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Ballet of Phantoms
  • Label: CD Baby
  • UPC: 634479167102
  • Item #: SRD916710
  • Release Date: 9/20/2005
  • This product is a special order
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Ballet of Phantoms on CD

Solo Piano Compositions by Dana Carlile Performed by Pianist Susan DeWitt Smith The story of Dana's musical grandfather Ferdinand Sorenson and uncles is below. Composer Dana Carlile had several years of piano instruction as a child. He took up playing the piano again on his own, as a hobby, after finishing graduate school in 1980. In the late 1980s an artist friend persuaded Dana to try composing some background music for an art exhibit. Dana was surprised to discover that he could write music but he did not see much point to it. Music would spontaneously pop into his head during periods of moodiness or when he made a mistake playing the piano, both of which were quite often. While these first composing experiences were unnerving, they were enjoyable enough that he continued composing for several years. While Dana hoped that his compositions would expand his repertoire of easy piano pieces for his hobby playing, the compositions soon exceeded his playing ability. After a second period of composing in the late 1990s, he had completed over 80 pieces of piano music and decided to have his music recorded. His first CD, 'Preludes for Silence and Darkness', was featured on National Public Radio's Open Mic internet show in 2004. In 2005 he released two more CDs of his music, 'The Ballet of Phantoms' and 'A Lullaby for Innocence'. Also in 2005, he began working with film director John Jopson developing the sound track for the film 'Les Absintheurs', presently in production in Europe. In 2007 he released his fourth CD, 'A Paris Moon'. SUSAN DeWITT SMITH'S MUSICAL BIOGRAPHY Pianist Susan DeWitt Smith earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Nelita True. Her many musical accolades include a second prize in the Young Keyboard Artists' International Competition, semi-finalist standing at the International Stravinsky Awards Competition, several performance awards from Dartmouth College and a performer's certificate and teaching award from Eastman. Smith has performed throughout the United States and New Zealand. An avid chamber musician, she has played at the Hot Springs Music Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Nelson Music Festival and the Olympic Music Festival. Her professional recordings include several works for Radio New Zealand. She has recorded for the Manu label and appears on a disc of works by New Zealand composers. KOCH International Classics recordings include Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1 with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, three recordings with flutist Alexa Still and a recording of works by Roy Harris with the Third Angle New Music Ensemble. Smith has appeared as a soloist with the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Palomar Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Oregon Symphony. She is a member of the Oregon-based Third Angle New Music Ensemble and lives in Portland, where she teaches at Reed College and Marylhurst University. She maintains an active performing schedule. This is the second CD Susan has recorded for Dana. She recorded 'Preludes for Silence and Darkness' for Dana in 2003. A Musical Biography of Dana's grandfather Ferdinand Sorenson Ferdinand Sorenson was born in Grenaa, Denmark in 1882 and the next year his father Lars, mother Matilda, and sister Minnie left for America. Eight other of brothers and sisters had already traveled to Utah several years earlier. Lars began teaching Ferdinand the violin when the boy was five years old. By 8 Ferdinand was playing in public with his father. At an early age Ferdinand not only played the violin but also brass instruments to join in family and community orchestras. They would put a band together and go, as he said, "barnstorming around the countryside." In 1896 Ferdinand and his older brother Antone played in the band that welcomed the Denver & Rio Grande railroad's first passenger train to Elsinore, Utah. It was Ferdinand's sister Minnie's career in vaudeville which suggested to Ferdinand that he might make a career out of music. Her tours included performing in Utah where the young Ferdinand got to see his sister perform in the Elsinore Opera House. Ferdinand collected photos of his sister as she toured around the United States. When Ferdinand went to Salt Lake City in 1898 he continued his violin studies with Willard Weihe. Weihe had been a pupil of the violinists Ole Bull, Henri Vieuxtemps and Joseph Joachim. He was one of the founders of the Salt Lake City Bohemian