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ROBERT MUCZYNSKI

ROBERT MUCZYNSKI

Works

Recordings

Reviews


Robert Muczynski (1929-2010) has been described by Fanfare as "…one of our country’s best composers." Indeed, his works have travelled the globe with performances in the major cities of Europe, Australia, and the Orient. His orchestral and chamber music has been featured at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Wigmore Hall in London, and many other significant venues.

Muczynski studied composition with Alexander Tcherepnin at DePaul University, Chicago during the late 1940’s. His principal piano teacher during his undergraduate and graduate years at DePaul was Walter Knupfer. At age 29 Muczynski made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall, performing a program of his own compositions for piano. At this time he was head of the piano department at Loras College in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Muczynski’s compositions were beginning to attract an international following. His Sonata for Flute and Piano received the Concours Internationale Prize in Nice, France, in 1961 and is now unanimously regarded by audiences, critics, and performers as an important addition to the flute repertoire.

Considered one of America’s most distinguished contemporary composers, Muczynski retired as Professor Emeritus from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1988 after serving as head of the composition department and composer-in-residence for 23 years. During these years he was the recipient of many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 41. Other awards include two Ford Foundation fellowships and more than thirty ASCAP creative merit awards. His works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments and chorus are now familiar throughout the world. Muczynski was also honored when his Second Piano Sonata was awarded first prize at the Fifth International Piano Competition in Sydney Australia, in 1992.

Robert Muczynski passed away on May 25, 2010.



Works

Chamber Ensemble | Orchestra | Piano




Chamber Ensemble


Concerto for Alto Saxophone Version for Wind Ensemble (1980-81) -- 18'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Additional Information: Arranged by Trent Kynaston.


Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 41 (1980-81) -- 18'
1-1-1-1; 1-1-0-0; Timp., 2Perc., Pno., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Trent Kynaston
Premiere Information: Kalamazoo Chamber Orchestra, Trent Kynaston, saxophone, Yoshimi Takeda conducting, Western Michigan University, November 1, 1981.
Additional Information: Alternate version for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble also available.

Available Separately:

Piano Reduction (#414-41153)


Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (1969) -- 13'
Published: #114-40494
Premiere Information: Samuel Fain, clarinet, Gordon Epperson, cello, and Muczynski, piano, University of Arizona, Tucson, March 18, 1970
Recordings
Reviews


First Piano Trio, Op. 24 for Violin, Cello and Piano (1966) -- 17'
Published: #114-40448
Premiere Information: Gordon Epperson, cello, Steve Folk, violin, and Muczynski, piano, University of Arizona, Tucson, March, 1969
Reviews


Moments, Op. 47 for Flute and Piano (1992) -- 12'
Published: #114-40672
Premiere Information: Alexandra Hawley, flute, and Paul Hersh, piano, Merkin Conert Hall, New York, March 14, 1993
Recordings
Reviews


Quintet for Winds, Op. 45 (1984-85) -- 12'
Published: #114-40444
Commission Information: Oklahoma Wind Quintet
Premiere Information: Oklahoma Wind Quintet, Music Educator’s National Conference, Anaheim, April, 1986


Second Piano Trio, Op. 36 for Violin, Cello and Piano (1975) -- 13'
Published: #410-41243
Commission Information: The Western Arts Trio
Premiere Information: The Western Arts Trio, University of Wyoming, Laramie, November 13, 1975
Reviews


Third Piano Trio, Op. 46 for Violin, Cello and Piano (1986-87) -- 18'
Published: #114-40489
Commission Information: The Western Arts Trio
Premiere Information: The Western Arts Trio, University of Houston Recital Hall, June, 1988
Reviews


Time Pieces, Op. 43 for Clarinet and Piano (1982-83) -- 17'
Published: #114-40410
Commission Information: Mitchell Lurie
Premiere Information: Mitchell Lurie, clarinet and Muczynski, piano, International Clarinet Congress, London, August 15, 1984
Recordings
Reviews


