Susan Nowicki is a faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music where she coaches for the Vocal Studies Department. She has performed throughout the United States on piano, fortepiano and harpsichord and frequently performs with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. An avid performer of contemporary music, Ms. Nowicki has premiered and performed works with Network for New Music and Orchestra 2001, and has recorded contemporary music for the Albany, Capstone, De Haske and North-South labels. She has also produced and performed on a release of chamber works by Jan Krzywicki for Albany Records.
Ms. Nowicki is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician for music festivals and competitions. She maintains private piano/coaching studios in Philadelphia, PA, and Lawrenceville, NJ, and is an instructor/clinician for The Balanced Pianist summer programs. She is a former faculty member of the Taubman Institute at Amherst and Williams College.
1 Tango Nr. 3, from Suite for Two Guitars………….……Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
Astor Piazzolla first heard a performance by guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad in 1983 and was so impressed by their playing that he wrote three original tangos for them shortly afterward. Piazzolla popularized and expanded on the tango tradition by blending its sensual, emotional essence with influences of jazz and classical music. The virtuosic flourishes, energetic syncopation, and overall drama of the Tango Suite for guitar duo embody this unique style. The version on this recording was transcribed for tuba and piano by Carol Jantsch.
Reverie and Pursuit…………………………………………………….Chiayu (b. 1975)
2 I.Earth Hymn
3 II. The Hunt
From the Composer:
“Reverie and Pursuit is inspired by Carol Jantsch, principal tubist from the Philadelphia Orchestra, who has shown me that the tuba can produce a diverse and agile range of sounds. It is with this in mind that I attempt to bring out the different aspects of the instrument with two very different movements. The chordal structure that opens Earth Hymn leads to a recurring pastoral theme which depicts a peaceful, natural setting. The movement develops gradually from the initial chordal structure to increasingly contrapuntal voices. The faster tempo and asymmetric accents of the second movement are intended to convey the variable rhythms of nature. The Hunt contains exciting moto perpetuo sections which balance with the slow introduction and middle section.”
Chiayu was born in Banciao, Taiwan. She was the winner of the Sorel Organization’s 2nd International Composition Competition, the 7th USA International Harp Composition Competition, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Awards, the Maxfield Parrish Composition Contest, and the Renée B. Fisher Foundation Composer Awards, among others. Her work has been performed by Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, and Prism Quartet. Prior to entering Duke University, she studied at Yale University School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music.
4 Cascades……………………………………………………..Allen Vizzutti (b. 1952)
“Equally at home in a multitude of musical idioms, Allen Vizzutti has visited 40 countries and every state in the union to perform with a rainbow of artists and ensembles including Chick Corea, 'Doc' Severinsen, the NBC Tonight Show Band, the Airmen Of Note, the Army Blues and Army Symphony Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, Woody Herman”—among others, too many to list. Trumpeter Allen Vizzutti’s extensive and impressive biography is a testament to his originality and prowess as a player. He is an active soloist (both classical and jazz), music educator, and composer; and he has a tremendous discography, including performances on over 100 motion picture sound tracks. Cascades, which he recorded on his album A Trumpeter’s Dream, is a technical showpiece well-suited to his stupefying abilities on the trumpet. The version on this disc is merely transposed down from the trumpet part an octave and a fifth in order to lie in the relative key for F tuba.
5 Adagio, from “The Limpid Stream”………………Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
The Limpid Stream (or The Bright Stream) is Shostakovich’s third and final ballet score. The ballet premiered in 1935 and was an enormous success, until Stalin himself saw a performance in early 1936 and the production was heaped with official disapproval. At that point, the ballet was immediately banned, the careers of its key creators were all but destroyed, and the librettist was even sent to the Gulag. It is suspected that this harsh punishment had more to do with the recent memory of Shostakovich’s unabashedly grotesque opera Lady Macbeth of Mtensk District rather than The Limpid Stream itself: the ballet, with its light, fluffy score and upbeat portrayal of life on a collective farm, seems like the perfect sycophantic gesture toward the Communist government. Nonetheless, the ballet vanished until its recent revival in 2003 by the Bolshoi Ballet.
