Paul Creston

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Paul Creston (born Giuseppe Guttoveggio; October 10, 1906 – August 24, 1985) was an Italian American composer of classical music.

Born in New York City to Sicilian immigrants, Creston was self‐taught as a composer. He was an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, initiated into the national honorary Alpha Alpha chapter. His work tends to be fairly conservative in style, with a strong rhythmic element. His pieces include six symphonies, a number of concertos, including two for violin,[1] one for marimba and orchestra[2] (premiered by Ruth Stuber), one for one piano, one for two pianos, one for accordion and one for alto saxophone (the latter dedicated to Cecil Leeson),[3] a fantasia for trombone and orchestra (composed for and premiered by Robert Marsteller), and a Rapsodie again for alto saxophone - written for Jean-Marie Londeix. He also wrote a suite (1935) and a sonata (op. 19, 1939) for alto saxophone and piano (both dedicated to Cecil Leeson),[3][4] as well as a suite for organ, Op. 70.[5] Several of his works were inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman. He died in Poway, California, a suburb of San Diego.

Creston was one of the most performed American composers of the 1940s and 50s. Several of his works have become staples of the wind band repertoire. The Zanoni, Prelude, and Dance, and Celebration Overtures have been and still are on several state lists for contests across the USA.

Creston was also a notable teacher, with the composers Irwin Swack, John Corigliano, Elliott Schwartz and Charles Roland Berry, accordionist/composer William Schimmel and the jazz musicians Rusty Dedrick and Charlie Queener among his pupils. He wrote the theoretical books Principles of Rhythm (1964) and Rational Metric Notation (1979).

Selected works[edit]

