Little Suite (for piano duet)

download Little Suite (1955) - complete [ mp3 - 7.2 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite - 1. Preludio (1955) [ mp3 - 2.6 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite - 2. Aria (1955) [ mp3 - 2.3 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite - 3. Ricercare (1955) [ mp3 - 2.4 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite (2008) - complete [ mp3 - 8.2 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite - 1. Preludio (2008) [ mp3 - 2.9 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite - 2. Aria (2008) [ mp3 - 2.9 MB ]
or listen:   
download Little Suite - 3. Ricercare (2008) [ mp3 - 2.5 MB ]
or listen:   

In the springtime of 1954 and of 1955 (my last two years as an undergraduate at the Eastman School of Music) I composed the first of what I consider mature works (as opposed to what Louis Meninni, my composition teacher at the time, called "baby pieces"). They were Introduction, Passcaglia, and Hymn, for organ, and a song cycle, Remembrances, for voice and piano.

I have no good recording of the first work. I wrote it in early 1954 for Margrethe Hokanson, who had been my piano and organ teacher my last two years at Meadville High School and the two years I spent at Allegheny College. She was a major influence in my musical career, as well as a strong supporter and dear friend for the rest of her life. She played the Hymn as part of the Allegheny College Baccalaureate Service at Stone Methodist Church in June 1954, the year I would have graduated from Allegheny if I hadn't transferred to Eastman. How I wish I had a recording of that performance!

Shortly after Remembrances I composed Little Suite, for piano duet, for a recital of my works I presented in Ford Chapel, Allegheny College, on 18 July 1955, after I received my Bachelor of Music from Eastman. I thought I ought to show my parents what they had spent all that money for.

Two friends from Eastman, Helen and Paul Baumgartner, happened to be at Allegheny that summer preparing to go to Japan as missionaries (1955-1958). During late June-early July (1955) I composed Little Suite for them. Theyíve done yeomen work performing this piece on many occasions for over fifty years! Iím very grateful to them for championing this work so well.

The recording from this recital was made on an early home tape recorder using its built-in microphone; the machine was sitting on a pew in the chapel. The recording is more than fifty years old and rather primitive compared to present standards. It was monophonic (in those days called, monaural). I've cleaned it up as best I can, but I canít entirely get rid of the hum and other noises, including the audience, and with the equipment I have I can do nothing about the slight waver. I'm just happy to have any record of this concert.

Since I especially like first performances of music (somehow to me they seem more exciting and vibrant than later performances) I include that 1955 recording here. Unfortunately a recording glitch destroyed a portion of the second movement, so there is a hiatus in the recording in the middle of that movement. I also present a recording of this work that the Baumgartners made on 18 March 2008 so that you can get a more modern sound version of it.

I give the complete work as: Little Suite (1955) and Little Suite (2008), and also provide separate files for each movement of both performances: 1 - Preludio; 2 -Aria; 3 - Ricercare.

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