This excerpt from The Limpid Stream is from a cello solo in Act II. It was transcribed for tuba by Harri Miettunen and arranged for tuba and piano by Roger Bobo.
Scaramouche………………………………………………Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
6 I. Vif
7 II. Modéré
8 III. Braziliera
Originally written for two pianos, Scaramouche was commissioned for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. Milhaud drew from incidental music he had written to accompany the Moliére comedy Le Médecin Volant and the play Bolivar, and the result was this three-movement suite. Doubtful for its success, Milhaud was hesitant to get the piece published. His publisher insisted, however, and Scaramouche was greeted with such worldwide success that Milhaud arranged it for saxophone and orchestra. New arrangements kept appearing in its lasting popularity, but not all were written by Milhaud. This version for tuba and piano is a transcription of Milhaud’s version for clarinet and piano.
9 Capriccio…………………………………………….Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933)
Krzysztof Penderecki is known not only as Poland’s leading composer of the modern age, but also as one of the world’s greatest living composers. For the occasion of a music festival in Krakow held in his honor, Penderecki wrote his Capriccio for solo tuba in 1980 for his fellow countryman Zladislaw Piernik, a very talented tuba player and advocate for new works for the instrument. The Capriccio explored the capabilities of the instrument and player with its large interval leaps, successions of rapid notes, nimble musical gestures, and even a few extended techniques; and the lack of bar lines throughout the piece allows for a good amount of freedom of musical interpretation on the part of the player. Despite (or perhaps because of) these challenges, the piece has been wholly embraced by the tuba world, and is one of the most celebrated works in the tuba repertory.
Violin Concerto in D minor (1940)………………….Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
10 I. Allegro con fermezza
The Violin Concerto in D minor was written for the great Russian violinist David Oistrakh, who premiered the piece in Moscow on November 16, 1940. Khachaturian’s characteristic composition style, which draws heavily from his Armenian musical heritage, is evident in the Violin Concerto’s rhythmic drive and folk-infused melodies. The Violin Concerto is truly a Romantic work, in its virtuosity, unaffected expression, and clear, diatonic musical language; and its broad appeal has caused it to remain a popular and frequently performed composition. In 1968, Jean-Pierre Rampal created a transcription for flute and orchestra under Khachaturian’s encouragement. For this arrangement, Rampal wrote a new cadenza, but otherwise tried to stay as close to the violin version as possible. The same method is applied in this version for tuba and piano: every effort is made to be true to the original, and the tuba cadenza is written by Carol Jantsch.
11 Clarinet Polka………………………………………………………….Traditional
The polka is a lively, two-step couple dance with origins in mid-nineteenth century Bohemia. The form was so contagiously fun that it spread quickly throughout Europe and the United States, and was even adopted into classical music of the period by such composers as Bedrich Smetana and both Johann Strauss, Sr. and Jr. The tradition is kept alive today by various ethnic groups across the United States. Clarinet Polka is a showpiece designed to feature either solo clarinet or the clarinet section of the band. This version is an arrangement for two tubas and piano.
Carol Jantsch, tuba
Susan Nowicki, piano
Fritz Kaenzig, tuba (track 11)
Gail Niwa, piano (tracks 5 and 11)
Producers: Matt Vaughn, Nitzan Haroz, Dave Murray, John Vanore
Recorded and Mixed by John Vanore
Assistants and ProTools operators- Brian Diabiagio and Glenn Carty
Mastered by Acoustical Concepts Inc.
Recorded at Widener University Studios, Chester, PA
Graphic Design: Jeffrey Curnow
Scott Devereaux: page turning, moral support
Katy Ambrose: page turning, “percussion”
Chiayu: for writing me a piece
Fritz Kaenzig: for helping me get good
Adam Unsworth: for all the advice
John Vanore: for being so amazing at what you do
Carol Jantsch, tuba
Susan Nowicki, piano