Author Topic: Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer  (Read 3948 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2010
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer
« on: April 22, 2012, 07:17:03 AM »
I searched, couldn't find a Topic here on him.   I've just recently become aware of his work.
I am very fond of the Concerto for Chamber Orchestra, 1967.   :)

All Music, The Grove, L.o.C. :

Robert Hall Lewis was born in Portland, OR, and lived in Baltimore, where he taught at Goucher College and the Peabody Institute; he was artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore. He is highly regarded not only as a composer of large-scale symphonic works, but also as a performer of considerable skill on jazz and classical trumpet and piano. He was a student of Pierre Monteux and is an established conductor, having performed with the major orchestras of Europe and America. His primary composition teachers were Nadia Boulanger and Hans Erich Apostel.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Lewis, Robert Hall
(b Portland, OR, 22 April 1926; d Baltimore, MD, 22 March 1996). American composer. He studied with Rogers and Hanson at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York (BM 1949, MM 1951, PhD 1964), with Nadia Boulanger and Bigot in Paris (1952–3), and with Apostel, Krenek and Schiske in Vienna (1955–7). In 1954 he attended Monteux’s conducting school. Lewis taught at Goucher College and the Peabody Conservatory from 1958 and, from 1969 to 1980, at Johns Hopkins University, where he became professor in 1972 (all in Baltimore, Maryland). He performed professionally on the trumpet and appeared as a conductor in the USA and abroad. Among his awards are a Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Award (1951), two Fulbright Scholarships (1955–7), two Guggenheim Fellowships (1966, 1980), an NEA grant (1976) and an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1976).
Lewis composed mostly chamber and orchestral music. His earlier compositions were concerned with linear developmental processes using serial methods, but the ordered growth and evolution apparent in his music of the 1960s and 70s reflect a change in style. Beyond his basic predilection for inventive textures, unusual timbres, complex rhythms, fluent polyphony and rich harmony in a freely atonal context, Lewis sought new modes of expression in works since the early 1970s. These include spatial effects (Moto, Due madrigali), quotations (Atto, Kantaten), taped sounds (whale songs in Nuances II), passages in different tempos played simultaneously (Osservazioni II, Moto) and limited use of aleatory techniques. All of these elements are controlled by a strong intellect and by technical skills of the highest order. Many of his works have been recorded.
WORKS
orchestral
Poem, str, 1949; Concert Ov., 1951; Sinfonia; Expression for Orch, 1955; Prelude and Finale, 1959; Designs, 1963; Sym. no.1, 1964; Music for 12 Players, 1965; 3 Pieces, 1965, rev. 1966; Conc. for Chbr Orch, 1967, rev. 1972; Sym. no.2, 1971; Intermezzi, 1972; Nuances II, 1975; Osservazioni II, wind, kbd, hp, perc, 1978; Moto, 1980; Atto, str, 1981; Sym. no.3, 1982–5; Conc., str, 4 tpt, hp, pf, 1984; Destini, str, wind, 1985; Movements on Scenes of Hieronymous Bosch, 1989; Sym. no.4, 1990
chamber
Str Qt no.1, 1956; 5 Movts, pf, 1960; Str Qt no.2, 1962; Toccata, vn, perc, 1963; Music for Brass Qnt, 1966; Trio, cl, vn, pf, 1966; Monophonies I–IX, solo wind, 1966–77; Tangents, double brass qt, 1968; Sonata, vn, 1968; Divertimento, 6 insts, 1969; Inflections I, db, 1969; Inflections II, pf trio, 1970; Serenades I, pf, 1970; Fantasiemusik I, vc, pf, 1973; Combinazioni I, cl, vn, vc, pf, 1974; Osservazioni I, fls, pf, perc, 1975; Serenades II, fl + pic, vc, pf, 1976; Combinazioni III (J. Rubin), nar, ob + eng hn, perc, 1977; Combinazioni IV, vc, pf, 1977; Duetto da camera, vn, pf, 1977; Facets, vc, pf, 1978; Fantasiemusik II, cl, pf, 1978; A due I, fl + pic + a fl, hp, 1981; A due II, ob + eng hn, perc, 1981; Combinazioni V, 4 va, 1982; Serenades III, brass qnt, 1982; Wind Qnt, 1983; Archi, pf, 1984; Fantasiemusik III, sax, pf, perc, 1984; A due III, bn, hp, 1985
vocal
Acquainted with the Night (R. Frost), S, chbr orch, 1951; 5 Songs (R. Felmayer), S, cl, hn, vc, pf, 1957; 2 madrigali (G. Ungaretti), chorus, 1972; 3 Prayers of Jane Austen, small chorus, pf, perc, 1977; Kantaten (anon.), chorus, pf, 1980; Monophony X (anon.), S, 1983
Principal publishers: Doblinger, Presser, Seesaw
BIBLIOGRAPHY
L. Gonzalez: The Symphonies of Robert Hall Lewis (diss., Peabody Conservatory, 1979)