Stage
  • Two Choric Dances – "Time Out of Mind", Ballet, Op. 17a (1938)
  • A Tale About the Land, An American Folk Ballet for voice, piano, clarinet and percussion, Op. 23 (1940)
Orchestral
  • Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking (1934); after a poem by Walt Whitman
  • Gregorian Chant for string orchestra; arrangement of movement III from String Quartet, Op. 8
  • Fugue for string orchestra; arrangement of movement IV from String Quartet, Op. 8
  • Homage for string orchestra, Op. 41 (1947)
  • Threnody, Op. 16 (1938)
  • Two Choric Dances, Op. 17 (1938); for chamber orchestra (Op. 17a) or orchestra (Op. 17b)
  • Symphony No. 1, Op. 20 (1940)
  • Prelude and Dance, Op. 25 (1941)
  • A Rumor, Op. 27 (1941)
  • Pastorale and Tarantella, Op. 28 (1941)
  • Fantasy Op. 32 (1942)
  • Chant of 1942, Op. 33 (1943)
  • Frontiers, Op. 34 (1943)
  • Symphony No. 2, Op. 35 (1944)
  • Poem, Op. 39 (1945)
  • Symphony No. 3 "Three Mysteries", Op. 48 (1950)
  • Symphony No. 4, Op. 52 (1951)
  • Walt Whitman, Op. 53 (1952)
  • Invocation and Dance, Op. 58 (1953)
  • Dance Overture, Op. 62 (1954)
  • Symphony No. 5, Op. 64 (1955)
  • Lydian Ode, Op. 67
  • Toccata, Op. 68 (1957)
  • Pre-Classic Suite, Op. 71 (1957)
  • Janus, Op. 77 (1959)
  • Corinthians XIII, Tone Poem, Op. 82 (1963)
  • Choreographic Suite, Op. 86 (1965); for chamber orchestra (Op. 86a) or orchestra (Op. 86b)
  • Introit "Hommage à Pierre Monteux", Op. 87 (1965–1966)
  • Airborne Suite (1966)
  1. Evening in Texas
  2. Sunrise in Puerto Rico
  3. High Noon – Montreal
  4. Midnight – Mexico
  • Pavanne Variations, Op. 89 (1966)
  • Chthonic Ode "Homage to Henry Moore" for large orchestra with euphonium, celesta and piano, Op. 90 (1966)
  • Thanatopsis, Op. 101 (1971)
  • Suite for string orchestra, Op. 109 (1978)
  • Symphony No. 6 "Organ Symphony" for organ and orchestra, Op. 118 (1981)
  • Evening in Texas
  • Kangaroo Kaper
  • Rumba - Tarantella
  • Sunrise in Puerto Rico
Concert band
  • Legend, Op. 31 (1942)
  • Zanoni, Op. 40 (1946)
  • Celebration Overture, Op. 61 (1954)
  • Prelude and Dance, Op. 76 (1959)
  • Anatolia (Turkish Rhapsody), Op. 93 (1967)
  • Kalevala, Fantasy on Finnish Folk Songs, Op. 95 (1968)
  • Jubilee, Op. 102 (1971)
  • Liberty Song '76, Op. 107 (1975); also for mixed chorus and concert band
  • Festive Overture, Op. 116 (1980)
Concertante
  • Concertino for marimba and orchestra (or concert band), Op. 21 (1940) (premiered by Ruth Stuber)
  • Concerto for saxophone and orchestra, Op. 26 (1941)
  • Concerto for alto saxophone, Op. 26 (1944)
  • Fantasy for piano and orchestra, Op. 32 (1942)
  • Dawn Mood for piano and orchestra, Op. 36 (1944)
  • Poem for harp and orchestra, Op. 39 (1945)
  • Fantasy for trombone and orchestra (or concert band), Op. 42 (1947)
  • Concerto for piano and orchestra, Op. 43 (1949)
  • Concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra, Op. 50 (1950)
  • Concerto No. 1 for violin and orchestra, Op. 65
  • Concerto for accordion and orchestra, Op. 75
  • Concerto No. 2 for violin and orchestra, Op. 78 (1960)
  • Fantasy for accordion and orchestra, Op. 85 (1964); also for accordion solo
  • Sādhanā for cello and orchestra, Op. 117 (1981)
Chamber music
  • Three Poems from Walt Whitman for cello and piano, Op. 4
  • Suite for alto saxophone or clarinet and piano, Op. 6
  • String Quartet, Op. 8 (1936)
  • Partita for flute, violin (or 2 violins) and piano (or string orchestra), Op. 12 (1937)
  • Suite for viola and piano, Op. 13 (1938)
  • Suite for violin and piano, Op. 18
  • Sonata for alto saxophone and piano, Op. 19 (1939)
  • Meditation for marimba and organ (arrangement of movement II of Concertino, Op. 21)
  • Homage for viola (or cello), harp and organ, Op. 41 (1947); also for string orchestra
  • Lydian Song for harp solo, Op. 55 (1952)
  • Suite for flute, viola and piano, Op. 56 (1953)
  • Suite for cello and piano, Op. 66 (1956)
  • Olympia, Rhapsody for harp solo, Op. 94 (1968)
  • Concertino for piano and woodwind quintet, Op. 99 (1969)
  • Ceremonial for percussion ensemble and piano, Op. 103 (1972)
