January 1, 1993

Beaming Contrasts

Composer: Peter Scott Lewis Producer: New Albion Records: NA060 © & ℗ 1993

Composer: Peter Scott Lewis
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Cover Art: Clayton Lewis; Back Photo: Roberto Carra, Design: Todd Reamon

Recording Engineer: Robert Shumaker, Bay Records, Berkeley, CA; Producers: Foster Reed and Peter Scott Lewis

Beaming Contrasts


William Winant, vibraphone and marimba

Alexander String Quartet

David Tanenbaum, guitar

Julie McKenzie, flute

Lawrence Granger, cello

Marc Shapiro, piano

Both Journey to Still Water Pond and Night Lights were completed and first performed in the Fall of 1983, in New Haven, CT, at the Yale School of Music, even though Night Lights was actually the rescoring of a string quartet that I originally composed in 1980. Night Lights later received its official premiere by the Alexander String Quartet, in San Francisco, in November 1988.

Beaming Contrasts was commissioned by the Alexander String Quartet and the Newman/Oltman Guitar Duo in the Spring of 1988 and received its premiere in that version in Washington, D.C, and New York City in January 1990. The lager performance was broadcasted over NaZonal Public Radio. I later rescored Beaming Contrasts as a quintet for guitar and string quartet at the request of David Tanenbaum and the Alexander String Quartet.

Little Trio was commissioned by Sonus Lyricus in the Winter of 1987 and received its premiere in San Francisco the following May.

Through the Mountain was commissioned by bassist Steve Tramontozzi of the San Francisco Symphony as a composition for double bass and piano. It was premiered in that version with Marc Shapiro at the piano in the Spring of 1990, in Berkeley. It was later rescored for cello and piano or orchestra.


1. I. Journey to Still Water Pond 5:34

2. II. Night Light 9:25

III. Beaming Contrasts
3. With Conviction 6:53
4. Floating; Aggressive 8:43

5. IV. Little Trio 5:11

V. Through The Mountain
6. With Fire 7:25
7. Facing the Sea 7:10
8.Toccata 6:13


Track 1: William Winant, vibraphone and marimba; Alexander String Quartet
Track 2: Alexander String Quartet
Track 3-4: David Tanenbaum, guitar; Alexander String Quartet
Track 5: Julie McKenzie, flute; Lawrence Granger, cello; Marc Shapiro, piano
Track 6-8: Lawrence Granger, cello; Marc Shapiro, piano


This CD is a real find. It is a great recording of what might best be described as post-modern chamber music by the California composer Peter Scott Lewis. Beaming Contrasts and Through The Mountain are the two highlights. They are both substantial new works that deserve to become staples of the contemporary chamber music repertoire. Yet the other three striking compositions are far from just filler. For anyone interested in contemporary chamber music, this well played and recorded CD is an essential acquisition.
—Arnold van der Valk: Classical Express
Delightful... Shimmering...Skillful. Unmistakably the work of an alert young American. Recommended.
Scott Wheeler: Fanfare Magazine
San Francisco composer Peter Scott Lewis writes music marked by an appealing combination of intricacy and rhetorical straightforwardness, and the five pieces included here -- in excellent performances by San Francisco based musicians -- afford a good entree to his work. The most immediately accessible work is the opening “Journey To Still Water Pond,” a quietly colorful nature portrait for vibraphone, marimba, and string quartet. But there are other pleasures here, too -- particularly the far-ranging title piece, which gets a suitably protean rendition by guitarist David Tanenbaum and the Alexander String Quartet.
Joshua Kosman: San Francisco Sunday Chronicle
Peter Scott Lewis’ new CD on New Albion is something completely different. The piece that has held my attention (and garnered plenty of response from WPKN listeners) is “Journey To Still Water Pond.” Lewis develops a beautiful tension between strings and percussion that grips you tightly. Another exciting piece is “Little Trio,” a mix of aggressive exchanges and romantic phrases.
CMJ, Bridgeport, CT (WPKN FM Radio)
Peter Scott Lewis’ new CD of chamber music is passionate, yet lyrical. This is music making by a virtuoso composer.
Mitsuo Yamada: Esquire/Japan: Tokyo
The boldest essay was Peter Scott Lewis’ Beaming Contrasts (1989), dialectic of steel and catgut exploring both differences and similarities between string and guitar textures.  The amplified guitar strident, biting nature seemed to slice air when the duo played in jazzy syncopation with the quartet.
Marion Jacobson: The Washington Post