composing for my own amusement has its rewards as I can spontaneously create and be absorbed into the art process itself. You will hear the independence and spontaneity in these three works as you get absorbed in its sonics.

– John A. Carollo

Preface
Many composers who write in the 20th century seem to be very concerned with burying the past in order to create something that is new. Their effort is not only directed at creating new music and new sounds, but it also seems to be directed to developing new notation when their music is still composed for traditional instruments that have been used for the last 400 years. Even the well-known composer, Igor Stravinsky, once said that “the compositional techniques still generally
taught are about as useful as spare parts for machinery last manufactured about 75 years ago.” I emphasize that 20th century composers are trying to achieve new sounds, but that does not always indicate that what they write requires “contemporary” notation. After all, both the audience and many musicians are concerned with listening to the music. Some composers have also required the performing musicians deliver to the audience motions and actions that they think will amplify the direction that the music will convey. Thus, some composers have confused gimmicks with sound in order to convey their intentions. They seem not to understand that any visual inspiration
that accompanies the work they composed is not always shared by the aural effect that reaches the audience, let alone the musicians that are performing the work.

Hayg Boyadjian creates remarkable music. It is clearly 20th century music, but does not rely on extemporaneous effects to generate a reaction from the audience. His compositions employ new harmonies to be sure, and they are pleasing to hear, thus, the pages of his compositions do not create disorder upon those who hear his significant music. Creativity and individualism are the ranking elements of his music.

– Robin McNeil, retired Professor of Music and Musicology at University of Colorado.

It was with great trepidation that I contemplated writing a set of variations for piano on a theme by Bach. The part that came easy was the choice of the theme, which in my set of variations comes only at the end of the composition. I planned to follow in the footsteps of Bach as to the structure of the variations and also in keeping the harmonic language to a great degree in the realm of traditional harmonies with modern harmonies used very sparingly so that the composition makes an almost direction towards the music of Bach. It is — in my musical output — a piece that stands completely outside of my normal harmonic language. There is a very close resemblance to the music of Bach but infused with elements of modern musical language. Even these infusions are kept at a minimum so as to keep the general tendency of the work connected to the music of Bach.

I had not originally determined the number of variations that I would be composing, but I thought of Beethoven’s 32 Variations for Piano, thus to give humble homage to two of music’s giants. Thus the 32 Variations on a Theme by Bach was born with a duration of approximately 45 minutes. For the present CD recording I decided for practical reasons to reduce the length of the piece to about half its original duration, thus in this recording there are now 20 variations. Of course it took me a long time of thinking as to which variations to keep and which to remove and still keep the composition sounding as if this is the original version.

Like the 32 variations version, this present 20 variations version follow the same compositional patterns that Bach uses in his variations. Each new variation grows out of the previous one. Each has a specific harmonic language such as: in counterpoint, in fugues, basso ostinatos, canons, chaconne, etc. If one listens carefully, one can hear the music of Bach and the Bach’s theme of the variations.

I would like to quote a passage from a review of my variations by the renowned pianist, music professor, musicologist, and critic Robin McNeil (retired from teaching): “Keep in mind that this is a 21stt century piece… relying on the use of a Baroque period counterpoint. Boyadjian makes use of retrograde, inversion, variations of rhythmic figures and ornamentation, and canon. As the piece progresses, it begins to sound more and more familiar in spite of the avant-garde harmonies and enharmonic writing… It truly is an epiphany.”

Artist’s Statement
The artist’s function is to project in his/her art a reflection of contemporary life transmitted via one’s lifetime personal experiences. Taking into account to transmit these experiences into a format that is not only comprehensible but also original. That the artist would be influenced by the past is logical, but the artist must not imitate the past, he/she should adapt the past and give it a new direction, a new life.

The artist should have two obligations. First, the belief in the sincerity of one’s artistic creation, formulated by work and inspiration. And the second, is in considering that one’s contribution to the present aesthetic, derived from the aesthetics of the past, will become the seed from which will be born the aesthetic of the future.

