Music from Telluride
Fritz Kreisler [1875–1962] was one of the most beloved violinists who ever lived. For Kreisler’s final recording session, he chose the Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta, written in 1941. In the piece he pours his heart out in grief over the fate that had befallen his native Vienna, once so gay and then so sad and debased.
Larry London, composer and clarinetist, was born in Oakland, California in 1949. His composition teachers included Darius Milhaud, Terry Riley, and Lou Harrison. Starry Nights, Doggy Days was originally written for percussion ensemble and later rearranged for clarinet, violin, viola, and cello, in his own words “to give myself something to play,” and he goes on to describe the piece as “entertainment at some kind of Judeo-Irish lu`au.”
Anton Stepanovich Arensky [1861–1906] was born in Novgorod (then part of the Russian Empire). After his studies he was appointed a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Much of his fairly large output has fallen into obscurity, but his Piano Trio (dedicated to cellist Karl Davidov) remains his most highly regarded composition.
Efrem Zimbalist [1890–1985] and Fritz Kreisler were lifelong friends, each a fine composer as well as famous violin virtuoso. While Zimbalist was a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, his teacher Leopold Auer took the twelve-year-old to hear the legendary Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate [1944–1908] play his own Spanish Dances. In his nineties Zimbalist told Roy, “I remember the performance as if it were yesterday. The vitality, charming simplicity, and character in his playing of these little masterpieces, and above all his rhythm, remain indescribable.” Indescribable perhaps in words, but with Sarasateana Zimbalist was able to bring all these attributes out in music. It was his last work, and sadly he died just months before its première.