New Naxos Release: Paul Bowles, Complete Piano Works (Volume 2)


New Release, 2016, Naxos Records (American Classics)

Paul Bowles: Complete Piano Works (Volume 2)

In this second installment of Invencia’s 2-CD release by Naxos Records, we are delighted to continue our exploration of unknown masterworks for solo and duo piano, through the works of Paul Bowles.

Known as an influential author, Bowles was a brilliant composer in his own right, among the select few capable of lasting contributions in both literary and musical artforms. Bowles’ wit, lyricism, humor and charm are evoked by the 28 tracks of this recording, which include several unpublished compositions.

Bowles’ surviving output of works for piano is represented by both solo and duo compositions that encompass an impressive stylistic array, and reflect his wide interests in travel, languages, folklore and literature. These gems are primarily miniatures or collections: each individual selection ranging from half a minute to around four minutes in length. In the second of two volumes devoted to his complete piano works, the music is grouped cyclically, stylistically or thematically — sometimes by the composer himself and at times by Invencia Piano Duo.

This recording closes with two groups of arrangements: Blue Mountain Ballads (1946), set for piano duet by Dr. Andrey Kasparov, and three miscellaneous pieces set for two pianos by the prominent American piano duo of Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale.

The latter three arrangements were found by Dr. Kasparov in the Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale Collection, held in the Peter Jay Sharp Special Collections, Lila Acheson Wallace Library, The Juilliard School. Subsequently, Dr. Kasparov deciphered and reconstructed the aforementioned manuscripts, which allowed the duets to be recorded for the very first time.

The album is dedicated to Irene Herrmann and Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno. Ms. Hermann is heir, executor and curator of the Paul Bowles musical estate. Mr. Sawyer-Lauçanno is author of An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. Irene’s and Christopher’s expertise, kindness, grace and unconditional support have contributed greatly to the success this project.

– Andrey Kasparov & Oksana Lutsyshyn

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© Invencia Piano Duo & Naxos Records

Paul Bowles

Paul F. Bowles (1910 – 1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. In 1947 he settled in Tangier, Morocco, where he lived for 52 years.

Raised in New York City, he demonstrated talents both for musical and literary composition. Educated at the University of Virginia, Bowles made frequent trips to France in the 1930s. From the late 1920s he studied music with Aaron Copland and wrote incidental music for the theatre. Subsequently, he pursued further instruction with Roger Sessions, Virgil Thomson, and Israel Citkowitz. However, critical success for his first novel, The Sheltering Sky (1949), relegated his earlier musical efforts to relative obscurity.

Paul Bowles died of heart failure in 1999 at the age of 88. His ashes are interred with other members of his family at Lakemont, New York.

It may be said Paul Bowles was a victim of his own successes, in that his notable capabilities as a composer were overshadowed by his literary achievements. Naxos hopes to redress this imbalance by showcasing Bowles’ music, with this latest release from Invencia Piano Duo: Volume 2 of his complete piano music.