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American composers 20th century Almanac a series of original compositions by American composers commissioned and recorded by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant in aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These compositions were written to highlight important American holidays or seasonal observances. Today we're going to hear the first performance of chamber music for Christmas 1959 or bass soon and string trio performed by Robert Quayle Bastogne Lloyd Blackman violin Elizabeth elective Viola and Marjorie Ramsay cello. First here is grant the glary and the composer with a few words about his composition chamber music for Christmas was written during the months of June July August and late fall of 959
this is a piece written for a string trio of violin viola and cello and assume the choice of the bassoon to compliment the strings may seem odd but under the circumstances that I shall shortly account the choice would seem quite logical I hope. During the summer of 1050 9 I attended the school Berkshire School of Music in Tanglewood where I studied with Mr. Copeland Because at the time there were a number of excellent performers at the at Tanglewood so known by from foundation players. They had available to them to be had available to us the composers that is a number of instrumentalists of highest quality and among them an excellent bassoon player who asked everyone to write pieces for this instrument in conjunction with strings. The piece was begun there and as it developed it turned out that it would it
would be a suitable choice for the commission that I had received to write the music for Christmas. I wrote the first moment in Tanglewood and the next two movements. Later in Cleveland the movement titles are moderate till the first movement. The second movement is called Allegro conveyed by CI TA and the third andante. The central idea that. Permeates the whole work is stated first at the beginning of the piece by the bassoon and thereafter all the materials and all the movements are somehow or another related to this original statement. This statement consists of six notes which are developed through permutation or addition of intervals or notes or lengthening of note values to serve various functions
sometimes as a contrapuntal line series of compound lines which combine to make a core of sound or else used as a single melodic line against which certain accomplishment figures are played. This is somewhat of a departure from my previous style and actually the writing of this music took much longer than normally a piece of this length would require. But I am very grateful to have had this opportunity of first of having the performers more or less ready made and second to know that the perform the performance of the piece would be shortcoming and I should learn exactly how the piece came out off. The relationship of the music to the time of the year and your kitchen for which it was written is a subject which I
really should not go into without a greater deal of thought. But I feel that Christmas is often considered merely as a glorious or a happy time of the year and often one forgets that it is also meditative and pensive time of the year if you will poignant time of the year. The music of the chamber chamber music for Christmas I believe is that I believe it is meditative and I believe it is more lyrical than anything else. I feel that this is an important aspect of Christmas as the glorious choruses or amens and Hallelujahs that one usually hears appropriate before Christmas. All the movements more or less are subdued in their approach and the mood is that of peace peacefulness and calm. Even the fast
moment the second movement which is the fast moment of the peace is not really extremely fast temple. And while for instance the quarter in the three for Measure equals 160 which is fairly rapid time the tendency for the ear is to hear to combine the three beats of a three for Measure into one approximately 55 or Psalm 54 actually to the beat and to the measure which makes it rather slow. I hope Of course that there would be enough differentiation made in the style of performance between the first to the outer movement and the middle moment so that the middle movement would sound fast. The instrumental writing for the bassoon has been kept in such a way has been done in such a way
that I don't believe the bassoon will come out as a solo instrument against which the strings function either as a group or an opposing group. The bassoon has been I hope incorporated totally into the chamber music sound and I don't think the audience will be even aware at times that there is a woodwind instrument involved in the strings. I have felt that this would be a more proper approach because the title was chamber music and the bassoon has become an equal partner with the other string instruments. The ending of the of the last of the movement of the last movement somewhat resembles the beginning of the work and I feel that
in this manner the work has some sense of completion formally as well as in mood. The mood tends to be that of a gradual development from a peaceful beginning into more agitation and more agitated state and gradually subsiding to a calm and serene ending. As I said I would like to repeat in conclusion that the music is primarily a lyric piece and the aspects of the joyfulness perhaps are not overstressed and it's pensive and met the piece of music that was a grand jury and now Robert Quayle Bastogne Lloyd
Blackman violin Elizabeth lick DVOA and Marjorie Ramsay cello will perform for the first time chamber music for Christmas 1959 will back soon and string trio.
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American composers 20th century almanac
Grant Beglarian: Christmas
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 559-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:22:36
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Chicago: “American composers 20th century almanac; Grant Beglarian: Christmas,” 1960-08-31, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 31, 2023,
MLA: “American composers 20th century almanac; Grant Beglarian: Christmas.” 1960-08-31. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 31, 2023. <>.
APA: American composers 20th century almanac; Grant Beglarian: Christmas. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from