Soprano Lisa Delan Featured on THE HOURS BEGIN TO SING
A new CD, The Hours Begin to Sing, with songs by American composers performed by soprano Lisa Delan, has just been released on the PentaTone Classics label (PTC 5186 459).
The recording features the art songs of William Bolcom, John Corigliano, David Garner, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie and Luna Pearl Woolf and is the partner CD to the 2009 album And If The Song Be Worth A Smile.
Ms. Delan and pianist Kristin Pankonin, joined by guest artists Matt Haimovitz, David Krakauer and Maxim Rubtsov, present four premiere recordings, three of which were written specifically for this disc.
Ms. Delan states, "To be part of the creative process of new songs from their inception to fruition is an exhilarating - and altogether humbling - experience. Myriadexternalities influence the direction of the journey from the moment the text speaks to a composer until the moment the performers speak the text, but the great wonder is in what happens in-between, in the mind and hand of the composer."
PentaTone Classics (PTC 5186 459)
THE HOURS BEGIN TO SING TRACK LIST:
Lisa Delan, soprano
Kristin Pankonin, piano
Matt Haimovitz, cello
David Krakauer, clarinet
Maxim Rubtsov, flute
Jake Heggie (1961) - From The Book of Nightmares
For Soprano, Cello, and Piano
Poems by Galway Kinnell
I. The Nightmare
II. In a Restaurant
III. My Father's Eyes
IV. Back You Go
David Garner (1954) - Vilna Poems
For Soprano, Clarinet, Cello and Piano
Poems by Avrom Sutzkever
Unter dayne vayse shtern
In torbe funem vint
John Corigliano (1938) - Three Irish Folksong Settings
For Soprano and Flute
I. The Salley Gardens (poem by William Butler Yeats)
II. The Foggy Dew
III. She Moved Through the Fair (poem by Padraic Colum)
Gordon Getty (1933) - Four Emily Dickinson Songs
For Soprano and Piano
Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers
There's a Certain Slant of Light
A Bird Came Down the Walk
Because I Could Not Stop for Death
Luna Pearl Woolf (1973) - Rumi: Quatrains of Love
For Soprano, Cello and Piano
Poetry by Jal?l ad-Din Muhammad R?m?
Translated by Coleman Barks
I. No. 1359: Do you think I know what I'm doing? (Introit)
II. No. 25: Friend, our closeness is this...
III. No. 1242: During the day I was singing with you.
IV. No. 388: I would love to kiss you.
V. No. 1797: We are walking through a garden.
VI. No. 1246: The minute I heard my first love story...
VII. No. 36: When I am with you...
VIII. No. 64: When I die, lay out the corpse.
IX. No. 91: The breeze at dawn...
X. No. 1359: Do you think I know what I'm doing? (Finale)
William Bolcom (1938) - Five Cabaret Songs
For Soprano and Piano
Poems by Arnold Weinstein
Song of Black Max (As Told by the de Kooning Boys)
At the Last Lousy Moments of Love
Angels Are the Highest Form of Virtue
Total playing time = 1:18:49
About the Works:
From The Book of Nightmares
This song cycle is based on four poems from The Book of Nightmares, a magnificent volume by the great American poet Galway Kinnell. Specifically, it is from Section VII of that volume: a set called "Little Sleep's Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight." A young child wakes up screaming from a nightmare and the parent goes to comfort him; this initiates a deep and tender meditation about our brief, impermanent time on the planet. The cello initiates a relentless, unsteady melodic and rhythmic figure that defines and permeates the cycle - reminding us that a sad, haunting truth always lurks in the corner. But this is exactly what makes the love and hope in these poems even more powerful and profound; and this is what ultimately inspired the music for the cycle. My beloved friend, soprano Lisa Delan, led me to this poetry, as she knew it would touch me deeply. She was right. These songs were composed specifically for her in early 2012 and are lovingly dedicated to her.
