“Naturally, the newest discovery was “Rolling Strings,” Liderman’s 15-minute commission for the orchestra. Writing with a wonderful blend of simplicity and rhetorical unpredictability, Liderman sets up a few clear rhythmic processes – a stream of eighth notes dancing in groups of twos and threes, some whirling melodic turns – and lets the mechanism unfold before our ears.
The piece is a rondo of sorts, with a pair of main themes that recur to mark the chief structural points, and just as in a rondo by Mozart or Beethoven, Liderman delights in throwing in contrasting episodes to keep the listener off guard.
At midpoint, the strings gather for a series of stubbornly expanding cadences; late in the proceedings there are some spooky muted chords reminiscent of the Tarnhelm music in Wagner’s “Rheingold.” All of it is bound together through thematic repetitions and the steady rhythmic pulse, and the orchestra played it with elegant fervor.” -- Joshua Kosman for the San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2007
“Six Songs for Chamber Orchestra (1989) by Jorge Liderman, a 32-year-old Argentinian now on the Berkeley faculty, managed to sustain poignancy while balancing minute academic procedures with gutsy expressive impulses.” -- Martin Bernheimer for the Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1989.
“She (Haffner) closed with Liderman’s Introduzione, a work that finishes with a tenor singing a religious poem. The idea of finding contrast and variety was a good one, but this piece asked her to do again what she had done already: vigour bowing, then a pause and small gestures, followed by more big arpeggios. It all took place at fortissimo. Tenor Isaac Sheffer, on the other hand, had so little voice and projection that any idea of contrast and drama in the finale was lost.” Daniel Webster for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 19, 1991.
“Liderman is a young Argentinian composer now completing his Ph.D. in composition at the University of Chicago. “Song of Songs” is the fourth in a series of works drawing inspiration from ancient Hebrew texts and folks music. Its images of heightened religiosity sometimes suggest the “Jewish” works of Shapey, who is Liderman’s teacher. But Liderman has a voice of his own, from a post-serialist succession of incidents both coherent and compelling. I look forward to hearing more of his music. Neva Pilgrim chanted the mystical cantabile with a controlled fervor of expression.” -- John von Rhein for the Chicago Tribune, April 26, 1987.
“The second world premiere was Liderman’s dramatic “Song of Songs” with soprano Neva Pilgrim. She sang the text taken from Jewish and Babylonian texts so expressively, I wished our programs had provided translations. Liderman has filled the piece with dissonant outbursts, with instruments abruptly appearing and disappearing in pointillistic textures.” -- Wynne Delacoma for the Chicago Sun-Times, April 26, 1987.
“A packed house was treated to first performances of two fascinating pieces: “Song of Songs” by Jorge Liderman and Shapey’s own “Concertante.”
“Liderman, a native of Argentina who is completing his Ph.D. in composition at the University of Chicago, has wrought an impressive work in “Song of Songs,” which takes Jewish folk music and chants as its basis. Though somewhat rambling and diffuse toward the end, this is still a passionate piece whose positive qualities far outnumber the minor lapses. Mezzo soprano Neva Pilgrim was an undeniable asset here as well, bringing fire and a haunting vocal style to the piece.”
“The languid pace and lush contours of “Song of Songs” helped emphasize the economy and coherence of Shapey’s “Concertante”…” -- Wynne Delacoma for the Herald (Chicago), April 29, 1987.
"Contemporary Players Give Bold Reading of ‘Ancient Tales’
One of the incidental pleasures of contemporary music is to be part of an audience that, after sitting dutifully through run-of-the-mill fare, suddenly hears something vibrant and new – and responds.
The applause that greeted the world premiere of Jorge Liderman’s sextet “Ancient Tales” during Monday’s concert by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players had very little to do with politeness and everything to do with the excitement of hearing a new work that grabbed the imagination.
This substantial four-movement piece, written for the group, is built around the contrast between the sustained tones of a string trio and the sharply defined sonorities of two mallet instruments and piano (which in this score is definitely a percussion instrument).
Within that overarching theme, Liderman, who teaches composition at the University of California at Berkeley, works an array of compelling variations, and he does it in music that is both pungent and lovely. The first movement, for instance, deals in a kind of hallucinatory salon music, with the piano and strings struggling to recall the waltzes and bagatelles of long ago while the burbling marimbas apply a dream-sequence blur.
The second movement is all elbows and angles, with two xylophones jabbing out repeated high notes, the strings plucking away relentlessly and the pianist trying to piece together a melody in the interstices. A long-toned string melody punctuated by dissonant clangs from the percussion shapes the elegiac third movement, and the finale oscillates relentlessly between silence and sound.
The cumulative effect, in the ensemble’s forceful reading, was a fascinating blend of clarity and evocative shadows. Here is a piece that cries out for repeat performances." -- Joshua Kosman for the San Francisco Chronicle, March 4, 1998.