Club, Salt Lake City Opera and was also concert master of the Salt Lake Symphony. Weihe was also the violinist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was in Salt Lake City Ferdinand played in his first symphony and opera orchestras. Besides Weihe, Ferdinand also took violin lesson from Leroy Von Gesner and Mose Christenen who became his life long friend and mentor. He probable played in of the Christensen orchestras in Salt Lake, Ogden or at Saltair or the Castilla Hot Springs resorts. In 1901 Ferdinand found work with Mose Christensen in Boise, Idaho. It was there that Ferdinand took up the cello to play in the Christensen string quartet. He continued playing violin, viola, trombone and euphonium but the cello would be the instrument he would play in orchestras in New York, Boise, Spokane and Portland. 12 years older than Ferdinand, Mose Christensen was born in 1871 in Salt Lake City. Like Ferdinand, Mose studied the violin first with his father and then with Willard Weihe in Salt Lake. Latter he studied with the German violinist Henry Schradieck on the East coast and played in Schradieck's Eutrepe Symphony Society. Mose Christensen and his group of musicians in Idaho thought Ferdinand so talented that they helped him in 1905 to collect enough money to travel to Europe to study. Ferdinand headed east intending to study the cello with Julius Klengel in Leipzig, Germany. The train was reputedly delayed by a tornado and he missed the boat to Europe. He stayed in New York and studied cello with the Frenchman, William Ebann, at the New York College of Music. Eban taught out of studios above Carnegie Hall. Ferdinand earned his living in theater and restaurant orchestras and played in the orchestras of Alfred Volpe and Walter or Frank Damrosch. While in New York Ferdinand earned his living by working in restaurant and theater orchestras such as the Schubert theaters where he worked in shows staring Nazimova and David Warfield. Early on Ferdinand had to keep his theater jobs a secret from his teacher because Ebann wanted Ferdinand playing only open strings on the cello for many weeks to improve his tone. During the summer he would work at Lake Placid resorts such as the Grand View Hotel. On returning to the West in 1908, Ferdinand played briefly in the Boise Philharmonic under Mose Christensen's direction. He moved to Portland, Oregon with Mose and Mose's family and lived with them above the dancing academy Mose built at 11th and Yamhill. Mose and Ferdinand both played in the Portland Symphony under David Rosebrook in 1909, where Ferdinand was briefly principal cellist. Ferdinand also assisted Ernest Spitzner in the Spitzner Youth Orchestra. Ferdinand did not stay in Portland long enough to help Mose and his musical colleagues re-organize the Portland Symphony Orchestra in 1911. In Brigham City Ferdinand had met May Jensen, married in 1909 and moved to Spokane, Washington in 1910. For 14 years Ferdinand settled in Spokane where he started his musical family with three sons: Hubert, Richard and Mayo. Ferdinand wanted a family of musicians. Learning music from his father Lars had turned out to be both pleasurable and profitable for Ferdinand. He assumed it would be the same for his children and he wanted his own family sting quartet. His first job in Spokane was in the Silver Grill Orchestra at the Hotel Spokane. Ferdinand taught music, dancing and conducted the Auditorium Theater orchestra for eight years, which reputedly had the largest stage in the United States at the time. Besides playing in the Spokane Symphony he also played in the Gesner-Sorenson String Quartet, the Gottfried Herbst String Quartet and the Spokane Citizen's Band. In 1922 he toured around Canada with the Chuck Whitehead Orchestra, the same year that the Spokane Symphony conducted by Leonardo Brill performed Ferdinand's "The American Desert" for string orchestra at the American Theater. In 1919, Chuck Whitehead, originally from Ogden, Utah built his dance hall in Spokane at 333 Sprague Avenue. It was in the Whitehead Dancing Palace that Ferdinand started his dancing school after having graduated from Mose's Christensen school in Portland. Ferdinand study ballet with Stefano Mascagno at the American National Association Masters of Dancing normal schools organized by Mose. In 1923, while Ferdinand had his dancing school at the Whitehead Dancing Palace, Mineralava Beauty Clay sponsored a tango performance by Rudolf Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova, born Winifred Kimball-Shaughnessy and great granddaughter of Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball. Teaching music, the dancing school, playing in and conducting theater orchestras in Spokane was not enough for Ferdinand and his growing family of musicians. In 