The work that has become Vilna Poems was first commissioned by the late mezzo-soprano Sylvie Braitman Chouraki, whom I knew through the San Francisco Conservatory. I had completed only a couple of sketches when Sylvie passed away, and the piece languished for years. Then in 2011, while Lisa Delan and I were discussing another project dealing with the Holocaust, I suddenly remembered Sylvie's legacy. We both were very excited about completing the work, and doors have been opened for us ever since: We were very fortunate to have David Krakauer and Matt Haimovitz commit to the recording and premiere early enough so that I could write the parts specifically for them. Lisa and pianist Kristin Pankonin have worked with me in many, many projects, and both knew Sylvie. Most recently, poet Chana Bloch became involved through yet another coincidence, and her definitive English translations and insight into the poems and the poet (whom she knew personally) have completed the magic surrounding this intricate work of vocal chamber music.
Three Irish Folksong Settings
In 1982, I composed Pied Piper Fantasy for flute and orchestra, a piece with stage action, inspired by the virtuosity of James Galway on the flute and the tin whistle. That was a fairy tale work, bubbling with the humorous, sometimes sardonic personality of Mr. Galway himself. Six years later, I tried to explore the more poetic side of Irish flute music in these settings of folk or folk-like texts by W.B. Yeats, Padraic Colum and an anonymous author. The tenor Robert White and the flutist Lisa Hansen gave the first performance in New York's Town Hall on June 18, 1988.
Four Dickinson Songs
These four poems were among those I considered when writing The White Election over twenty years ago. I had written what became the main music of "A Bird Came Down the Walk" in college days, in the spirit of Schubert or Schumann, but never whipped it into publishing shape. When Barbara Bonney kindly asked for a few songs to verse by an American poetess, I was grateful to be reminded of this unfinished business, along with the opportunity to suggest the oppressive cathedral tunes and the clip-clop of the hearse carriage in the second and last songs.
Rumi: Quatrains of Love
In Rumi's quatrains the sensuality, spirituality and revelation of his longer poems are distilled into short, concentrated vignettes. I chose ones that speak of passion, love, loss of control; some tell a story, others ask a question, but all reveal an internal conflict or a twist of perspective, illuminating a different plane.
Narrowing down Rumi's many quatrains, some immediately gave rise to simple musical textures and clear melodic outlines, while others were more resistant. Working closely with nine texts I found that they fell into natural pairs, exploring love through loss of perspective, sacrifice, mystery, and the transition between life and death. There was one quatrain, however, which seemed to summarize the whole set, No. 1359:
Do you think I know what I'm doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
This quatrain begins the cycle with solo soprano singing into the piano - with the sustain pedal down - so that her notes resonate in a veiled, sonic perfume. A pair of quatrains follows, celebrating the state of love and questioning the lover's ability to see clearly the world around him. A stately walking bass and a transparent texture in movement II give way to intoxicated close harmonies in III.
Movements IV and V delve into the dangerous side of love: loss of identity and freedom, which the lover can't help but embrace. In IV a nervous, fluttering piano underlies a lover's anticipation and inner dialog. In V a pastoral duet between the voice and cello is abruptly spoiled by jealous discord.
A third pair of quatrains revels in the enigma that is love, its elusive, heady nature. VI is set for voice and cello alone, in a mimicking children's song which blooms in its final confidence. The liquid ostinato of the piano in VII envelops a breathless, pleasurably tortured soprano. The fourth pair contrasts starkly. To death's heartbeat, the voice and cello chant a slow, hypnotized dirge. A spirited, bare-bones tango follows, imploring the lover to embrace both worlds wide-eyed.
Quatrain No. 1359 returns to frame the cycle, all three instruments now emphatically unified in declaiming the folly of trying to know anything about love.
-Luna Pearl Woolf
Five Cabaret Songs
One day in the 1950's Arnold [Weinstein] was visiting his friend Willem de Kooning's studio. Bill's brother had come to visit from Rotterdam, where they both had grown up - they had not seen each other for 30 years - and for Arnold's benefit they reminisced about the bohemian life in their home city in the 1930's. (Much of medieval Rotterdam was bombed flat by the Nazis in the Second World War and rebuilt in the fifties in the same ugly style as much of Germany.) The artists' and prostitutes' section of the city was the same quarter, with a lively street life. One of the most picaresque characters on the Rotterdam streets was "Zwarte Max": Black Max is his portrait "as told by the de Kooning boys."
Can't Sleep and At the Last Lousy Moments of Love are connected by a disturbing middle C on the piano, which takes us on a fast-forward cinematic jump to the end of the already tenuous relationship we see in the first song's lyric.
