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For 1, 2 & 3 Pianos

Tomas Svoboda

Classical, Avant-Garde
Music for 1, 2, and 3 pianos
upc# 6 11226 00132 2

Duration: 61 min.

Price: $14.95

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Svoboda in Review

Svoboda image
photo: Jan Kavan Sr.

"...a talent to be reckoned with."
-- San Francisco Examiner

"...skillfully made...exciting virtuosity...brilliant scherzo..."
-- American Record Guide, re: "Four Visions for One, Two and Three Pianos." (Jan-Feb 2003 issue)

"...most heartfelt and appropriate... decidedly Coplandesque in its harmonic language, yet with something original to say as well."
-- New York Times; re: Svoboda's Chorale in E flat (homage to Aaron Copland) Op. 118 for Piano Quintet

"...most heartfelt and appropriate... decidedly Coplandesque in its harmonic language, yet with something original to say as well."
-- New York Times; re: Svoboda's Chorale in E flat (homage to Aaron Copland) Op. 118 for Piano Quintet

"...as talented in playing the piano as he is in writing for it."
-- Los Angeles Times

"...bridges the gap between tonal and atonal music..."
"...dramatic and often texturally complex."
"...a totally personal and very interesting musical voice."

-- David Denton - Fanfare Magazine (March-April 2001 issue)

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cover: Jan Kavan Sr.

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sheet music in bound volumes available at
www TomasSvoboda.com


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SONATA for Two Pianos, Op.55 (1969-72)  
    [1]  Variations LISTEN
    [2]  Fugue LISTEN
    [3]  Rondo LISTEN
SUITE for Piano 4-hand, Op.124 (1985)  
    [4]  Toccata LISTEN
    [5]  Nocturne LISTEN
    [6]  Finale LISTEN
FOUR VISIONS for Three Pianos, Op.158 (1999)  
    [ 7 ]  Lento maestoso LISTEN
    [ 8 ]  Vivacissimo LISTEN
    [ 9 ]  Moderato lugubre LISTEN
    [10]  Moderato - Vivacissimo LISTEN

About the Music

RE: Suite for Piano Four-Hands, Op. 124, wrote Corey Rubin, classical music DJ for the University of Chicago radio station, 88.5 FM. WHPK, "Of today's selections, this one impressed me the most. Svoboda's music is very modern, and yet I couldn't help but be continually reminded of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances for Two Pianos. This work is extremely interesting and extremely powerful."

Sonata for Two Pianos, Op. 55 belongs to an earlier stage in the composer's life; it was written in Portland (1970-72). The work was commissioned by the Festival of Contemporary Arts at Chico State University, where it was premiered the 11th of March, 1973 by Allan Martin and Tomas Svoboda.

In the first movement is introduced, in a brisk energetic unison, a theme of complex rhythmic drive and quick chromatic shifts, which cycles through all three movements. After its uplifting introduction, a peaceful section casts the same theme in a contrasting augmentation and altered rhythm. While the whole first movement follows the classical sonata form, each segment is clearly presented in the manner of a variation - a hybrid sonata-variations form with the expected ternary structure: exposition, development and recapitulation.

The second movement is a slow, majestic fugue. An uncommonly long subject, derived from the sonata theme, incorporates characteristic melodic leaps in both directions - motivic fragments easily recognizable in their entrances in various voices. Highly contrapuntal, it displays multiple voices in unified doubling chords, exploiting the full range of the piano. In a defined binary division the second part of the fugue engages the subject in its inversion. A closing episode, heard in the first half, is then extended in the Coda where both pianos, in a canon separated by eight beats, stride peacefully to the close.

The third and final movement is in a strict rondo form where the dance carries a fragment of the sonata theme. The refrain's third repetition recalls the sonata theme at full length, however in augmentation and altered rhythm. The virtuosic Coda accelerates, ultimately reprising fragments of the principal theme in their original order.
[ 1st Piano: David Svec, 2nd Piano: Tomas Svoboda ]

Suite for Piano 4-hand, Op. 124, was composed for Tomas Svoboda's daughter Lenka when she was 13 years old. With her father they offered a premiere performance in an informal midday concert at Portland State University in 1986. The work's three movements (Toccata, Nocturne and Finale) are separate musical thoughts, their moods are quite contrasting, and were written at different times between 1984 and 1985.
[ Primo: David Svec, Secundo: Tomas Svoboda ]

Four Visions for Three Pianos, Op. 158 is a recent composition completed in 1999. It was premiered in its entirety at Reed College in Portland, Oregon on the 12th of March, 1999 with Jeffrey Payne at 1st Piano, Tomas Svoboda at 2nd Piano and Mika Sunago at 3rd Piano. Unfortunately a stereo recording does not fully realize the composer's vision for the work, which would ideally be heard in a full surround context, placing the listener precisely at the center of the ensemble, arrayed in a perfect triangle. Arranged thusly, the logical relationship between the three pianos is clearly exposed as the organizing principle to the complex score. The November 19, 1994 performance, by Maria Choban, Kenn Willson and Tomas Svoboda, at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, of the excerpted first movement, treated the audience to this ideal configuration, enclosing the small assembly in a triangular formation of the three pianos.

The work's serious nature reflects the composer's deep concern for our time. In his own words, "Being dependent on civilized comfort and luxury, our modern lifestyle harms the environment, disrupting the natural balance - evolving to an unanswered question, in this, our magical homeland. Each movement is inspired by a vision of unending expansion of the familiar structures so symbolic of our irrepressibly burgeoning civilization."
[ 1st Piano: Daniel Wiesner, 2nd Piano: Tomas Svoboda, 3rd Piano: David Svec ]

For More information, sound clips & scores:


Tomas Svoboda's works are heard
on the NPM recordings:

Chamber Works - The Definitive Collection - beautifully packaged 5 disc set of Svoboda's NPM releases

Dreams of a Dancer - Trio Spektrum

Chamber Works - Vol. 1 - With Clarinet - composer at the piano with Michael Anderson and members of OFAM

Children's Treasure Box - composer at the piano

Music from Bohemia - Trio Spektrum

Nine Etudes in Fugue Style - composer at the piano

Piano Four Hands - Tomassetti & Cooper

Piano Trios - Members of the Martinu String Qt. w/ the composer at the piano. (recipient of a 2001 American Record Guide Critics' Choice Award)

Piano Works, Vol. 1 - composer at the piano

String Quartets, No. 1-4 - Martinu Quartet

go to: North Pacific Music Home Page

email us: NPM@NorthPacificMusic.com

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