— Hayg Boyadjian

Alternative Facts was composed as a reaction to the 2016 presidential campaign, election, and subsequent inauguration. Ever since he announced his candidacy we have, as a nation, endured a profound attack on reality, not to mention democracy, diplomacy, civility, and honesty. We now know first-hand the experience of passing “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There,” Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel. We are also living in George Orwell’s “1984” and the 1944 MGM film “Gaslight.” This is now our exhausting “alternative facts” daily life.

Composed for my long-time friend and colleague, the brilliant Emmy and GRAMMY-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, Alternative Facts was originally recorded at the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center Recording Studio, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music by multiple GRAMMY-winning engineer Rich Breen.

This short single-movement piece reflects the times we are living in. It is discombobulating, annoying, often loud, repetitive, confounding, crazy-making, tiresome, frenetic, all of the above. Fast (MM=280), with frequent meter changes, both serial and tonal elements, and alternating loud and quiet sections, the piece is a tour-de-force both in its original arrangement for piano and this arrangement for organ.

— Bruce Babcock

After hearing a performance of Hodkinson’s piano Episodes, Dr. Boyd Jones, Organ Professor at Stetson University, suggested that some of those pieces would also work well on organ. Hodkinson was willing to give it a shot, and in 2009 he completed his Organmusic, a series of six “tableaux” or “drawings” for organ that includes two sections based on the earlier piano work. Jones then premiered the work in 2011, and is the performer on this recording.

The title’s typography (conflating two words without a space) insinuates a German grammar that isn’t entirely surprising in music for organ. The movement titles themselves conjure a combination of liturgical inspirations (“Introit, Vesper”) with para-liturgical organ genres (“Toccata”), plainchant performance (“Signals and Responses”), and secular stimuli (“Swing Shift” and “Zephyr”). But the actual musical characters of the movement are sometimes delightfully ironic in a manner not often found in the works of Buxtehude or Bach.

Hodkinson notes that the opening “Introit” functions as the summoning of an “organ muse.” Two different tempi and moods alternate throughout the movement: a nervous, jaunty figure, and a more haunting, wandering temperament that recalls Erik Satie’s “Rosicrucian” organ works. This acts as a prelude to “Swing Shift,” which is actually less overtly secular than the title suggests. “Swing Shift” is characterized by wedging pitch clusters and anxious, spikey interjections, both ideas growing out of single repeated notes that have a hint of ritual about them.

“Signals and Responses” is adapted from the third of Hodkinson’s piano Episodes. There the score is marked “Suspended, indefinite,” conjuring a sense of the numinous. Sparse, ascetic, chant-like passages in octaves are played with mutation stops on the organ that create parallel harmonizations in the style of medieval organum. Interspersed between these passages are melancholic tremolos on misterioso harmonic progressions.

Hodkinson warns that “Zephyr” requires nimble fingers, but it is the agility of lightness and breath rather than muscular virtuosity. The title refers, of course, to gentle breezes, but is also a reminder that the organ is itself technically a wind instrument, and this movement plays on the organ’s “breath” as a leading timbral element. The melodic swirls and eddies are as transient as the breeze itself, passing through without announcing a conclusion.

If the title for “Swing Shift” sounded more secular than the music itself, then Hodkinson compensates with “Vesper,” where the music is a touch more worldly than the title implies. Vespers is one of the last of the daily liturgical Offices, and while the chant-like melody and open harmonies conform to medieval practice, the persistent grace notes in the melody and jazz colorations in the harmony put a more contemporary spin on the ancient rite.

The final “Toccata” is based somewhat on the last of Hodkinson’s piano Episodes (where it is titled “Exuberant”). Concluding a keyboard collection with a toccata may indicate a gentle nod to Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin — in the baroque period, toccatas typically began multi-movement works instead of concluding them. Here the unusual 14/16 meter produces asymmetrical patterns of moto perpetuo 16th-notes and jaunty rhythms that are not too dissimilar from Jehan Alain’s organ Litanies. The changing organ registrations allow this movement enhanced opportunities for timbral contrast over its piano cousin, coupled with an increased dynamic range.

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