  • Rapsodie for saxophone and organ, Op. 108 (1976)
  • Suite for saxophone quartet, Op. 111 (1979)
  • Piano Trio, Op. 112 (1979)
  • Cantilena from Sadhana for cello and piano, Op. 117 (1981); original for cello and orchestra; also for voice and piano
  • Fanfare for Paratroopers for brass
Keyboard
  • Hippo's Dance for piano
  • Kangaroo Kaper for piano
  • Little Red Pony for piano
  • Moment Musical for piano (1926)
  • Phases: Dance Suite for piano
  • Prelude and Dance for piano
  • Antitheses for piano (1930)
  • A Chant of Work for piano (1930)
  • Five Dances for piano, Op. 1
  • Music for "Iron Flowers" for piano (1933?); incidental music for the play by Cecil Lewis
  • Seven Theses for piano, Op. 3 (1933)
  • Variations on "The First Noel" for organ (1934)
  • Sonata for piano, Op. 9
  • Five Two-Part Inventions for piano, Op. 14 (1946)
  • Five Little Dances for piano, Op. 24
  • Prelude and Dance for piano, Op. 29
  • Six Preludes for piano, Op. 38
  • Prelude and Dance for accordion, Op. 69 (1957)
  • Suite for organ, Op. 70
  • Fantasia for organ, Op. 74 (1958)
  • Wedding Recessional for organ (1961)
  • Three Narratives for piano, Op. 79 (1962)
  • Pony Rondo (a.k.a. Rondino) for piano solo (1964)
  • Rapsodia Breve for organ, Op. 81 (1963)
  • Metamorphoses for piano, Op. 84 (1964)
  • Fantasy for accordion solo, Op. 85 (1964); also for accordion and orchestra
  • Rumba-Tarantella for piano 4-hands (1964)
  • Song of Sicily for piano (1964); from the TV film The Twentieth Century: Invasion of Sicily
  • Rhythmicon, Piano Studies in Rhythm, 10 Books (1964–1977)
  • Interlude for piano (c.1966)
  • Embryo Suite for accordion solo, Op. 96 (1968)
  • Variation for Eugene Ormandy (On the Occasion of His 70th Birthday) for piano (1969)
  • Romanza for piano, Op. 110 (1978)
  • Offertory for piano, Op. 113 (1980)
  • Interlude for piano, Op. 114 (1980)
  • Prelude and Dance for 2 pianos, Op. 120 (1982)
Vocal
  • Seems Lak de Love Dreams Just Wont Last for voice and piano (c.1923); words by Marguerite T. George
  • "I Am He Who Walks the States..." for voice and piano
  • The Bird of the Wilderness for voice and piano, Op. 2
  • Thanatopses, 4 Songs to Death for voice and piano (or voice, piano and string quartet), Op. 7 (1935); words by Rabindranath Tagore
  • Three Sonnets for voice and piano, Op. 10 (1936); words by Arthur Davison Ficke
  • Dance Variations for coloratura soprano and orchestra, Op. 30 (1941–1942)
  • Psalm XXIII for high voice and piano, Op. 37 (1945); original for soprano, mixed chorus and orchestra
  • Three Songs for voice and piano, Op. 46 (1950); words by Edward Pinkney and John Neihardt
  • The Lambs to the Lamb for voice and piano, Op. 47 (1950); original version for female chorus and piano or organ; words by Martha Nicholson Kemp
  • French Canadian Folk Songs for voice and piano, Op. 49 (1950)
  • Ave Maria for voice and piano, Op. 57 (1953)
  • La Lettre for voice and piano, Op. 59 (1954)
  • A Song of Joys for voice and piano, Op. 63 (1955); words by Walt Whitman
  • Song of Sicily for voice and piano (1964); from the TV score Invasion of Sicily
  • Nocturne for soprano or tenor and 11 instruments, Op. 83 (1964); words by W. H. Auden
  • Palermo in the Moonlight for voice and piano (1964); words by Mitchell Parish
  • From The Psalmist for contralto and orchestra, Op. 91 (1967)
  • Cantilena from Sadhana for voice and piano, Op. 117 (1981); original for cello and orchestra; also for cello and piano
  • Carousel Song for voice and piano; words by Arthur Newman
Choral
  • Three Chorales from Tagore for mixed chorus a cappella, Op. 11; words by Rabindranath Tagore
  • Missa Pro Defunctis ("Requiem Mass") for male chorus and organ, Op. 15 (1938)
  • Dedication for mixed chorus and piano (or organ, or string orchestra), Op. 22 (1940); originally entitled Dirge; words by Arturo Giovannitti
  • Here Is Thy Footstool for mixed chorus a cappella
  • Psalm XXIII for soprano, mixed chorus and orchestra, Op. 37 (1945); also for voice and piano; also a version for male chorus and piano
