Author Topic: Wallingford Riegger  (Read 6276 times)

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gomro

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Wallingford Riegger
« on: September 20, 2007, 05:36:50 PM »
Reading the Ruggles thread reminded me of Riegger, who was once considered at least the equal of Varese, Cowell, Ruggles, etc., but now appears to have been forgotten. I recall a CRI disc, back in the days of vinyl, that had his Study in Sonority (for 10 strings or any multiple of 10); a lively, invigorating work, unafraid of dissonance, but not overbearing for all that. I also found this site, which has a performance of his monolithic, dramatically stereophonic Music For Brass Choir from 1949:
http://artofthestates.org/cgi-bin/piece.pl?pid=182

Anyone else familiar with his work? Have any anecdotes to share? Know how his last name is pronounced? ; )


pjme

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2007, 01:38:26 AM »
I cherish an old recording of a Fantasy and Fugue for organ & orchestra  (Polish performers). Quite Schoenbergian ,as far as I can remember, energetic & vital - but definitely OOP.
I ordered this CD last week :



It has symphony nr 4, the Variations for piano & orch. and the Variations for violin & orch. The "First Edition" series is a great treasure trove of  (mostly forgotten) music.



This Cd has chamber & pianoworks ( a concerto for piano & windquintet)

 I really plan to explore more of this mysterious artist....
« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 01:53:27 AM by pjme »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2007, 02:01:37 AM »
Anyone else familiar with his work? Have any anecdotes to share? Know how his last name is pronounced? ; )

qoute]



Well, you asked for "any anecdotes to share". So, here's one. Riegger falls into the category of composers who died following an 'accident'(like Chausson, Franck, Granados and Webern). He fell over a dog's leash during a snowstorm! Apparently the dog was engaged in fighting another dog!

An interesting composer. I too have the CD reissued by First Edition Music containing the 4th symphony. I would like to hear his 3rd symphony which is highly spoken of. Riegger is certainly easier on the ear than Roger Sessions!

Does anyone know what has happened to First Edition Music? Their website has been offline for some time now.


« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 12:25:10 PM by Dundonnell »

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2007, 04:18:28 AM »
Definitely a composer worthy of revival. I've never heard a work by him that wasn't worthy of knowing. I've also never seen his name on a CD, only on old LPs, rarely on major labels.

He was notable for playing both sides of the Stravinsky/Schoenberg divide. He wrote both Neoclassical and 12-tone scores.

johnQpublic

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2007, 04:59:26 AM »
Riegger's "Music for Brass Choir" is a terrific piece. It's dissonant as heck and yet the structure is clear and dramatic, so many listeners can buy into his tough language.

Another work of his I like, but is more consonant, is his Sextet for Woodwinds and Piano (or atleast I think that's its title).

Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 12:54:04 AM »
Here he is when rather younger:


We too would really like to hear more of his music, since he was aware of and praised the best features of Schoenberg's later work. Just like Brahms, he wrote four symphonies and three string quartets, and that too indicates that he was a sensible serious man (unlike some of his pupils may we say). But we do not like the sound of his mercifully unpublished "Quintuple Jazz" for orchestra. One reason why his works are so seldom performed and recorded in his native land lies perhaps with all those agit-prop workers' songs he wrote and published under pseudonyms.
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2008, 03:31:11 AM »
Anyone else familiar with his work? Have any anecdotes to share? Know how his last name is pronounced? ; )

qoute]



Well, you asked for "any anecdotes to share". So, here's one. Riegger falls into the category of composers who died following an 'accident'(like Chausson, Franck, Granados and Webern). He fell over a dog's leash during a snowstorm! Apparently the dog was engaged in fighting another dog!

An interesting composer. I too have the CD reissued by First Edition Music containing the 4th symphony. I would like to hear his 3rd symphony which is highly spoken of. Riegger is certainly easier on the ear than Roger Sessions!

Does anyone know what has happened to First Edition Music? Their website has been offline for some time now.





First Edition are an excellent series: I have a few, Roy Harris Symphony 5, Malipiero Piano Concerto, Hovhaness, Cowell etc. The composer Alkan also died in an accident, when a cupboard fell on top of him whilst he was reaching for some music manuscript paper.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2008, 08:32:33 AM »

First Edition are an excellent series: I have a few, Roy Harris Symphony 5, Malipiero Piano Concerto, Hovhaness, Cowell etc. The composer Alkan also died in an accident, when a cupboard fell on top of him whilst he was reaching for some music manuscript paper.

Hmm..I fear that may be past tense now. The website has been down for so long now and I can find no explanation. I wonder if the company has gone the same way as Olympia did not so long ago. That would be very sad; there were so many good pieces waiting to be transferred to CD.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 11:51:26 AM »
Hmm..I fear that may be past tense now. The website has been down for so long now and I can find no explanation. I wonder if the company has gone the same way as Olympia did not so long ago. That would be very sad; there were so many good pieces waiting to be transferred to CD.

