The Angelo Piano Duo | Helen's Song

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Astor Piazzolla George Cables Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Helen's Song

by The Angelo Piano Duo

Stylish and passionate performances showcase the versatility of this piano duo; from the romanticism of Rachmaninoff to jazz great George Cables along with a rag fantasy by William Bolcom, a tango by Astor Piazzolla and a fun take on Bizet’s Carmen.
Genre: Classical: Keyboard Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Six Morceaux, Op. 11: No. 1, Barcarolle
The Angelo Piano Duo
5:14 $0.99
2. Six Morceaux, Op. 11: No. 2, Scherzo
The Angelo Piano Duo
2:56 $0.99
3. Six Morceaux, Op. 11: No. 3, Russian Theme
The Angelo Piano Duo
4:02 $0.99
4. Six Morceaux, Op. 11: No. 4, Waltz
The Angelo Piano Duo
3:51 $0.99
5. Six Morceaux, Op. 11: No. 5, Romance
The Angelo Piano Duo
2:50 $0.99
6. Six Morceaux, Op. 11: No. 6, Slava
The Angelo Piano Duo
4:40 $0.99
7. Helen's Song
The Angelo Piano Duo
6:59 $0.99
8. Oblivion
The Angelo Piano Duo
4:43 $0.99
9. The Serpent's Kiss (Rag Fantasy)
The Angelo Piano Duo
5:51 $0.99
10. Moonlighting 2
The Angelo Piano Duo
2:49 $0.99
11. Fantasy on Themes from Bizet's Carmen for 2 Pianos, 8 Hands
The Angelo & Riga Piano Duos
9:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Angelo Piano Duo's new CD, "Helen's Song," features a concert arrangement for two pianos by Bruce Cameron Munson of jazz artist George Cables' classic standard, "Helen's Song." The new CD also includes works by Rachmaninoff, William Bolcom, Astor Piazzolla, a beautiful jazz ballad by Armenian composer Mikhail Kokzhaev, and a live recording of Mack Willberg's "Fantasy on Themes from Bizet's Carmen" for two pianos-eight hands with The Riga Piano Duo.

Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the most brilliant pianists of the 20th century. His compositions are considered the last major musical expression of the Romantic era. The "Six Morceaux" are among the earliest of Rachmaninoff’s mature works. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1892 and, within two years, he had already made a reputation for himself as a pianist and as a composer. Composed in 1894, this seldom-heard work reflects themes of yearning and passion and displays some of Rachmaninoff’s famous intricate passagework.

George Cables was classically trained as a youth, and when he started at the “Fame”- worthy New York High School of Performing Arts, he admittedly “didn’t know anything about jazz.” George has since performed and recorded with some of the greatest jazz musicians of his time, including Joe Henderson, Roy Haynes, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson and Dizzy Gillespie. He has emerged as a major voice in modern jazz and is currently performing and recording as a soloist, with his trio, and larger ensembles, and appears as a clinician in college jazz programs. Composed in 1985, "Helen’s Song" was inspired by George's soul mate and partner, Helen Wray. “With the opening vamp and melody in D major I hoped to describe the bright yet calm demeanor of Helen’s presence. From there the piece goes on to describe a wistful and romantic and somehow grounded person. Instead of starting the solo section or development with the same chords as the melody as usual, I tried to be as unpredictable as Helen by starting elsewhere and expanding that section. I just hope it did her justice.” George Cables

Bruce Cameron Munson is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley Music Department and active as a composer and arranger. In 2009, he launched his own music editing and engraving business, Munson Music Services & Consulting. Munson wrote the two-piano concert arrangement of "Helen’s Song" for The Angelo Piano Duo in 2006. “When given the opportunity to arrange George Cables’ signature standard, "Helen’s Song," for piano duo, my first thought was: how am I going to transform this great jazz tune with its complex form into a much lengthier concert piece for two pianos, and still maintain an improvisational feel? The answer was to treat the form of the solo section as a kind of theme and variations. After stating the head of the tune, I begin to venture out and interpret the solo section through my impressions of other great modern jazz pianists. So it is the feel of the music that is varied throughout, changing from the original Latin groove to swing and back, going from rhapsody to ballad, and even adding a little inside piano and piano case percussion. But it is not just in the solo section where the various musical personalities come into play. They are actually there from the start in various and subtle ways, all joining George in interpreting his masterful composition.” Bruce Munson

Astor Piazzolla was born in Argentina to Italian parents. The family moved to New York’s Little Italy in 1925, and Piazzolla’s musical education was shaped by American jazz and popular music, in particular, the jazz orchestras of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. In 1952, Piazzolla won a grant from the French Government to study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. “She was like a second mother to me and encouraged me to return to Argentina and compose my own music, music by Piazzolla.” His “New Tango” or “chamber” tango was music of great passion, drama and sophistication, not ro be danced to, but listened to and experience as one would a Beethoven or a Bartok string quartet. "Oblivion" was composed in 1984 for the film, Heinrich IV. Rodolfo Alessandrini and Sara Bartolucci (Duo Pianistico di Firenze) wrote this arrangement for one piano, four hands.

William Bolcom studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills College in Oakland and at the Paris Conservatory, completing his doctorate at Stanford University in 1964. He is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. "The Serpent’s Kiss" was originally composed for solo piano in 1969 as one of the four rags from the Suite, "The Garden of Eden," which tells the story of The Fall in ragtime. It was arranged for two pianos by the composer in 1994. “My explorations in all sorts of music from America’s past have been to learn the roots of our musical language, so that I can build from them.”

Armenian composer, Mikhail Kokzhaev was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and graduated from the Baku Conservatory. He received his Ph.D. from the State Institute of Arts of the Russian Federation in Moscow and has been a professor at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, Armenia since 1998. Kokzhaev has received numerous awards, most notably First Prize in the Aram Khachaturyan Competition. His musical compositions embrace multiple styles and genres. Kokzhaev has also published a number of articles and books on scientific research pertaining to the adequacy of compositional devices, artistic sense and the problems of musical space. "Moonlighting 2" was composed by the impression of the performance of the actress Cybill Shepherd and was dedicated to her. The Angelo Duo first heard this gem performed by the Riga Duo at a piano duo festival in Siauliai, Lithuania.

Mack Wilberg is active as a pianist, chamber musician, clinician, composer, arranger, and guest conductor throughout the USA and abroad. He was a member of the American Piano Quartet, for which he has arranged many works including the "Fantasy on themes from Bizet’s Carmen" for two pianos, eight hands. Wilberg’s "Carmen Fantasy" has been in great demand ever since the American Piano Quartet’s premiere performance in 1990. Nine minutes are packed full of humor, animation, polytonality, and contrasts! This recording of the Angelo and Riga Duos is a live performance from the Closing Gala Concert at the 2nd Salkind International Piano Duo Festival.



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George Cables

Helen's Song
Helen's Song has had many incarnations but the most unique is an arrangement by Bruce Cameron Munson for classical duo. It's performed by The Angelo Piano Duo on a CD titled (appropriately, I think) Helen' Song. Cathy and Tony Angelo have been champions of this format for sometime and have pushing to do Helen's Song this way for many years. I'm really excited about this.