Files & Media
Instrumentation: Trumpet in Bb, clarinet in Bb, guitar, percussion (drum set), piano, audio recording, toy birds (making authentic robin sounds).
For movement 1, players speak isolated lines written by Chopin, Robert and Clara Schumann, George Sand.
For movement 2, players speak isolated lines from folk-song lyrics and poems having to do with robins.
NOTE: each movement may be performed alone, as a separate piece.
For movement 1, CD #1 recording – (8:00) (Chopin-Liszt Birthday Tribute) - is activated at the start and continues until the movement's end.
For movement 2, CD #2 recording – TRACK 1 (:54) (bird sounds) AND TRACK 2 (:21) (Jolson’s Red Red Robin) is played from a boom-box or other on-stage sound source, only at certain moments. It is usually operated (start and stop) by the percussionist.
Movement 1 commemorates the 200th birthday year of Schumann and Chopin. Fragments of their music are heard throughout the movement.
Movement 2 uses quoted fragments as well, all related to images of a "robin" (the word or the bird).
Collage Concertante is a two-movement work which uses the a multifaceted concerto model as its springboard, and also (in a manner related to visual “collage”) incorporates pre-existing fragments – musical and otherwise – into its texture. The first movement, Birthday Tribute, began as a piano piece honoring the bicentennials of Chopin and Schumann (both born in 1810), and evolved into a miniature neo-Romantic piano concerto. (The “orchestra” in this instance includes live performers and recorded sounds.) The entire fabric draws upon quotations – musical and otherwise – from Robert, Clara, Frederic and George. Round Robin, on the other hand, is influenced by the model of Baroque concerto grosso. In this movement the pianist (having held the spotlight earlier) becomes a bit player. The other four ensemble members take turns as soloist, with tutti passages separating each solo section. This format gave rise to the title “Round Robin,” which in turn led me to use pre-existing materials related to robins. (Sources range from the 13th-century Adam de la Halle to Edward MacDowell to English folk song to Al Jolson.)
“Schwartz, seemingly, is addressing the anxieties of our own age here in his kindly, humorous manner. If the motto of our current time in 2010 is “hope,” he amplifies it.”
- Joseph Pehrson, The New Music Connoisseur