Sad news if that's the case. Olympia were bankrupted by the Myaskovsky series and the illness of the owner. First Edition seemed to release a lot of CDs at once. Maybe this bankrupted them too. I hope not.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Ephemerid

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2008, 01:12:35 PM »
The only think I've heard by Riegger was a 5 minute piece for woodwind quartet (if I recall correctly) on the New World Records label-- I forget the title-- its been ages since I've heard it, but I remember how much I loved that little piece!  I should try hunting for it & investigating him more...

I seem to recall reading a story told by Virgil Thompson (I think it was him) who dropped in to visit Riegger & he was sitting at the piano just banging the same dissonant chord over and over and over again.  Thompson asked him what he was doing & he said something to the effect of "I'm trying to tell if I like this damn chord or not!" LOL  (I think it was Thompson-- correct me if I'm wrong)

Kullervo

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2008, 01:28:35 PM »
I seem to recall reading a story told by Virgil Thompson (I think it was him) who dropped in to visit Riegger & he was sitting at the piano just banging the same dissonant chord over and over and over again.  Thompson asked him what he was doing & he said something to the effect of "I'm trying to tell if I like this damn chord or not!" LOL  (I think it was Thompson-- correct me if I'm wrong)

I've heard a similar anecdote, but it was Carl Ruggles, and he said he was "giving it the test of time."

Ephemerid

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2008, 01:32:56 PM »
I've heard a similar anecdote, but it was Carl Ruggles, and he said he was "giving it the test of time."
Oh, no, it must've been Ruggles then (I get their names mixed up).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2009, 02:23:04 PM »
For those who might be attuned to Riegger's wavelength I can recommend this disc(available from New World records).

It contains the Symphony No.3-which must rank along with the Sessions No.2 as one of the first twelve-tone American symphonies?
A gritty work but well-constructed and ruggedly intense, the symphony is coupled with the similar Music for Orchestra, two much lighter and attractive short pieces for orchestra(the Romanza and Dance Rhythms), the Concerto for Piano and Wind quintet, and three powerful works for brass(the Nonet, Music for Brass Choir and Movement for Two Trumpets, Trombone and Piano).

All of these recordings are from the archives and the performance of the symphony is a mono recording by the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra under Howard Hanson.

Riegger's music can be quite tough and acerbic(at least for my conservative tastes!) but he was an important figure now rather forgotten. Carter-who definitely has his own admirers here-had a very great respect for Riegger :)

Franco

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2010, 09:47:22 AM »
Interesting composer, but not much available on CD.

Here's a Youtube link to his String Quartet No. 2 (first two movements) and on the same page are links to other works.

This looks interesting, Wallingford Riegger: Music for Piano & Winds

From the Wikipedia article,
Quote
Along with Cowell, Ives, Carl Ruggles, and John J. Becker, Riegger was a member of the group of American modernist composers known as the "American Five".

Who's John J. BeckerSomething to wonder about.  But a little rich for my wallet.

Online listener

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2010, 01:06:12 PM »
Interesting composer, but not much available on CD.

Here's a Youtube link to his String Quartet No. 2 (first two movements) and on the same page are links to other works.

This looks interesting, Wallingford Riegger: Music for Piano & Winds .

Originally on Everest LP   SDBR 3081
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snyprrr

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2010, 06:04:44 PM »
Wasn't he a Communist?

I had the Piano&Wind disc, and, mmm, eh, it's ok,...it just wasn't enough. I would have rather had the two main pieces on a various disc.

I've also tried that CRI disc from the library a few times, and yes, I think it's the Brass Choir Music that's hot, but a good portion of the album is yer typical 1950s type stuff, mm,...  Riegger's just not doin it for me. I will check that SQ out, though.

I like Becker better (and the rest of them).

snyprrr

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2014, 08:28:50 AM »
bump?

Offline Leo K.

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2014, 02:27:25 PM »
I'm glad this thread was bumped up. I have a real fondness for Riegger and have been listening to him along with Sessions and Carter.

I particularly love the Symphony No.3, Piano Quintet and String Quartet!

snyprrr

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2014, 03:25:33 PM »
I'm glad this thread was bumped up. I have a real fondness for Riegger and have been listening to him along with Sessions and Carter.

I particularly love the Symphony No.3, Piano Quintet and String Quartet!

Are those last two available?? :o

Offline Leo K.

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Re: Wallingford Riegger
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2014, 09:33:54 AM »
Are those last two available?? :o

I have broadcast recordings of the Piano Quintet (w/ Beveridge Webster & Juilliard Quartet) and two of the String Quartets (w/ New Music Quartet and Juilliard Quartet). I found these on the old 'Unsung Composers' forum. These recordings are in their archives I believe. Great stuff indeed!