1924 there were still only 20 or so theaters in Spokane, the same as when Ferdinand arrived in 1910. In the port city of Portland, Oregon the number of theaters went from less than 20 to 50. Ferdinand, after considering several west coast cities, thought he and his sons would have a better chance getting playing jobs in Portland and moved back to Portland, Oregon in 1924. He had bought property there in 1910, before he had left for Spokane, and on his return to Portland had his Webster street home built. Ferdinand spent the rest of his life in Portland except when he was traveling around the country visiting family and former students. In Portland, Ferdinand began playing in the Portland Symphony again. Conductor Willem van Hoogstraten had replaced the recently deceased Theodore Spiering after he replaced Carl Denton. Other groups Ferdinand played with were the Ashley Cook Band, the McDougall Concert Band, the Ted Bacon String Orchestra and the Gershkovitch Symphony Orchestra. Ferdinand played in the Kelly's Kaballeros when Joe Srodka was the leader. He also played in the KGW, KOIN and other radio orchestras over the years. Ferdinand and his sons continued playing with Chuck Whitehead's Orchestra at the People's and Rivoli theaters. Ferdinand also conducted the Woodmen of the World Junior Orchestra, the Sorenson Concert Orchestra and the Inter-Community Orchestra in Longview, Washington. In 1929, restaurants, dance halls and the 50 some theaters in Portland, Oregon employed nearly 3,000 musicians. Theaters such as the Mayfair (old Heilig), Rivoli, Majestic, Orpheum and Hippodrome employed orchestras six days a week. Some of these orchestras had up to 40 pieces. Talking pictures, radio, recorded music and the Great Depression brought down the curtain on this world of vaudeville and cinema orchestras. When this happened Ferdinand had to make a living more from of teaching than playing music. Ferdinand lamented the decline of live music performance as a living not on only for himself but his four sons. He had thought music would be as good a career for all of them as it had been for him when he was young. May, his wife, thought he would have made more money if had kept to teaching dancing like Mose Christensen After Mose Christensen had died in 1920 the Christensen Dance Studio continued on under Mose's wife Carrie Christensen and his son Victor. Carrier had taken her prodigy son Victor to study violin with Oscar Back in Brussels before World War I when he was still a child. During the war he studied with Leopold Lichtenberg in New York. After a brief career with the Seattle Symphony he returned after his father's death to help his mother run the family dance studio. Ferdinand's son Dick and daughter Dorothy took ballroom dance lessons from Victor. In the early 1930s Mose Christensen's nephew William Christensen joined Carrie and Victor at the Christensen Studio to teach ballet. Ferdinand provided his family's musical services at some of William Christensen's ballet events in exchange for his daughter Dorothy's ballet lessons with William. Ferdinand conducted his own orchestra when Clement Crouse presented a ballet by William Christensen at Tigard High School. William, in turn, would come and dance with his students at Ferdinand's events. Ferdinand's young daughter Dorothy was one of the evening nymphs in William Christensen's presentation of Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" for the Portland Rose Festival Queen in 1933. William choreographed Ferdinand's 'Tarantella' for sting quartet and danced it with Natalie Lauterstein. William also presented his ballet interpretation of Ferdinand's 'Gavotte' for sting quartet in 1933. In 1937 William Christensen left Portland with the best of his troupe of dancers to audition for the San Francisco Opera Ballet and ended up running it by 1938. While Ferdinand played in many symphony orchestras it was not something he liked to do: "I don't care to play in orchestras. It's noisy. Playing in a section, there is no individuality with many people all playing the same part, I enjoy string quartets. It's the highest form of music." When, in 1947, the Portland Symphony started again after an eight year hiatus, Werner Janssen, the new conductor, required old symphony members to re-audition. Ferdinand and clarinetist Owen Sanders were some of the old-timers that refused to re-audition. Still Ferdinand was offered the position of principal cellist. But he turned it down, as he said 'concerts aren't bad but rehearsals are death.' Playing popular music had a price as well. An orchestra leader wanted younger looking musicians and Ferdinand had to dye his gray hair to keep his job. Hubert Hubert Sorenson started playing professionally at age 12 