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Library Of Congress Acquires Papers Of American Composer Robert Hall Lewis
The Library of Congress announces the acquisition of the archives of Robert Hall Lewis (1926-1996)—American composer, conductor, and educator—whose chamber and orchestral works have been performed widely in America and Europe.
The Robert Hall Lewis Collection, a gift from his widow, Barbara Bowersock Lewis, includes 87 completed music compositions, both printed and manuscript, that Lewis wrote mainly for chamber ensembles and orchestra. It also includes other printed music by contemporary 20th-century composers, correspondence, biographical and teaching materials, writings, programs, photographs, sound recordings, and other related materials.
The donation complements existing collections in the Library’s Music Division that document the work of major contemporary 20th-century American composers and artists, such as Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.
Lewis graduated with distinction in composition from the Eastman School of Music with master’s and doctorate degrees in music, where his principal teachers were Bernard Rogers, Burrill Phillips and Howard Hanson. His doctoral thesis was his Symphony No. 1, which he completed in 1964. He also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Hans Erich Apostel in Vienna, where he received the graduation prize in composition from the Vienna Academy of Music in 1957.
Apostel had a great influence on Lewis’ compositional methodology and on his teaching philosophy, and it was under his tutelage that Lewis developed his particular compositional style.
Lewis said that he adhered "to no particular school or system of composition" and that he considered himself to be an "independent maximalist." Lewis claimed that "it is very important that a composition have an original, distinctive character and an identity of its own, devoid of the obvious, derivative tendencies and commercial influences that surround us in much music today." His intent, he said, was to create a music of genuine interest to the listener, alternately surprising, provoking, soothing, stimulating and hopefully inspiring—an experience comparable to the limitless facets of existence.
Major symphony orchestras both in America and Europe have performed Lewis’ work, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His chamber and choral music works have been presented by many prestigious groups, such as the Gregg Smith Singers, Aeolian Chamber Players, American Brass Quintet, Chicago Contemporary Players and the Twentieth Century Consort.
During his long career, Lewis received many honors and awards, among them a Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Scholarship, two Fulbright scholarships, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Walter Hinrichsen Award for Composers, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, several fellowship-grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Maryland State Artist Fellowship Award. He also won ASCAP awards annually for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1969. He served as composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome and scholar-in-residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Italy.
Among the organizations that commissioned Lewis to compose new works were the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the McKim Fund, and the Kindler Foundation, all at the Library of Congress; the Baltimore Symphony; and American Composers Orchestra. Beginning in 1957, he began four decades of teaching at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md. During this same period, he also taught at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and he was artistic director of the Baltimore Chamber Music Society for almost 20 years, from 1964 to 1983.
The Robert Hall Lewis Collection will be available to researchers in the Library’s Performing Arts Reading Room, LM-113, Madison Building, after its organization and a finding aid are completed. The Library acknowledges the diligent and helpful work of Mrs. Robert Hall Lewis, Nancy McCall, Avi Bloomenstiel and Frederick Mauk, who collaborated in the processing of the collection.



Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2010
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2012, 07:18:14 AM »
There's a nice sampling of his stuff on YouTube.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2012, 08:49:01 AM »
Oy, I can't believe you started a Thread on Bob! ;)

I never met him, but was aware of him in Baltimore. I think I had most of the cds available at one time, but currently only have the NewWorld disc with Symphony No.4, which, by the way, reveals a wonderful Composer of High Modernism. I would equate him most with Lutoslawski, but he is at once the most Italian of US Composers, shimmering, glittering. I do pull this cd out often.

I remember two male students (verrry gay with lip gloss and... this IS Baltimore after all ::)) coming into the record store and going on about the bitter old man,... I wonder if Hall was one of those Modernists who felt absolutely rejected,... I suspect there was some of that,... I can imagine him up at Goucher, haha (girls college).

Anyway, now I'm feeling nostalgic. I would pull the cd out, but I did so last week!,... see? Ahhh, Baltimore, what a shithole! Dog poop capital! San Francisco + Seattle (or is it Portland?) = Baltimore, haha :P ;D!! Oh, those were some times in the early '90s, ahhh.

Mmm, ok, that's all, haha!!


ps- I remember the one cd with the whale stuff, and the other with Moto (that CRI disc really brings out the Italian). Then I think there was a third Chamber disc (but no String Quartet :'( (was it 7 Environments?)).

Offline starrynight

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 580
  • Location: Britain
Re: Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 01:38:38 PM »
Osservazioni II (1978) isn't bad.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 05:38:23 AM »
Osservazioni II (1978) isn't bad.

That's on the same CRI as Moto I believe? Yes, very influenced by the Italians.

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2010
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Robert Hall Lewis - (1926-1996) obscure American composer
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2012, 06:09:32 AM »
I've liked just about everything I've heard by him - nothing blazingly original but all quite well crafted.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.