Liben Music Publishers
Liben Music Publishers was founded by Frank Proto in 1966. Originally we published only a small catalog of music for the double bass. Since then the double bass catalog has grown to almost 100 titles, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. To encourage the creation of more works for the double bass we now publish original music and transcriptions by many different composers.
Music without boundaries.
Proto has always straddled the worlds of classical, jazz and pops. Many of his compositions (and arrangements) inhabit all three of these worlds. His very first original orchestra piece was the Concerto No. 1 for double bass and orchestra. Immediately after its premiere in 1969 several orchestras decided to program the work. Around the same time he began writing original music for orchestral pops concerts. As more and more orchestras requested his music it was decided to offer them in a more organized way. In 1972 our rental library was started.
High quality orchestral music for symphony orchestra Pops Concerts with a contemporary, American sound is usually difficult to come by. The music described in this section was written with major orchestras in mind. Most of the selections were not meant for school, amateur or community orchestras, although they have been used successfully on more than a few occasions by some of those organizations. The pieces have been designed to challenge an orchestra both technically and musically. They have also been designed to be used over a long period of time and should not become "dated" after one or two seasons.
Performance problems have been kept to a minimum. All of the selections fit the instrumental forces and character of the standard symphony orchestra. They are not blown-up band arrangements with strings added. The description of each selection is followed by a Special Requirements paragraph. Usually the only special requirement is for a good rhythm section - a pianist who can read chord symbols and improvise, a jazz oriented bass player (electric or acoustic) who can do the same and a good solid drummer. Most orchestras have at least one bassist who has had a good deal of Jazz and Pop experience and a percussionist who is at home with a set of drums. Another frequently called for special is a brass or wind player who can improvise. Again, many orchestras have players who at some time in their musical lives played with jazz groups or big bands.
While most of the music is written with the full orchestra sound in mind, solos for almost all of the principal players have been scattered throughout, from the oboe solo in Fantasy on the Saints to the cello solo in the The Voyage that Johnny never knew. Many of these solos are very showy exhibitions and should be treated no differently than similar solos in the standard orchestral repertoire.
Several pieces that were originally meant for Pops Concerts have found their way onto Young People's programs as a sort of "dessert." Something to show the youngsters that after Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Stravinsky, the orchestra can enter still another world of music, one that is quite familiar to them. Selections that work well on both types of concerts are noted in their descriptive paragraphs.
Many of the works in this section were commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for its youth programs. The pieces are intended to instruct without being overly scholarly.
Situations arise with every orchestra, conductor or soloist where a special occasion requires something totally new for the program.
Perhaps a fanfare to inaugurate a new series; An overture or large-scale work to celebrate the opening of a new facility; A new concerto or similar work to feature a new principal player or soloist; Or simply some new, fresh sounding arrangements of a familiar melody or two.
We can provide you with a new composition or arrangement for just about any special concert. One of our important goals is to provide works that will survive their first performances and go on to a fruitful life of their own. Many of the pieces in this catalog that were originally created for one particular concert or event have become staples of the American symphonic pops and young people's repertoire.
For example: Casey at the Bat was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony for a special appearance with the orchestra by baseball great Johnny Bench. Fantasy on the Saints was originally written for the Chicago Civic Orchestra and played at their final concert of the 1975 season. Solar Wind was originally commissioned by the Jacksonville Symphony for its Young People's series. These works, along with several others in the catalog, have have since received hundreds of performances and have become as familiar to Pops audiences throughout North America as the traditional Strauss Waltzes and Polkas are to those in Europe.
When the Cincinnati Pops needed a special orchestral showpiece for their very first appearance at Carnegie Hall, A Portrait of George, a 30 minute medley of Gershwin songs was created especially for the occasion. The New York Times gave the piece a glowing review. The Vox/Turnabout recording has been critically acclaimed and the Cincinnati Pops has performed and toured with it on many occasions.
When the fabulous French double bass virtuoso François Rabbath appeared with the Houston Symphony Proto was asked to compose a short, small orchestra work to complement another work that the soloist was scheduled to perform. The Fantasy for double bass and orchestra stole the show, has since been played throughout the world over 50 times and has been recorded for Red Mark Records.
Some practical considerations
About 15 years ago we, along with many other publishers, encountered a problem that threatened to put us all out of business. The cost of part extraction for large (and not-so-large) orchestral works had gotten to the point where it was becoming impossible to produce anything but the most simple, cut-down, small orchestra pieces. We began looking for alternatives to the traditional hand-copying extraction methods. At that time, computer assisted music printing was just a distant dream for most of us. However, we became acquainted with a small computer company based in Vermont called New England Digital. The company was widely known as the manufacturer of the Synclavier Digital Music System, an extremely sophisticated digital synthesizer and sampling computer. One of the programs being developed for the Synclavier was a music printing program that would enable composers and arrangers to enter their work into the computer, edit it, and extract a score and set of parts from the same source material.
For the past decade Liben has been known for the high quality of scores and parts that we consistently provide our clients. Times do change though. As good as our printed material lookes we are always searching for somthing that would help our engravers achieve even better results. In May of 1995 we switched our entire printing operation to the new, state-of-the-art engraving system, Graphire Music Press.