with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. Hubert and Richard both played in the Portland Junior Symphony and briefly with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, frequently at the same time. And they played together in the Sorenson-Howard Trio with their sister Dorothy's piano teacher, Randolph Howard. Hubert was working professionally for Chuck Whitehead at 15, playing trumpet and violin, the same time he was playing violin in the Portland Junior Symphony. Hubert joined Alexander Vdovin, Ferdinand Konrad and Susie Fennell-Pipes in the Portland Chamber Music Quartet. The quartet was renamed the Neah-Kah-Nie Quartet after Michel Penha had replaced Ferdinand Konrad and they had spent the summer of 1930 rehearsing at Neah-Kah-Nie on the Oregon Coast. Susie Fennell-Pipes founded the Neah-Kah-Nie Quartet and the Portland Chamber Music Society. She had taught violin at the University of Oregon when she was still 18 and then went to Germany to study with Joseph Joachim and Joachim's star student Theodore Spiering in 1905. The violist Alexander Vdovin like Albert Volpe was a graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music and was later replaced by Abraham Weiss. Michel Penha was originally from Holland and had been principal cellist with the Philadelphia Philharmonic for five years and latter the San Francisco Symphony before arriving in Portland. Latter, when Hubert moved to California, he joined Abraham Weiss, Flori Gough, Karl Rossner and Nathan Abas in the Abas Quartet. Hubert worked in both classical and popular music playing violin, clarinet, saxophone, and then the viola in the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet Orchestras. He had to give up the trumpet from his Chuck Whitehead Orchestra days and the flute because he said he just did not have the time to keep up practicing so many instruments. He played casual jobs in the NBC Radio Orchestra, Jan Garber Band and numerous other popular music groups. Richard After leaving Portland, the Portland Symphony and the Sorenson-Howard Trio, Richard Sorenson shipped out of San Francisco on boats of the Dollar Steamship Line, American Presidents Line and the Matson Line. Richard played violin, cello, clarinet and sax in the ship orchestras. In 1935, on the Dollar Line's SS Van Buren, he worked a trip around the world with his friends from Portland: Earl Scott (trumpet), Norman Easley (sax & violin) and Wilson Broms (piano). Because Richard doubled on the rare combination of sax and cello he had to resist an offer to jump ship for a job in New York: competing in a city with 15,000 other musicians (many of them unemployed) seemed risky in the middle of the Great Depression. The ship orchestra jobs weren't much of a living though. Ferdinand and Richard's older brother Hubert had to send him money: sometimes on the other side of the world. Richard said of ship orchestra pay that only the Chinese workers on board were paid less. On occasion Richard was joined by his brother Hubert. When he came back from his first playing job on the SS Monterey, Hubert voiced one of his common refrains: 'never again'. Richard was on the Matson's SS Lurline when it left Honolulu, Hawaii on December 5th 1941. In spite of his high blood pressure Richard ended up in the Army during World War II playing in army bands in Arkansas. After the war he played with the Monty Brooks Band before he died in1948. Mayo Ferdinand's third son, Mayo, played in the Jefferson High School Band. While still in high school Mayo developed epilepsy after having suffered a sever fever several years before. The family thought forestry at Oregon State University would provide better opportunities for a career given his condition and given the poor prospects for anyone in the music business after 1929. While at OSU he played in the ROTC band. Forestry at Oregon State lasted only one year. Mayo transferred to the University of Oregon to major in music. Earl Scott and Norm Easley joined Mayo there having finished their round-the-world cruise with Dick and Willie Brons on the SS President Van Buren. While at the University of Oregon, Mayo lived in and played at the Eugene Hotel. Mayo also played with the Top Hat dance band, the university orchestra (occasionally as a soloist) and with the U of O marching band. Mayo also took up the baton, like his father, directing high school bands and university ensembles. After graduating he taught at the university for a year. Besides flute and violin, Mayo played two instruments occasionally disdained by his father: the saxophone and the piano. When Mayo returned to live in Portland he played in the KGW radio orchestra and the KOIN radio orchestra under Joe Sampietro. He also played in bands at the Jantzen Beach Ballroom, the Uptown Dance Hall