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Gloria Coates | Gloria Coates "Music on Open Strings" STring Quartets NOs. 1,2 & 4

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Classical: Contemporary Avant Garde: Microtonal Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Gloria Coates "Music on Open Strings" STring Quartets NOs. 1,2 & 4

by Gloria Coates

1986 international Koussevitzski finalist KIRA, Kronos Quartet & Bavarian Radio Symphony; microtonal, classical avant garde.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Music on Open Strings:Theme and Transformation
5:24 album only
2:35 album only
3:51 album only
5:39 album only
4:35 album only
5:47 album only
3:11 album only
4:40 album only
3:24 album only


Album Notes

The Music of Gloria Coates
LP ProViva ISPV 128

“Gloria Coates has created symphonies with the compelling intellectual and expressive power equal to the great symphonic composers of the Old World, but with the vivid imagination and freedom of an artist from America.”
Rheinischer Merkur, Germany, H. Malcomess

This widely acclaimed first recording of Gloria Coates’ ‘Music on Open Strings’ “Symphony No. 1”was voted along with Philip Glass’ ‘Satyagraha’ and Berio”s ‘Sinfonia’ as one of the 10 finalists for the 1986 International Koussevitzsky Award (KIRA). Composed in 1973, it was premiered on the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 1978 by the Polish Chamber Orchester under Jerzy Maksymiuk, and proclaimed throughout the press as a high point of the festival for its originality. The recording here is from a live Musica Viva Concert in Munich in 1980 performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Elgar Howarth. It is is witness to the first time in the 35 year history of Musica Viva that an orchestral work by a woman composer was performed on that important series. Besides “Music on Open Strings”, the other pieces on the recording are three of her nine string quartets composed between 1971 and 1976, brilliantly performed by the Kronos Quartet .

"Gloria Coates is one of the most startlingly individual figures on the contemporary music scene. Most superficially, she is the most prolific female symphonist in history. More significantly, she has made a career out of the slow glissando in orchestral and ensemble music. To avoid caricature, this latter point requires amplification. The elements of Coates’s music are generally few in number, easily described, often odd, and oddly combined, giving her music an instantly recognizable profile. One recurring element is slow string glissandos. Another is wavery textures of faster glissandos, at varying rates. Another is conventionally tonal chorale writing, often quoting previous music. Another is simple, even marchlike rhythmic patterns, sometimes offset within her favorite 5/4 meter. The essence of Coates’s music is not any one of these elements, but their juxtaposition and combination sometimes even their indistinguishable fusion into some of the strangest textures in recent music. She brings together the straight and the curved, the familiar and the weird, the hard-edged and the vague, the tonal and the beyond-atonal, and sets us down in musical landscapes which disallow our usual figure-ground experiences of focusing within a musical texture."
Quotation from 'Gloria Coates and the Fusion of Irreconcilables'
by Kyle Gann

Having lived in Europe for the past 3 decades an introverted life, it is only in recent years that her music has reached a larger audience, primarily by past live performances now being heard on major labels such as Naxos and cpo. Her most recent disc with her “Symphony No. 15” climbed to No. 1 on the EMusic downloading charts in all categories last February.

Gloria Coates’ music has been praised in such publications as “The Wire” being 3 times on the best of the year lists, the ‘New York Times’, ‘Los Angeles Times’, ‘BBC Music Magazine’ with 5 stars, ‘Village Voice’ with Pick Hit, Gramophone, Critics’ Choice on ‘Billboard Magazine” , ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’, among others.

Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, Gloria Coates began composing at an early age, winning a National Federation of Music Clubs Composition Contest at the age of twelve. After earning a Masters of Music Degree in Composition at Louisiana State University, she continued postgraduate studies in composition at Columbia University with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson. From 1975 to 1983 she taught for the University of Wisconsin’s International Programs and initiated the music program in London and Munich. Gloria Coates has been invited to lecture on her music with concerts at Harvard, Brown, Princeton, the University of Wisconsin Madison, Torun, Poland, the College of Music Munich, and in India at the Max Mueller Bavahns of New Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay.

