Livingston Gearhart (1916-1996) studied with the famous composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. His life and career spans a wide variety of pursuits, from music education to popular music for TV and radio.
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This disc contains a selection of fascinating compositions including both original and arranged works. Read more about what is included on this disc below.
London Bridge Variations for String Quartet (1990)
In 1990 Gearhart wrote a humorous set of variations for string quartet in which each movement is written in the style of a famous composer. The work is intended as sophisticated musical humor, but if you do not realize the premise, one can easily believe the movements are authentic works by the imitated composers themselves. In spite of the humor, the resulting composition is an exceptionally beautiful work in its own right. To order the music click here.
Schubert’s Unfinished Quartet (fragment completed c. 1990)
(Franz Peter Schubert)
Gearhart began with the Andante fragment Schubert wrote as the second movement of his famous Quartetsatz. He then extrapolated a completion in the style of Schubert. Such a wonderful project, it shows us what might have been had Schubert completed the work. It is presented on this disc with the first movement as Schubert’s Unfinished Quartet. To order the music click here.
Hommage à A.C. (1957)
This work was written for Aaron Copland when he was Composer-In-Residence at the University of Buffalo in 1957. Gearhart’s friendship with Copland began when he was a composition student of Nadia Boulanger in Paris in the late 1930's and lasted until Copland’s death in 1980. This piece uses the motive A-C as the basis for a work.
Chausson Poéme -- Concert Version (arr. 1986)
Gearhart did various concerto reduction revisions over the years, but the Chausson Poéme is by far the biggest project he tackled -- most of the piano part is altered in some way. In Gearhart’s version there are many minor voicing changes, figuration changes, as well as one passage for the piano which is completely transposed for ease of reading. The biggest change occurs in the climax of the work, where the piano part has been completely re-written in the romantic violin sonata style (a la Franck). The resulting work is much more like a violin sonata than a work for violin and orchestra. To order the music click here.
Four Pieces for Violin and Piano (1955/1977)
The first three pieces were written by my father in 1977 as Christmas presents for members of his family. Utilizing the musical alphabet in different languages, the letters of family names became the motive for 4 short works. Many composers have exploited this idea -- from Bach to Shostakovich. For the free music, click here -- scroll to the bottom.