and the Capitol Theater before he died in 1942. Pete Quinten Sorenson, who went by 'Pete', played in the Jefferson High School Band like his brother Mayo and then with Chuck Whitehead like his father and brother Hubert. Pete started playing in the Woody Hite Band when he was still at Jefferson High School. Woody Hite and his Guardsmen played at McElroy's Spanish Ballroom, the Uptown Ballroom and numerous other Portland and Oregon venues such as the University of Oregon and Oregon State college campuses. Pete had perfect pitch like his dad and all his brothers. As soon as he walked into a theater he new what key a band was playing in. Pete was happy to leave the reputedly moody Chuck Whitehead and continue playing with Woody Hite when the band joined the union and went professional in 1940. During World War II Pete played in US Army dance, concert and marching bands at Fort Lawton in Seattle, Washington and the Allied base at Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Pete preferred popular swing music. Regarding four army bands combined to form a mass band: 'If there is anything worse than one legit band it would be four.' Regarding audience discrimination: 'They still hear with their eyes and not their ears.' And the benefits of trumpets: "The trumpet is good for one thing though. It's a fine way to escape from the Army. At least it something they can't tell me how to do.' Ferdinand's Teaching and Latter Years With Ferdinand's numerous string and brass students and extensive teaching experience he was able to assist Mary Dodge, Jacques Gershkovitch and others develop the Portland Junior Symphony. Besides his private string and brass students Ferdinand taught, over the years, as an adjunct professor at Pacific University, Lewis and Clark College, Portland University, the University of Oregon and Portland State College. He conducted the student orchestra at Marylhurst College for Women and the student band at Pacific University. In the late 50's when Raphael Spiro, arrived from Chicago and started a string quartet the three other players he asked to join him, Leonard Stehn, Sammy Piazza and Pat Miller, were all Ferdinand's students. Ferdinand did not exempt himself from his high standards, practicing 4 to 5 hours a day himself. Some of this practicing would take place during symphony rehearsals: he would practice scales during double forte sections for the brass when the cellos had nothing to play. He was practicing to the end: in his last letter to his daughter before his stroke he said: "The day one stops practicing is the day one begins sliding downhill." In latter years, until he lost his drivers license, Ferdinand would take his violin and a concerto to study as he traveled incommunicado in his Nash automobile around the West. When he wasn't staying with family and former students he would camp out in parks and stay in the "Ambassador Suite of the Nash Hotel." Ferdinand would take his violin out in places like Kaibab National Forest to play for himself and the mountains, reliving his days as a shepherd serenading his flock when he was a youth in Utah. Ferdinand was still teaching privately and at Portland State College when he had a stroke in 1966. Though unable to speak normally he still played the violin and would go from room to room at the convalescence home serenading his fellow patients. He died a few months later in December 1966 at the age of 84. Ferdinand was survived only by his son Hubert and his daughter Dorothy. Sources Interviews with, and reminisces of, Dorothy Sorenson Carlile, Peter Sorenson, Marion Fouse, Glenn Reeves, Patricia Miller, Robert Findley, Leonard Stehn, and Herman Jobelmann. Audio Editing, Mastering and Graphic Layout (including misspelling) by Dana Carlile Cover photo is Stefano Mascagno with a student at the Christensen Dance Studio in Portland, Oregon. Mascagno was brought from Italy by Mose Christensen to teach ballet at his studio. The CD is dedicated to Dana's uncle Richard Sorenson Many thanks to The Multnomah County Library Portland, Oregon A Lullaby for Innocence track list Rhonda Ringering, Piano 1 Berceuse No. 2, Pompeii from the Sea 2 Waltz No. 16, The Ghosts of Shaniko 3 Deja Vu Satie, Gymnopedie 4 Oblique No. 1, Cairo to Cheops 5 Lullaby of the Waltz, Dancing for Dreams 6 Deja Vu Scarlatti, A Lullaby for La Rouchefoucauld 7 Oblique No. 2, Mephisto's Lullaby 8 Mazurka No. 3, Ravel's Cat on the Piano 9 Berceuse No. 1, Dream of the Swan 10 Lullaby No. 3, Metamorphosis of a Celtic Theme 11 Barcarolle No. 6, Richard on the Nile 12 Waltz No. 17, The Tumbleweed Waltz 13 Pensive No. 2, The Song of the Swan 14 Lullaby No. 4, Summer Wind in the Tall Grass 15 Siesta No. 5, Dreaming of Sleep 16 Oblique No. 1, Cairo to Cheops 17 Waltz No. 3, The Lilt of Innocence.