Her music has been heard at the Dresden Festival, New Music America - New York 1989, the Passau International Festival, the Dartington Festival in England, the Montepulciano Festival Italy, the New York Microtonal Festival, Aspeckte Festival Salzburg, and at the March Music - Berlin Festival 2004 and others. The music of Gloria Coates has been performed by leading soloists and ensembles, such as the Kronos Quartet, the Kreuzer Quartet, Crash Ensemble Dublin, New Century Chamber Orchestra - San Francisco, City of London Sinfonia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Polish Chamber Orchestra, Her canon of work includes compositions for orchestra, with fifteen symphonies, chamber music, of which there are nine string quartets, solo pieces, vocal and choral music for orchestra and ensembles, electronic works, as well as music for the theatre.


“I ‘m impressed with Coates’s work, in short, and although I’m aware that it’s very easy to be over-impressed by an arrestingly personal idiom, by sheer originality, the looming eloquence of some of this music suggests that its immediate impact will not soon wear off. She is a composer with her own voice and something to say with it.”
- Michael E. Oliver, ‘Gramophone’ England

“Each of Coates’ symphonies is individual in conception and compelling in execution – and will appeal to admirers of composers as disparate as Glenn Branca and Witold Lutoslawski. “
- Brad Bambarger , ‘Billboard’ Critics Choice

“If you’re looking for symphonies to continue the Beethoven-to-Mahler tradition, Gloria Coates’s offer a gloomy panoramic vision like that found in the recent symphonies of Giya Kancheli and Allan Pettersson, although her music is more complex and atmospheric than Kancheli’s, less busy and more distinctive than Pettersson’s. Given the centrality of symphonies to her output, she may well be the woman worthiest to be listed with Shostakovich, Sibelius and the like as contributing to the history of the genre.”
- Kyle Gann, “The New York (Sunday) Times”

“A dynamic spectrum that stretches from black humor to shrill gliding, from diffuse sounds to iridescent beauty.”
- Martin Mezger, “Scala” Germany

“The late Herbert von Karajan is supposed to have greeted his last “discovery,”
the English soprano Josephine Barstow, then in her mid forties and some 20 years into a distinguished career, with “Where have you been all my ;life?” I rather feel the same way about American composer Gloria Coates, who is now some 25 years past her breakthrough piece, ‘Planets.’ ….She is definitely a discovery.”
- John Story, “Fanfare”

“Coates’s sound fuses intellectual rigour with moments of genuine power and emotion; the end result is music of considerable interest and appeal…inquisitive listeners will revel in a sound-world that positively explodes with imagination and brilliance. “
- Dan Morgan, “International MusicWeb”

“This is remarkable music. At times it can seem too crude and obvious, spurning standards of polish and taste, and then at the next moment it blindsides you with the power of its vision, a balanced match of manner and substance, form and content, style and idea.”
- Robert Carl, “Fanfare”

“The work of composer Gloria Coates is one of those wonderful hidden treasures that manage to slip through the cracks of the music world, then surface later to general delight.”
- Joshua Kosman, “San Francisco Chronicle”

“Belatedly catching up with the American composer Gloria Coates who now lives in Germany has been exciting... The last time I had such a physical excitement when tumbling into an unknown composer’s radical idiom was in 1945….
Her string quartets are some of the most radical and uncompromising music of all time. Here, everything can be heard distinctly – ‘one can distinguish every note, every line’ – but the results are as extraordinary as in the symphonies.”
- Peter Grahame Woolf, ‘Musical Pointers.’ co. uk

“Gloria Coates hasn’t only composed music; she’s composed a world of her own…a masterpiece of modern quartet writing…she has done for the glissando what Philip Glass did for the arpeggio.”
- Philip Clark, ‘The Strad’ , London

String Quartets;
“The originality and beauty of these sound structures radiates a timeless modernity which is not cool and objective, but rather contains an inner, almost biological energetic force that grabs the listener.`’
- Hans-Christian von Dadelsen, ‘Classics – Today.’ Germany



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