Angels are the Highest Form of Virtue, written for Barbara Harris, is a slightly amplified translation of something the famously religious composer Olivier Messiaen said at the Paris Conservatory after he and his wife-to-be Yvonne Loriod had performed "Visions de l'Amen" for the musical-esthetics class he taught. (Messiaen's original words in French, if memory serves, were: "Il y a trois especes de divinité au monde - les Anges, les Saints, et les Oiseaux - ah les oiseaux, je les aime parce qu'ils sont tout petits!")
George is a composite portrait of a number of transvestite (if only in their singing selves) falsetto singers we knew who specialized in the female operatic repertoire. (Ira Siff's delicious La Gran Scena Opera Company performs in this style - not often enough! - in New York, inspiring great hilarity plus deep respect for the troupe's musicianship.) The kind of murder mentioned in George was all too common around Christopher Street when I lived there in the 1960's.
About the Artists:
Lisa Delan, Soprano
American soprano Lisa Delan has won acclaim as an outstanding interpreter of a vast repertoire and is recognized for her versatility and breadth of accomplishment in performance and on recording. She has performed on some of the world's leading concert stages and in festivals from Napa to Novgorod.
Ms. Delan feels privileged to collaborate with composers whose musical lives are still works in progress. She has performed and recorded the music of William Bolcom, John Corigliano, David Garner, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie, Mikhail Pletnev, Louis Spratlan and Luna Pearl Woolf, among others. The joy of storytelling and sharing the range of human emotion with listeners drives her work both onstage and in the recording studio. She likens song to visual art: "We are all communicating in pictures, all the time; the words are the palette, and in this form music is the canvas and voice is the brush." The soprano particularly enjoys lingering in the subtle shadings and fine lines of musical portraits.
Ms. Delan's artistry can be experienced in recordings on PentaTone Classics: Joan and the Bells (2003), And If the Song Be Worth a Smile (2009), The White Election(2009), Phenomenon (2009) and The Hours Begin to Sing (2013). Her collaborative recording Angel Heart (co-created with composer Luna Pearl Woolf and also featuring Frederica von Stade, Sanford Sylvan, Daniel Taylor, Zheng Cao, Matt Haimovitz and Uccello, with narrator Jeremy Irons) will be released on Oxingale Records (North America) and PentaTone Classics (Worldwide) in late 2013.
About Ms. Delan's recordings, critics have noted, "The performance by Lisa Delan reveals her to be a singer with an unusually versatile voice, ranging from rich operatic tones to Broadway belt, with excellent diction and imaginative characterization. Delan has the ability to tell a story through song very effectively..." (International Record Review); "I am not sure I have heard a finer American song album..." (Audiophile Audition); "Delan expertly dispatches the difficult demands of rhythm and range"(Opera News); and "The recitative is here the realm of the exquisite artistry of Lisa Delan" (Scherzo). After surveying Ms. Delan's recordings, Sequenza 21 declared, "As a song interpreter she may well be unequaled."
For more information please visit lisadelan.com
Kristin Pankonin, Piano
Pianist Kristin Pankonin performs regularly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and has appeared in numerous recitals across the United States, Canada, and Europe. In recent seasons, she has appeared in concert with such artists as vocalists Frederica von Stade, Zheng Cao, Catherine Cook, Susanne Mentzer, Linda Watson, Marie Plette, Christine Abraham and Lisa Delan, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and many others. Audiences have heard her in various concert series including the Festival del Sole concerts in Napa, Carmel Music Society, San Diego's Mainly Mozart Festival, the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy, the Shenson Recital Series at Stanford, Maestro Foundation Concerts, Mills College Concert Series, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Faculty Artist Series, Old First Church Concerts, and Composers Inc.
Committed to performing the music of contemporary composers, Ms. Pankonin is featured on two recordings on the PentaTone Classics label: And If the Song BeWorth a Smile, performing vocal works of living American composers, and Phenomenon, songs by Bay Area composer David Garner with vocalists Lisa Delan, Susanne Mentzer, Francisco Araiza, William Stone and Stephanie Friede, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and members of the San Francisco Symphony. Ms. Pankonin currently serves on the faculties of Mills College and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Matt Haimovitz, Cello
Matt Haimovitz is acclaimed for both his tremendous artistry and for being a musical visionary - pushing the boundaries of classical music performance, championing new music and initiating groundbreaking collaborations, all while mentoring an award-winning studio of young cellists at McGill University's Schulich School of Music in Montreal.
