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Irwin Bazelon

General Info

Year: 1985
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Novello
Cost: Score and Parts - $0.00   |   Score Only - $0.00



Player I: Wood block, cow bell, guiro, finger cymbal, susp. cymbal, triangle, bell tree, woodchimes, claves, snare drum, temple blocks (5)
Player II: Wood block, tam tam, log drum(2), snare drum, bongos, tom- toms (3), bass drum
Player III: Vibraphone, chimes, tam tam
Player IV: Marimba


Program Notes

commission: University of Wisconsin - River Falls; premiere: 6 May 1985, River Falls

Irwin "Bud" Bazelon is a study in the complexities of human personality: this multifacted individual, whose creative achievements are staggering in their diversity and richness, is difficult to classify in any traditional sense. Born in Illinois in 1922, he earned a BA in 1945 and an MA in 1946 from DePaul university where he studied piano with Magdalen Messmann and composition with Leon Stein. From 1946 to 1948 Bazelon came under the private tutelage of Darious Milhaud at Mills College in California. He augmented his studies with Ernst Bloch at the University of California. Most noted for his "Short Symphony" and the nine second NBC television musical signature, the composer is credited with seven symphonies, three piano sonatas two string quartets in addition to several scores to films and commercial jingles. Bazelon's principle works for percussion include Propulsions (six percussion), Double Crossings (trumpet and one percussionist), Concatenations (four percussion and viola), and Suite for Solo Marimba. His book Knowing the Score, provides an insider's view of the composers and music that have contributed an emotional backdrop to movies. In his short stay at Oberlin in December, 1985, the bushy browed composer displayed some of his many talents and interests as he barked final advice to the Fourscore quartet on the eve of the work's performance and espoused his opinion on everything from horse racing to pop music, through a cloud of pungent cigar smoke, during the post-concert reception. In many ways Fourscore typifies the diverse nature of its composer. Throughout this work, Bazelon's ongoing fascination with unique timbres and sonorities is clearly in evidence: the semi-muted sound of padded mallets on the chimes, the use of various playing areas on the cymbal, as well as the interplay of a dual soloistic line (marimba and vibraphone) in a group setting, are a few examples of the composers ear for unusual sound colors. The jazz-like sound of the vibraphone justaposed against the concert sound of the marimba and the overall driving nature of the piece give this, otherwise abstract, work a somewhat pragmatic sound. Finally, the composer sums up this piece, and his very urbane music as a whole, with his comment to David Ewen, "I like fast over slow, high over low, loudness to softness. I'm a dramatic composer. My music snarls rather than caresses, but I am not afraid to write a melody."

Reviewed By: John Raush

Review Originally Published: Winter 1990


Commercial Discography

Recent Performances

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Works for Percussion by this Composer

Bazz Ma TazzPercussion Sextet; with Trombone Ensemble
ConcatenationsPercussion Quartet; with Viola
Cross CurrentsPercussion Solo; with Brass Ensemble
Double CrossingsPercussion Solo; with Trumpet
Fire and SmokeTimpani Concerto; with Wind Ensemble
Fourscore – Percussion Quartet
PartnershipPercussion Duo
PropulsionsPercussion Septet
Sound Dreams – Percussion Solo; with Chamber Ensemble
Suite for Marimba (Bazelon)Marimba Solo
Three Men on a Dis-coursePercussion Solo; with Clarinet; with Cello
Triple Play – Percussion Solo; with Trombone

Additional Resources