Peter Winkler & Dorothea Cook | Silken Rags

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Silken Rags

by Peter Winkler & Dorothea Cook

Contemporary Classical - Music for violin inspired by popular music of many kinds - gospel music, tango, American popular song, Ghanaian highlife, etc.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Gospel Hymn
6:15 $0.99
2. Saboreando el Gust Cubano
5:29 $0.99
3. Afterglow
3:49 $0.99
4. Le Tango Eternel
5:22 $0.99
5. Fern Honey
4:52 $0.99
6. Yaa Amponsah
10:24 $0.99
7. Blue Ridge Samba
2:28 $0.99
8. Betty's Creek
6:36 $0.99
9. Waterborne (for violin and tape)
15:55 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Violinist Dorothea Cook and composer-pianist Peter Winkler met in 1987. From the first moment they played together, they knew there was a special musical chemistry between them. They fell in love overnight, and began a musical collaboration that has lasted ever since. Over the years, many of their fans have asked for a CD of their music, so here it is at last.

"The recent tendency among new music for greater sweetness, after all the clever ugliness of the past decades, has so often resulted in just saccharine. But Peter Winkler's Silken Rags CD is something else entirely. He has always been an ecstatic lyricist, even in his early spikier music, and in our tragic and unsettling age, his music actually makes a listener feel better about life, curing the soul."
(William Bolcom, Pulitzer-Prize winning composer, March 2005)

"Violinist Dorothea Cook was a familiar figure in Seattle musical circles before her move to New York several years back (she was a member of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, among many other groups). Now fans can hear her in something entirely different: a lovely and inventive disc of genre-bending compositions by her husband, Peter Winkler, a music professor at Stony Brook University. The music, for violin and piano, features the pair in rhythmically complex, harmonically rich music with influences extending from gospel and Caribbean to samba and tango - all performed here with remarkable flair and dash. (This disc is available at and"
(Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, March 2005)
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Co., All Rights
Reserved. (T6JQT978)

Peter Winkler writes, "Silken Rags, the name of our duo, suggests the combination of earthiness and elegance we aim for when we make music together. This collection reflects our love of popular music of many kinds - gospel music , tango, American popular song, Ghanaian highlife, etc. - and our attemp[t to capture some of the spirit and feeling of these styles within the medium of concert music for violin and piano."

Notes by the composer:

Gospel Hymn (1990) was inspired by the glorious sound of modern Gospel music in particular the music of Aretha Franklin and the Rev. James Cleveland. It is a stately hymn in 9/8 meter, introduced by a prelude in which the piano mimics an African mbira as the violin slowly unfolds a line ornamented with the "flowers and feathers" so beloved of Gospel singers.

Saboreando el Gusto Cubano (1994) was comissioned for the First Hemispheric Conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), held in Havana, Cuba, in October 1994. The title comes from the Spanish translation of the title of the paper I gave at the conference, "Tasting the 'Spanish Tinge'." Our translator (who rapidly became a fast friend) Juan Mari-Mas, suggested that the taste was more Cuban than Spanish, and we agreed. At the premiere in Havana, we were joined by Chory, a wonderful and charming Cuban drummer. On this recording we are accompanied by the versatile Connecticut percussionist, Anthony De Quattro.

Afterglow (1976), with its Caribbean lilt and valdectory air, is one of my favorite tunes, and I have recycled it a number of times. It began as a short, easy piano piece. I made a more complex arrangement for the clarinetist Jack Kreiselman, as part of a suite, "Clarinet Bouquet," then simplified that version (what my old Harmony teacher, William Denny, called "using the note comb") in this arrangement for Deede. Again, Tony De Quattro joins us in this recording.

Le Tango Eternel (1985) began as a duet for Winston Clark's off-Broadway show, Berlin in Light. The inspiration here is the passionate, sexy music of Astor Piazzola. The opening lines of Winston's lyrics suggest the emotional flavor: "You know that that's a lie/ I didn't bite Yvette/ I never wanted her/ I only wanted you."

Fern Honey (1972) subtitled "A Sentimental Rag," is the oldest piece in this collection. It is an evocation of a romantic evening, its mood tempered by a note of sadness and regret toward the end. Though originally written for violin and piano, it later became a part of "Clarinet Bouquet." The current arrangement was made in 1996.

Yaa Amponsah (1987-88) When I met Deede, I was still jet-lagged from a memorable IASPM conference in Accra, Ghana. One of our Ghanaian hosts, Klevor Abo, invited me to write my own version of the famous Highlife standard, "Yaa Amponsah," and this extended fantasy for violin and piano, my first composition for Deede, was the result. I have written about this piece and its model in my article, "In Search of Yaa Amponsah" published in the book Popular Music - Style and Identity (ed. Will Straw et al., Montreal, Centre for Research on Canadian Cultural Industries and Institutions, 1995)

Blue Ridge Samba (2001) came to me as I was driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway on Thanksgiving day, 2001, on my way to a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. It was an "I miss you" message to Deede, whom I had to leave behind. Though the shortest piece on this CD, it tells a complete story, with a bitter little twist at the end.

Betty's Creek (2003) was written under the spell of the music and the countryside of the Southern Appalachian mountains, at the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Ga. It's the newest piece on this CD, and marks a change of course for me, toward a simpler, more straightforward compositional style. I knew I was on the right track when Carlton Walker, the maintenance supervisor at Hambidge, overheard me working on the piece and expressed his admiration for it. Carlton is, among many other things, a guitarist and songwriter and assistant pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Rabun Gap. At his invitation, I played "Betty's Creek" for communion at his church. It was the perfect baptism for this piece.

Waterborne for Violin solo and tape (1991) Imagine the violin swimming through electronic sounds like an aquatic animal -- an otter, perhaps,. or a dolphin -- swimming through water. The music begins in the depths, as the violin sends out slow-motion vibrations that are echoed and transformed through the surrounding waters and caverns. A deep swell propels the violin to the surface, and she finds herself dancing down a tumbling, cascading stream, tossed about by the eddies and currents, nearly capsizing at times. Eventually the stream empties into a lake so still and so vast that it is impossible to know where the waters end and the heavens begin; one can hear the goddesses singing the world into existence. Waterborne was written and first performed while I was a visiting faculty member at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. I am especially indebted to Peter Randlette, who engineered and mixed this recording, for his sensitive ears and technical wizardry; for the final mix, Peter assembled no fewer than 18 different synthesizers!



to write a review

John DeAngelis

Gloriously diverse, beautiful, and highly listenable, too!
You can hear the samples and read the text, so I won't try to describe this music. Peter Winkler contributed some wonderful brass and string arrangements to one of my all time favorite late-1960s albums: "Definition" by Chrysalis (recently reissued on Rev-ola)so I'm thrilled to have this lovely album by him and his wife.

Frank D'Ippolito

lovely, beautiful, soul filling
I ordered this after hearing a performance of three compositions by these artists. My only disappointment is that one composition,Walnut Hill, is not included on this cd. Iam amazed that some of the country music my grandparents fiddled
when I was a lad could be heard in these classically beautiful sounds.