Trio, Op. 31 for Violin, Viola and Cello (1977) -- 16'
Published: #114-40173
Commission Information: Linton String Trio
Premiere Information: Linton String Trio, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, June 4, 1972
Reviews



Orchestra


A Serenade for Summer, Op. 38 (1976) -- 7' 30"
0-1-0-1; 1-0-0-0; Timp., Hp., Cel., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Arizona Chamber Orchestra, Robert Hull conducting, University of Arizona, Tucson, September 15, 1978


Symphonic Memoir, Op. 39 (1978) -- 17'
3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3-1; Timp., 6Perc., Pno., Hp., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Tucson Symphony Orchestra, George Trautwein conducting, Music Hall, Tucson, January 11, 1979



Piano


Desperate Measures, Op. 48 (Paganini Variations) Paganini Variations for Piano (1995) -- 10'
Published: #410-41307
Recordings
Reviews


Dream Cycle, Op. 44 for Piano (1983) -- 10'
Published: #410-41254
Commission Information: United States Information Agency’s Artistic Ambassadors Program
Premiere Information: Nancy Weems, Denmark, July, 1983


Masks, Op. 40 for Piano (1980) -- 4' 30"
Published: #410-41234
Commission Information: Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition at Brigham Young University
Recordings


Second Piano Sonata, Op. 22 (1965-66) -- 17'
Published: #410-41284
Premiere Information: Richard Faith, University of Arizona, Tucson, November 27, 1967
Recordings
Reviews


Third Piano Sonata, Op. 35 (1973-74) -- 16'
Published: #110-40620
Premiere Information: Richard Faith, University of Arizona, Tucson, December 1, 1975
Recordings
Reviews


Recordings


Third Piano Sonata, Op. 35


Laurel Records LR-863:
Muczynski, piano.



Time Pieces, Op. 43 for Clarinet and Piano


Klavier No. 11073:
Contemporary Clarinet; Charles West, clarinet and Susan Grace, piano.



Hungaroton Records HCD-31877:
Trio D' Echo



Crystal Records CD 737:
Mitchell Lurie, clarinet; Muczynski, piano.



Laurel Records LR-863:
Mitchell Lurie, clarinet; Muczynski, piano.



Albany Records TROY 311: Spontaneous Lines
Nathan Williams, clarinet; Andrea Andrist, piano.



Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano


Hungaroton Records HCD-31877:
Trio D' Echo



Moments, Op. 47 for Flute and Piano


Naxos Classical No. 8.559001: American Classics
Alexandra Hawley, flute; Muczynski, piano.



Masks, Op. 40 for Piano


Laurel Records LR-863:
Muczynski, piano.



Second Piano Sonata, Op. 22


Laurel Records LR-862:
Muczynski, piano.



Desperate Measures, Op. 48 (Paganini Variations) Paganini Variations for Piano


Laurel Records LR-863:
Muczynski, piano



Reviews

"One of the few contemporary composers whose compositions are not merely technical exercises but have something to say."

-Winthrop Sargeant, The New Yorker

"Robert Muczynski writes music that is true to his own voice."

-The Arizona Daily Star

"Again and again, I am admiring the personal drama and lyricism in the piano writing of Muczynski— which gives the pianist every opportunity of displaying his musicianship and virtuosity."

-Alexander Tcherepnin

"… one of America's foremost living composers in the traditional vein… an unpretentious, understated mode of expression that occupies a midpoint between the poles of neo-Classicism and neo-Romanticism… Musczynsk's work maintains a consistently high standard of workmanship and artistic quality."

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare

"Few American composers of the present day write as well for the keyboard as does Muczynski."

-George Anson, Clavier

"Robert Muczynski has produced a formidable body of music — primarily for piano solo and small chamber combinations — notable for its consistently fine workmanship and impeccable taste, its sincere and authentic musicality, and its modest but appealing and clearly defined character."

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare


Third Piano Sonata, Op. 35

"…an exciting, powerful and lyrical work. We have come to expect refined and imaginative compositions from Muczynski and this is one of his most stimulating and important piano works."

