John Carbon: Astro Dogs & Other Piano Works


Contemporary American Piano Works by John Carbon, performed by Steven Graff.

SKU: CR057-Complete Categories: , Tags: , ,


About this release

John Carbon’s piano music draws on his lifelong love of the instrument and his rich, multifaceted compositional interests. Madeleines recalls youthful travels in France. Three Impromptus alludes to the traditional genre as explored by Schubert and Chopin. Astro Dogs is a delightful canine zodiac: matching breeds with star signs for an enjoyable musical experience. Pianist Steven Graff has collaborated with the composer for many years, and he delivers definitive performances of these expressive pieces.

Programme notes


Composed in 2016, Madeleines is similar to my two sets of Spanish Lessons (1988 and 2001) which are both suites of character pieces for piano inspired by my admittedly limited travel in Spain. Madeleines is inspired by a much earlier hair-brained trip I took to France (and the rest of the Grand Tour) with my sister when I was in college.

The title refers to Proust’s Episode of the Madeleine, in which involuntary memory overwhelms the protagonist when he bites into one of these small cakes. I also sometimes experience poignant memories from our fondly remembered trip triggered by various catalysts. Read more

About the artists

John Carbon

John CarbonJohn Carbon Born in Chicago in 1951, John Carbon studied composition at Rice University and at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his teachers were Thea Musgrave, Paul Cooper, and Peter Racine Fricker. Carbon’s music continues to gain prominence due to an increasing number of high-profile performances and recordings and his output includes three full-length operas, Marie Laveau, Benjamin, and Disappearing Act, along with over 70 choral, orchestral, vocal, and chamber works. Carbon has a special flair for the virtuosity and drama needed for concertos and has completed works in this genre for clarinet, violin, viola, piano, and double bass.

Mr. Carbon’s work has been performed in New York at Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls at Lincoln Center, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and Prague’s Smetana Hall.  Read more

Steven Graff

Since his concerto debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has appeared nine times, the American pianist Steven Graff has been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards and glowing critical praise.

Graff was born in Chicago where he began his musical training. A string of scholarships led to studies at The Juilliard School where he received Bachelor’s and

Master’s Degrees as a Petschek scholarship awardee, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Graduate School of CUNY.

Steven Graff is at home on stage, over the airwaves and in the classroom. His appearances on the Nickelodeon Channel and the QE2 enlightened audiences with his interpretive performances, and tours of China, Norway, Japan, and in cities across the U.S. have thrilled music-lovers everywhere.

A sought-after recitalist and chamber musician, Graff has performed at Weill, Zankel and Stern Auditorium at Carne- gie Hall, Lang Recital Hall and the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, Merkin and Alice Tully Halls in New York City and his performances have been broadcast in Oslo and Honolulu, on New York radio stations WQXR and WNCN, and Chicago’s WFMT. He has performed at the New York Philharmonic Education sponsored Chamber Music concerts. He is a member of the Artemisia Trio, which performs regularly at the Takaezu Studio Concert Series. Read more

  • Madeleines: i, Mémoire triste dans un café - John Carbon
  • Madeleines: ii, Il pleut à Brest - John Carbon
  • Madeleines: iii, François et ses yeux dangereux - John Carbon
  • Madeleines: iv, Promenade dans la ménagerie de Versailles - John Carbon
  • Madeleines: v, Madeleine déteste les devoirs - John Carbon
  • Three Impromptus, i Adagio e cantabile - John Carbon
  • Three Impromptus, ii Adagio e sostenuto - John Carbon
  • Three Impromptus, iii Allegro - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, i, Beagle (Aquarius) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, ii, Basset Hound (Taurus) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, iii, Bichon Frise (Gemini) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, iv, Saint Bernard (Leo) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, v, Standard Poodle (Libra) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, vi, Presa Canario (Scorpio) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, vii, Labrador Retriever (Sagittarius) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, viii, Chihuahua (Pisces) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, ix, Toy Boston Bull Terrier (Virgo) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, x, Pekingese (Cancer) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, xi, Werewolf (Capricorn) - John Carbon
  • Astro Dogs: Twelve Zodiacal Pieces, xii, Irish Wolfhound (Aries) - John Carbon
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Catalogue number: CR057

Pianist Steven Graff
Page TurnerJacob Steingart
Piano Steinway CD 327
Engineering John Weston
Editing & Mastering Jeffrey Grossman
Recorded October10,2019
Recording Location Futura Productions, Roslindale, Massachusetts, USA
Programme Notes John Carbon
Creative Director Mike Cooter
Executive Producer Carson Cooman

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