Light and Shadow - Robert Starer

Light and Shadow (1977) – Robert Starer (1924-2001)
MCA Music

Robert Starer was born in Austria. Fleeing after the German invasion, he attended the Palestine Conservatory in Jerusulem before serving in the Royal Airforce during the war. In the late 1940s he arrived in the United States to study at Juilliard. His primary American teachers were David Diamond and Aaron Copland. Starer taught at Juilliard from 1941 to 1974, and at the City University of New York until 1991. He collaborated with Martha Graham on several ballets, and wrote a handful of operas including The Last Lover (1975) and Apollonia (1979). He was a two time Guggenheim Fellow. Starer’s compositional style reflects that of his teachers. He writes in a consonant style, despite some surface level dissonance. Light and Shadow falls on the lighter side of the repertoire with some nice lyrical qualities. He uses seventh chord harmonies giving the music a light jazz inflection, but also incorporates a fugato section. This mirrors the binding of serious and popular styles found in some of Copland’s music. The piece displays some impressive technical prowess, yet remains approachable for less experienced quartets.
Hear it:
Rascher Saxophone Quartet, Music for Saxophones
Cala, 1995

Rascher Saxophone Quartet, America
BIS, 1998

Other works for saxophone by Robert Starer: Five Preludes (1996) for alto saxophone and piano