-The American Music Teacher

"…intensely dramatic… with its extraordinary syncopations and accelerated tempos…"

-Judy Gruber, The Washington Post

"…explores a markedly different formal design [from Trios 1 & 2]… Muczynski's slow movements often evoke reflective moods that are haunting in their dark beauty."

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare

"Never excessively difficult, the entire work glows with original writing, marvelous rhythmic touches, and fine contrapuntal inner melodies. A fine concert work by an American composer."

-George Anson, Clavier


Trio, Op. 31 for Violin, Viola and Cello

"…vigorous and feisty"

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare

"…a vigorous work showing individuality, good lyrical ideas and an accomplished handling of the three instruments. The combination of Muczynski's melodic ideas, craftsmanship and discipline was noteworthy and the music was easy to enjoy on the first hearing."

-Gail Stockholm, Cincinnati Enquirer


Time Pieces, Op. 43 for Clarinet and Piano

"…this suite was alive with jazzy rhythms and piercing turns of blues harmony. These Amercanisms were shrewdly set over crisp, neo-classical background textures. Many American pieces written in the past 50 years fit that description. But Muczynski’s probed its materials with deftness, vigor and expressive insight that made it outstanding. It made a listener want to find out more about this composer."

-David Noble, Albuquerque Journal


First Piano Trio, Op. 24 for Violin, Cello and Piano

"… delightful… Both the first and last movements are so infectious that they almost require immediate repetition. No one who hears this trio will ever feel that pure, absolute music for small ensemble needs to be dry and dull."

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare


First Piano Trio, Op. 24 for Violin, Cello and Piano

"This succinct, skillfully crafted chamber work in classical form once again proved that Muczynski deserves more attention than he gets: few other composers of our time so skillfully apply the lessons of the romantic era in drawing a symphonic sound from the piano as he does… in the dreamy third movement, the violin and cello floated on a cloud of gentle piano arpeggios."

-Wayne Lee Gay, Fort Worth Star Telegram

"The understatement of the year would be to say that this is a meaningful piece. As a work of culmination it lacked nothing in terms of excitement and originality."

-Dorothy Moreton, Tuscon Citizen


Third Piano Trio, Op. 46 for Violin, Cello and Piano

"The sometimes modal melodic writing is grateful for the string players, while the music’s nifty rhythms are unmistakably transatlantic… Good amateur players will enjoy looking at this…"

-Richard Drakeford, Musical Times


Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano

"Muczynski’s jumpin’ and jivin’ Fantasy Trio delivers the goods American style… Trenchantly laced with brashness, sass, and mordant asides… A joyous album!"

-Adrian Corleonis, Fanfare


Moments, Op. 47 for Flute and Piano

"The work has all the Muczynski fingerprints: nifty kinetic rhythmic syncopations, a sort of sinister moodiness, with a thoroughly integrated ‘bluesy’ flavor, and a phraseological symmetry somewhat reminiscent of Bartók. I suspect that Moments will achieve a foothold in the flute repertoire."

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare


Second Piano Trio, Op. 36 for Violin, Cello and Piano

"…proved a wistfully romantic work, conventional in syntax but not without originality."

-Tim Page, The New York Times

"A beautifully grave opening soon gives way to another sizzling allegro. The somber second movement culminates in a powerful climax, while the third movement builds to a driving conclusion. …this is one of the composer's most deeply searching creations."

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare


Second Piano Sonata, Op. 22

"…an eloquent major statement fully equal in stature to the Samuel Barber sonata, and a welcome alternative to that somewhat overplayed work"

-Walter Simmons, Fanfare


Desperate Measures, Op. 48 (Paganini Variations) Paganini Variations for Piano

"Desperate Measures deserves to become a valued and popular addition to the concert repertory and would be a refreshing alternative for piano competitions."

-William T. Spiller, California Polytechnic State University, MLA Notes

"…Astoundingly pianistic."

-Piano & Keyboard