Mr. Haimovitz made his debut in 1984, at the age of 13, as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, and at 17, made his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon (Universal Classics) with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Haimovitz made his Carnegie Hall debut when he substituted for histeacher, the legendary Leonard Rose, in Schubert's String Quintet, alongside Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman and Shlomo Mintz.
Haimovitz's recording career encompasses more than 20 years of award-winning work on Deutsche Grammophon and his own Oxingale Records. His recent release,Meeting of the Spirits (Oxingale Records), was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Classical Crossover Album and won a GRAMMY for Best Producer of the Year (Classical). A new recording with pianist Christopher O'Riley, Shuffle.Play.Listen (Oxingale Records), celebrating the evolution of the listening experience since the iPod, has received unanimous acclaim. The solo cello recital is a Haimovitz trademark, both inside and outside the concert hall. In 2000, he made waves with his Bach "Listening-Room" tour, for which, to great acclaim, Haimovitz took Bach's beloved cello suites out of the concert hall and into clubs. He was the first classical artist to play at New York's infamous CBGB, in a performance filmed by ABC News for Nightline UpClose.
Haimovitz's honors include the Concert Music Award from ASCAP, the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the GrandPrix du Disque, the Diapason d'Or, and the Premio Internazionale "Accademia Musicale Chigiana." He was in the final studio of legendary cellist Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School and received a B.A. magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard University. Haimovitz plays a Venetian cello, made in 1710 by Matteo Gofriller.
David Krakauer, Clarinet
Clarinetist David Krakauer has been praised for his astounding ability to play a myriad of music genres with "prodigious chops" (The New Yorker) and "soulfulness and electrifying showiness" (The New York Times). Occupying the distinctive position of being a leading exponent of Eastern European Jewish klezmer music, Krakauer is also a master in classical music and avant-garde improvisation.
Krakauer has introduced his sound to symphonic audiences in the U.S. and Europe, performing with distinguished orchestras across the globe. He continues to premiere concertos by new composers such as Osvaldo Golijov, Jean Philippe Calvin, Ofer Ben Amots, George Tsontakis, and Mohammed Fairouz.
The New York Times has said that his ensemble, Klezmer Madness!, "hurls the tradition of klezmer music into the rock era." As co-founder of the multi-genre supergroup Abraham Inc., Krakauer's klezmer style is merged with the musical traditions of funk legend Fred Wesley and hip-hop renegade Socalled. The group's debut release Tweet Tweet (Table Pounding Records) peaked at No. 1 in Funk and No. 1 in Jewish and Yiddish Music on Amazon, one recording among Krakauer's extensive discography that can be purchased on Amazon.
A passionate educator, Krakauer is on the faculties of Mannes College The New School For Music, NYU, Manhattan School of Music, and Bard Conservatory of Music. He makes his home in New York, and is an artist and clinician for the Selmer, Conn- Selmer, and Rico companies.
Maxim Rubtsov has been called "one of the best flutists of the Modern Age." He is also one of Russia's best musical ambassadors. Appointed Principal Flute of the Russian National Orchestra in 2003, Rubtsov has been given unprecedented solo opportunities, including the Russian premiere of John Corigliano's Pied Piper Fantasyin 2004. About the performance, the composer said, "Maxim Rubtsov is the perfect Pied Piper. He has both the charm and excitement that a great performer must have. With his movie star looks and charisma, and his magnificent playing and acting of the part, the legendary piper becomes alive for all to see." With Vladimir Jurowski and the RNO in 2007 Rubtsov performed Mozart's Flute Concerto in G Major, after which Maestro Jurowski wrote, "Mr. Rubtsov is the sort of person who can stand on the concert stages of the world and inspire harmonious relations through his music and his personality." Born in 1977 in Bryansk, Russia, Maxim Rubtsov began to study piano at age five. At age seven he danced with the famous Moiseyev Dance Company, and only later did he begin flute lessons. At age 13 he transferred to Moscow's Gnesin Academy of Music and subsequently graduated with an advanced degree in music from the Moscow State Conservatory. In addition to his extensive orchestral work, Rubtsov is the leader and a founding member of the Russian National Orchestra Wind Quintet, which took top honors in the Fifth Annual Osaka International Chamber Music Contest.