“If the piece for winds “B’reshit” by Jorge Liderman (Argentina) traded too heavily perhaps in easy juxtapositions (stops and starts, grotesque then pastoral), it was also something of a triumph in avoiding the stereotypical, generic manner that wind quintets somehow force a lot of composers into.” -- Richard Buell
“Dufford was a sensitive soloist in Jorge Liderman’s “Contours,” a 10-minute piece for clarinet and chamber ensemble that received its American premiere. This proved to be an amiable score, interweaving the solo line with the ensemble in a variety of ways.” -- Joshua Kosman for the San Francisco Chronicle, February, 1992.
“Jorge Liderman’s “Notebook” offered beautiful miniatures disguising the awkwardness of writing for mixed sextet, but on this scale, and with medieval Sephardic tunes to go on, the problems of beauty are perhaps not so great.” -- Paul Griffiths for the New York Times, May 6, 1997.
“The biggest news came at the end, when the quartet was joined by pianist Sonia Rubinsky for the world premiere of Jorge Liderman’s Piano Quintet. The Argentine-born composer, who is on the music faculty at UC Berkeley, writes with a deft combination of rhythmic fluency and instrumental resourcefulness, and the new piece finds him at his most overtly charming.
The piece is ostensibly in three movements, but since they are played without pause or notable contrasts, the division isn’t particularly meaningful. It’s essentially an extended scherzo, witty and vivacious and full of delicate filigree even in the second movement, which is structured as a theme and variations.
From beginning to end, the piece moves along with engaging buoyancy, the placement of its rhythmic accents just off kilter enough to keep the listener guessing. Periodically the music seems to run off the rails, and the entire ensemble regroups with a short repeated figure before setting off into the next leg of the journey.” -- Joshua Kosman for the San Francisco Chronicle
“As it turned out, none of the new works Friday proved especially fascinating, but the most rewarding of the three was Liderman’s String Quartet No. 2, which received its premiere performance. Liderman, who teaches composition at the University of California at Berkeley, has written an engaging score that proposes a wealth of interesting ideas without quite following them through.
The opening section introduces a variety of punchy, strongly profiled material – melodic fragments, sharp rhythmic outbursts and so on – which promise to form the basis of the one-movement work. Some of those ideas, in fact, are deftly handled in the music that follows.” -- Joshua Kosman for the San Francisco Chronicle, May 6, 2003.
“Swirling Streams is scored for the unlikely combination of string trio, bass clarinet, and guitar – yet this piece makes the combination sound as natural and obvious as a string quartet. The title is very apt – much of the piece has a gentle dizzying and swirling quality with many changes in color and texture. The piece has great rhythmic vitality, as it bumped and swirled, with a satisfying sense of motion yet with constantly unpredictable and surprising rhythmic twists. This was contrasted by some beautiful moments of stillness with icy overlapping chords between the guitar-bass-clarinet combination and the string trio. Although the textures were all interesting, the piece did start to feel a little long towards the end, as if there were just a few too many textural changes to sustain my interest.” -- Jonathan Russell for the San Francisco Classical Voice, November 11, 2004:
“’Tropes III,’ a 1988 work for flute, clarinet and cello by Jorge Liderman, a newcomer to the UC-Berkeley composition faculty, made an attractive opener. Readily accessible music, in which languorous melodic material earned its “modern” badge through a gentle overlapping of the sonorities, it didn’t stoop to conquer.” -- Timothy Pfaff for the San Francisco Examiner, November 1990:
“In a program that included works by Silvestre Revueltas, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Roberto Sierra and Alberto Ginastera, of greatest local interest was the premiere of Jorge Liderman’s “Yzkor.” A native of Argentina, Liderman teaches at Berkeley, and “Yzkor” Hebrew for “remember,” is a memorial piece, whose optional fifth line was taken in Sunday’s performance by Cantor Marc Lowenstein. The vocal line, a periodic variation of an opening melody for unison voices, was derived from the Sephardic tradition and brought a bracing unity of construction to the music. This was the string quartet premiere of the Liderman piece, which also exists in an original version for clarinets.” -- Marilyn Tucker for the San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 1992.
“The first half also held interest, particularly the world premiere of a five-movement piece by the Berkeley-based composer, Jorge Liderman. “That Is, Already…” was commissioned by Betty Freeman—also present in the alert Piano Spheres audience.
The composer calls the work “a continuing discourse of contrasting ideas,” but the contrasts are not clear, though the modes of expression are articulate and often engrossing. Still, the piece lacks all the charms it needs to hold the listener rapt through its 20-minute length.” -- Daniel Cariaga for the Los Angeles, Times October 11, 2001.
“Parola excelled in “Tiempo Viejo” by the Argentinian-American composer Jorge Liderman, a work that uses Latin dance rhythms (and 11 drums!) in a undulant, spacey, almost laid-back way. " -- Anthony Tommasini for The Boston Globe, March 15, 1994.
“The program began with Liderman’s “Tropes I” for two clarinets (1987) and ended with a modern classic, Varese’s “Integrales” (1926). Liderman’s keenly profiled vignettes proved a splendid showcase for clarinetists J. Lawrie Bloom and John Bruce Yeh.” -- John von Rhein for the Chicago Tribune, Nov. 12, 1991: