Cafe Music - Paul Schoenfeld

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Product Type: Digital Download

Format: Piano Score with Parts

Composer: Paul Schoenfeld (formerly Paul Schoenfield)

Instrumentation: Violin, Cello, and Piano

Duration: Approx. 17 minutes

Date Written: 1987

Commissioned by: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

Premiered by: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, January 1987

Additional Information: 

Perhaps Paul's most widely performed and revered composition, Café Music is beloved worldwide

Paul Schoenfeld: “The idea to compose Café Music first came to me in 1985 after sitting in one night for the pianist at Murray’s Restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Murray’s employs a house trio that plays entertaining dinner music in a wide variety of styles. My intention was to write a kind of high-class dinner music — music which could be played at a restaurant, but might also (just barely) find its way into a concert hall. The work draws on many of the types of music played by the trio at Murray’s. For example, early 20th-century American, Viennese, light classical, gypsy, and Broadway styles are all represented. A paraphrase of a beautiful Chassidic melody is incorporated in the second movement. Café Music was commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) and received its premiere during an SPCO chamber concert in January 1987.”

Excerpted program note from a 1989 performance by 21st Century Consort

Cafe Music took root in the composer's experience in filling in for a friend as the pianist of a trio that played regularly in a restaurant in St. Paul. Primarily intended as live background music for diners, the trio performed pieces from early 20th-century America and late 19th-century Vienna. The idea presented itself to use the thematic styles, harmonies, and typical gestures of this thrice-familiar music as the basis for an original work for the same ensemble -- violin, piano, and cello. --Written by Steven Ledbetter

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