Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra (2002) (commissioned by the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival) Maria Newman's flashy and passionate Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra (2002) was commissioned by the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival in Los Angeles, California, and received it's premiere performance at the festival in June of 2002. Andrew Cook, renowned cellist and founder/director of the Gold Coast Festival, served as the cello soloist, partnering with the Gold Coast Festival Orchestra in this first of many performances. Newman's concerto reveals the cello in all of it's lyricism and strength, and the string orchestra as a fiercely determined and equal collaborator. Set as one large movement, the work loosely follows a quasi palindrome form with coda, and presents extremely contrasting sections that run the gamut of emotions and orchestral textures. A tormented dirge (Newman's opening motive) bows gracefully to the entrance of a singing understated waltz (the second theme), while the large middle section appears as a fleet allegro. Requiring a great deal of dexterity from the cello soloist, an extended cadenza develops motives from the movement proper, all in a wildly unpredictable fashion. A majestic march is forged as the coda material, initially interrupted by exclamations of earlier motives, is introduced, finally merging into a complete statement. Becoming increasingly fervent, the final moments burst into a running presto that cascades to the finish. Chorales for Brass and Percussion (1997, revised 2002) (commissioned by the USC Concert Band in Honor of Alfred Newman) Maria Newman has long been dedicated to the composition of works for brass. Among her library of chamber works are large-scale sonatas for French horn alone; trumpet and piano; trombone and piano; bass trombone and piano; tuba and piano; as well as a brass quintet. Commissioned by some of the best loved and well known brass players in the United States, Newman has had the privilege of having these works recorded and performed in concert by the likes of wizard trumpeter, Malcolm McNab; much-loved tubist, James Self; and Los Angeles Philharmonic French hornist, Brian Drake. In 2001, Maria Newman was commissioned to write a large work for brass choir and percussion for the USC Concert Band in honor of the centennial celebration of her father's birth. The premiere performance was held in 2002 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, California. Maria Newman's father, the late Alfred Newman has been highly honored posthumously by the esteemed USC School of Music. On the USC campus, sits a gorgeous recital hall built in his name (The Alfred Newman Recital Hall), and a library dedicated to his film scores (The Alfred Newman Memorial Library). Further, for all of the coveted USC football team victories, the USC Marching Band performs Alfred Newman's brilliant march, Conquest, from the 1947 motion picture, Captain from Castile. Indeed, it makes sense that USC wished to honor this great musician at the centennial of his birth. Maria Newman's four-movement work opens with a reflective chorale that highlights the different textures and sonorities of the brass choir in an antiphonal fashion. Contrasting with the opening chorale, the second movement is set as a raucous and dancing "carnival," featuring virtuosic solos tumbling over accented ostinati. Presented as a solemn dirge, the organ-like treatment of movement three reveals the brass ensemble in all of it's burnished glory, and the effect of the brass choir combined becomes an almost aural incantation of the three-dimensional. The Finale unfolds as the principal trombone presents a lively quasi-fugal subject. Closely followed by other statements of the principal line, the ensemble, joining forces, gracefully pyramids forward through unpredictable episodic and main subject material. Relinquishing a bombastic finish, Newman's work closes in an inward, unhurried fashion, enveloping the listener in a sense of repose. Concerto for Viola and String Orchestra (2006) (commissioned by the Dorian Orchestra Festival at Luther College) Maria Newman's Concerto for Viola and String Orchestra (2006) was originally commissioned as an orchestral string overture for performance by the Dorian Festival Orchestra at the Dorian Orchestra Festival held at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The parameters by which Newman's commission arose initially did not include a soloist. Entitled Dorian Festival Overture, (named for the festival and not the mode...) the work was composed with the intent of featuring the string orchestra forces alone in a concert overture celebrating inflections of the great Lutheran choral traditions. It was not until after the initial premieres of the overture that Newman joined the solo voice of the viola with the orchestral texture. Adding an extended solo cadenza in front of the concerto proper (the original start of the overture), the main body of the work is fashioned around a homophonic vocal-like chorale. The chorale, in it's entirety, manifests itself several times during the concerto, framing interruptions of galloping allegros and idiosyncratic episode. All the while, the viola serves as a capable primary voice, singing it's commentary above and in partner with the orchestra. And though the work is complete as an overture alone, the addition of the solo viola brings a completely different set of colors to the palette. The result is a fearsome tour de force for the viola, united with an equally intense rapport between soloist and ensemble. Belonging to a group of Newman's concerti composed for solo instruments joined by string orchestra, this opus includes a violin concerto; a cello concerto (presented on this disc); a triple violin concerto; a piano chamber concerto; and a concerto for double bass and string orchestra. Newman's concerti for solo instruments with full orchestra include a piano concerto; a cello concerto (with piano obbligato); and a song cycle for soprano and orchestra. Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra (1996) (commissioned by the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra) Maria Newman's Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra (1996) was composed in the traditional baroque concerto grosso form. The three-movement work, (fast - slow - fast), features a quintet of soloists (two violins, viola, cello and bass), as the lighter chamber ensemble quality contrasts with the large and sonorous orchestral tutti texture. Newman's ensemble sonorities range from varnished and dark, to eerie and colorless, to singing and joyful. The orchestration is rich and dense, setting up a contrapuntal palette from which the moods and intent are drawn. Requiring a great virtuosity from the orchestra, Newman's work dances with mixed meter and mercurial changes of emotional direction, giving rise to a very interesting musical ride! The work opens with ferociously forceful chordal declamations, bookending a very fast and ever-changing movement proper that often takes formal turns where least expected. The middle movement lifts it's head sorrowfully, shyly and intimately, quite lonely in it's fugal setting. Rising to a pleading cry, the movement gives way to a resigned secondary dominant pause, soon to rupture into a frenetic finale. Agile and quick, Newman's final movement is, at first hearing, reminiscent of an American hoedown. Yet, as soon as the listener believes that the aforementioned is the primary character of this good-natured music, the parameters abruptly change. Here, the quintet of soloists falls into a rhythmically limping motive that sways and swerves exotically, ultimately winding itself down. Newman's finale surprises, as it bursts abruptly once again into the bustling commotion of the outset. The movement at last settles into a brief, but sorrowful cry and pause that unexpectedly jumps into a frenzied rush to the finish.