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BENJAMIN LEES (1924-2010): Piano Sonata No. 4: Adagio

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Published on Jun 6, 2010

Ian Hobson, piano

from Albany TROY227 (1997)

http://www.albanyrecords.com

One of the first "non-mainstream" American composers I discovered in my early adventures in modern music was Benjamin Lees, who died on Memorial Day of this year. He was born in China, was raised in San Francisco, spent time on Long Island, and finally settled in California. His music is modern but he adhered to no "systems." He was true to himself and wrote in a style that is very lean, energetic and hard-hitting. I had the fortune to speak to him a couple of months before his death about a possible video project which I still hope to do. - Mike Bregman

If you like Copland and Prokofiev, then you'll find Lees' music in the same tradition.

There is a fact in American music that can no longer be overlooked. There are a great number of composers who are very important and who are routinely overlooked by the major labels. This is shameful. In the fifties through the seventies the music of Benjamin Lees, relatively speaking, was everywhere; the concert hall and on LPs released by RCA Victor, Turnabout, Louisville and more. So, when you have a magnificent pianist, Ian Hobson, performing the music of an equally magnificent composer, Benjamin Lees, you have an important disc. The Piano sonata No. 4was commissioned by the Ford Foundation for Gary Graffman and given its world premiere in Norfolk, Virginia. The Fantasy Variations are dedicated to Emanuel Ax who gave them their world premiere on February 1, 1984 at the Kaufmann Concert Hall in New York City. Mirrors, in six sections was composed for Ian Hobson. The first four sections were premiered by Mr. Hobson in Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Since that premiere in 1992, Mr. Lees added at least two more sections. Here we have a disc that will really appeal to all lovers of contemporary American piano music: no - in fact, contemporary music in general.

Contents:
Benjamin Lees, composer
Piano Sonata No. 4
Ian Hobson, piano

Benjamin Lees, composer
Mirrors, in Six Sections
Ian Hobson, piano

Benjamin Lees, composer
Fantasy Variations
Ian Hobson, piano

Review:
"The rugged, restless, often contrapuntal piano music of American composer Benjamin Lees gets a virtuosic workout here with pianist Ian Hobson.the spareness of Lees's harmonies and the clarity of his musical narrative coexist with haunting bursts of lyricism and a continual exploitation of hard, tensile piano sonorities. He sounds a bit like an American Frank Martin. This is intellectually stimulating, emotionally involving music, powerfully performed, with realistic, unadorned piano sound." (American Record Guide)

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Ian Hobson
  • Album

    • Works for Piano
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • The Orchard Music (on behalf of Albany Records); Imagem Music (publishing) US, and 1 Music Rights Societies

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