November 1, 2019

Home Stretch

Composer: Peter Scott Lewis Producer: Lapis Island Records: LIR004 © & ℗ 2019

Composer: Peter Scott Lewis
Features Miranda Cuckson, violin; Christopher Gross, cello; and Stephen Gosling, piano.
Producer: Lapis Island Records: LIR004 © & ℗ 2019
Publishers: Theodore Presser and Lapis Island Press (SMD)

Recording Engineer: Ryan Streber, Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, NY; Mixing Engineer: Adam Muñoz, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA; Mastering Engineer: Ken Lee, El Cerrito, CA; Booklet Design: Bob Aufuldish; Photo: Peter Lewis © Emiko Kaji

Track List

Petite Suite for violin solo

1. An Opalescent Fantasy 2:03
2. Leaping Green 2:05
3. Quasi-Lullaby 3:08
4. Roadrunner 3:12

Duo Concertante for cello and piano

5. Introduction and Jubilant Light 6:35
6. Dance of Enveloping Wind and Fire 5:17
7. The Hills Beyond 5:48
8. Acrobatic Lines 4:47

Second Piano Trio

9. Urban Reflections 5:35
10. Pastoral Settings, with Thunder 5:13
11. Travelling Spheres 5:08
12. Home Stretch 4:40
13.Sun Music for piano solo 5:26

Total: 58:58

Miranda Cuckson, violin
Christopher Gross, cello
Stephen Gosling, piano

Program Notes
Petite Suite for violin solo was completed on September 27, 2007. It’s in four movements and includes a large dynamic range. Yet it lays comfortably on the violin. It was originally composed as a companion piece to be performed with my two violin concertos. Yet it is also meant to stand on its own.

Duo Concertante for cello and piano was composed as a highly virtuosic concert piece in four contrasting movements, inspired by Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto. While the first draft was completed in July 2011, the final score was completed in August 2015. This recording is its first performance, since it has yet to be premiered live.

Second Piano Trio was commissioned by the Western Michigan University School of Music for their 100th anniversary and is dedicated to the School. It was completed in San Francisco on June 9, 2012 and was premiered on March 13, 2013 at the University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Merling Trio, who is in residence there, was the premiering ensemble. Like Rhapsodic Images, my first piano trio, this composition treats all three instruments equally and doesn’t overtly focus on the piano.

Sun Music for piano solo was completed on January 5, 1987. It was premiered in May of that year by Miles Graber, in San Francisco. It was first recorded by Robin Sutherland, Principal Pianist of the San Francisco Symphony, for New Albion Records, in 1996. It’s a single movement fantasy. While it has minimalistic tendencies, the music constantly changes and has unpredictable flourishes. This is the second recording.


****The music of composer Peter Scott Lewis is for conventional instruments and hovers right on the edge of tonality. Its ultimate ancestor is Stravinsky, who inspired the Duo Concertante for cello and piano heard on the present release; Lewis' gestures are economical and carefully crafted. Yet the music is, in the main, lyrical and evocative of the scenes mentioned in the programmatic movement titles. He has written a good number of songs and quite a bit of chamber music. Perhaps this 2019 release, with Lewis' instrumental resources boiled down to the minimum, makes a good place to sample his work. The opening Petite Suite, played with knife's-edge precision by contemporary music specialist Miranda Cuckson, is extraordinary, sketching its four movement names with a single violin (sample the final "Roadrunner"). The Second Piano Trio (the name is Lewis' own, although some sources give it as Piano Trio No. 2) is no less descriptive; the second movement title, "Pastoral Settings, with Thunder," could have come out of Beethoven. The opening movement, "Urban Reflections," has an admirably subtle connection to vernacular rhythms. Intimate yet not noisy sound from Oktaven Studios in suburban New York is another attraction of this distinctive contemporary chamber music release.

James Manheim, – AllMusic