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George Crumb

October 24, 1929 -
born in Charleston, WV, composed during the Contemporary period
George Crumb was one of the most distinctive compositional voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century. A charter member of the "New Virtuosity" movement, Crumb developed an expansive musical palette noted for its emphasis on extended instrumental and vocal techniques, its rich and sophisticated musical allusions, an evocative theatricality, and a poet's sense of sonorous detail.

Crumb was born in West Virginia in 1929 into a musical family, and studied at various schools in the Midwest as well as at the Berlin Hochschule as a Fulbright Scholar. He eventually joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he composed and taught for three decades. His highly intuitive approach to composition, with its emphasis on texture, timbre, and line, bore substantial fruit during the 1960s, including the Madrigals (1966-1969), Eleven Echoes of Autumn (1965), and, inspired by the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Night of the Four Moons (1969). Echoes of Time and the River, one of Crumb's rare orchestral works, earned the composer the Pulitzer Prize.

Crumb's style remained remarkably consistent during the subsequent decades. Black Angels (1970) used a dizzying arsenal of extended techniques to evoke a surreal soundscape of the Vietnam War. Star Child (1977) applied Crumb's acute ear for nuance to an impressive vocal/orchestral ensemble. Ancient Voices of Children (1970), with its unimaginable timbral variety and taxingly dramatic vocal lines, became a near-instant classic of the postwar period. It also demonstrated the resonance between his compositional style and the writing style of Garcia Lorca, whose poems would repeatedly serve as the inspiration for and/or words to a number of Crumb's pieces.

Crumb's works became known also for their almost choreographic visual elegance in performance -- and, in fact, numerous dance companies have composed dance pieces to be performed with his work. Crumb's poignant use of musical borrowing and stylistic allusion also add a sense of reflective history and introspection to his compositions. In some cases, this visual approach to design spills over into the very notation: some of the pieces in the two-volume keyboard collection Makrokosmos (1972-1973) appear engraved on staves that turn and twist into a variety of curious Zodiac symbols. Having eschewed process-oriented compositional techniques, his output slowed in later years as greater demands were placed on his creative faculties to find continually new sounds and inspirations -- though by the turn of the century, his historical importance was already firmly established. ~ Jeremy Grimshaw, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Makrokosmos Vol. 1 & 2: 24 Fantasy Pieces after the Zodiac for Amplified Piano

Title: Makrokosmos I, For Amplified Piano
Title: Makrokosmos II, For Amplified Piano
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Track List: Complete Crumb Edition 9; Ancient Voices of Children, Madrigals Books I-IV, Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik

Title: Ancient Voices Of Children, For Mezzo- & Boy Soprano, Oboe, Mandolin, Harp, Amplified & Toy Piano, & 3 Percussionists
Title: Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik (A Little Midnight Music) Ruminations On 'Round Midnight By Thelonius Monk, For Amplified Piano
Title: Madrigals, For Soprano & Chamber Ensemble, Books 1-4
x

Track List: Complete George Crumb Editon, Volume 7 - Unto the Hills, Black Angels

Title: Unto The Hills, For Soprano, Piano & Percussion Quartet
Title: Black Angels (Images I), for electric string quartet
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Track List: Crumb: Songs, Drones And Refrains Of Death

Title: Songs, Drones And Refrains Of Death, For Baritone, Electric Guitar & Double Bass, Amplified Piano & Harpsichord, & 2 Percissionists
Title: A Little Suite For Christmas, A. D. 1979, For Piano
Title: Apparition, For Soprano & Amplified Piano
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Track List: George Crumb Edition, Vol. 15

Title: The Ghosts Of Alhambra (Spanish Songbook No. 1), For Baritone, Guitar & Percussion
Title: Voices From A Forgotten World (American Songbook No. 5), For Solo Female Voice, Male Voices, Amplified Piano & 4 Percussionists
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Track List: George Crumb: Songs, Drones, And Refrains Of Death

Title: Songs, Drones And Refrains Of Death, For Baritone, Electric Guitar & Double Bass, Amplified Piano & Harpsichord, & 2 Percissionists
Title: Quest, For Guitar, Soprano Sax, Harp, Bass & 2 Percussionists
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Track List: George Crumb: Vox Balaenae (Voice Of The Whale)

Title: Vox Balaenae, For 3 Masked Players: Electric Flute, Electric Cello & Electric Piano
Title: Federico's Little Songs For Children, For Soprano, Flute/piccolo/alto Flute/bass Flute & Harp
Title: An Idyll For The Misbegotten (Images III), For Amplified Flute & 3 Percussionists
Title: Eleven Echoes Of Autumn (Echoes I), For Alto Flute, Clarinet, Violin & Piano

Comments

I get chills everytime
Ah, George Crumb! One of the greatest, ever! -- da Capo < Howdy Doody! Aaron The Perfidious anti-ethics Hun @Pandora_Rad i o Want to take this to court? Think I won't? Good. > YouTube: unixcab /////// www.esperanc e s p . c o m /////// Would like to fine a few ZERO <0> polito-conne c t e d - i n f e s t e d - O R G e d actresses and actors in Albany, NY (Dutch, 1609 ) Thank you, now.
Ah, George Crumb! One of the greatest, ever!
.......heeee e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e b o y !

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