  • Missa Solemnis for mixed chorus or male chorus and organ or orchestra, Op. 44
  • Two Motets for male chorus and organ, Op. 45 (1950)
  • The Lambs to the Lamb for female chorus and piano or organ, Op. 47 (1950); also a version for voice and piano; words by Martha Nicholson Kemp
  • Black and Tan America for baritone, mixed chorus and piano, Op. 51 (1951); words by Charles H. Stern
  • Missa "Adoro Te" for mixed chorus and organ, Op. 54 (1952)
  • Cindy for mixed chorus and piano (1953)
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving for mixed chorus and organ (1953)
  • Way Up on Old Smoky for mixed chorus and organ (1953)
  • The Celestial Vision for male chorus a cappella, Op. 60 (1954); words by Dante, Walt Whitman, and from the Bhagavad Gita
  • My Lord Upon a Sickle Hangs for mixed chorus (1955?); words by Louis J. Maloof
  • Praise the Lord for mixed chorus a cappella, Op. 72
  • Lilium Regis for mixed chorus and piano, Op. 73 (1958); words by Francis Thompson
  • Isaiah's Prophecy, A Christmas Oratorio for soprano, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, bass, mixed chorus and orchestra, Op. 80 (1962)
  • Mass of the Angels for unison voices (1966)
  • Now Thank We All Our God for mixed chorus and organ, Op. 88 (1966)
  • None Lives For Ever for female chorus and piano or organ, Op. 92 (1967); words by Rabindranath Tagore
  • Missa "Cum Jubilo" for mixed chorus a cappella (or with piano, organ, or string orchestra), Op. 97 (1968)
  • Hyas Illahee: A Corosymfonic Suite (The Northwest Corosymfonic Suite) for mixed chorus and piano, Op. 98 (1969)
  • Leaves of Grass for mixed chorus and piano, Op. 100 (1970); words by Walt Whitman
  • Calamus for baritone, mixed chorus, brass ensemble, timpani and percussion, Op. 104 (1972); words by Walt Whitman
  • Liberty Song '76 for mixed chorus and concert band, Op. 107 (1975); also for band
  • Prodigal for mixed chorus and piano, Op. 115 (1980); words by Renato M. Getti
  • O Come, Let Us Sing for mixed chorus and organ, Op. 119 (1982); text adapted from Psalms 92, 95, and 96
TV and film scores
  • Lake Carrier (1942)
  • Brought to Action (1945)
  • Air Power, TV series (1956)
  • The Twentieth Century, TV series (7 episodes, 1958–1964)
    • The Russo-Finnish War (November 16, 1958)
    • Revolt in Hungary (December 14, 1958); Creston received a Christopher Award.
    • The Frozen War (February 8, 1959)
    • Suicide Run to Murmansk (November 1, 1959)
    • Typhoon at Okinawa (November 26, 1961)
    • The Great Weather Mystery (December 24, 1961)
    • Invasion of Sicily (January 19, 1964)
  • In the American Grain, documentary on poet William Carlos Williams; Creston won an Emmy Award for his score.
Incomplete works
  • Pantonal Lullaby, Op. 121
Literary works
  • Principles of Rhythm, F. Colombo, New York (1964)
  • The Beat Goes On (1969)
  • Creative Harmony, New York (1970)
  • Music and Mass Media (1970)
  • A Composer's Creed (1971)
  • Rational Metric Notation, Exposition Press, New York (1979)

In 2008 Marco Ciccone had done a version for saxophone and orchestra of the Sonata op.19 (© 2008 by Templeton Publishing, a div. of Shawnee Press, Inc.).

Bibliography[edit]

  • Creston, Paul (1964). Principles of Rhythm. New York: F. Columbo. OCLC 335167. 
  • Creston, Paul (1979). Rational metric notation : the mathematical basis of meters, symbols, and note-values. Hicksville, New York: Exposition Press. ISBN 0-682-49052-0. OCLC 6086922. 
  • Simmons, Walter. Voices in the Wilderness: Six American Neo-Romantic Composers. (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0-8108-5728-5. OCLC 65182234.
  • Slomski, Monica J. (1994). Paul Creston : a bio-bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-25336-6. OCLC 30895095. 

External links[edit]

  1. ^ OCLC 222065632.
  2. ^ OCLC 222900065
  3. ^ a b Liley, Thomas, "The Repertoire Heritage", in Ingham, Richard (1998). The Cambridge companion to the saxophone at Google Books, pages 55, 57. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59666-1.
  4. ^ Slomski, p. 62.
  5. ^ OCLC 11073913