Lyric Arts Trio -- Music of the Americas
"Twelve Kisses" -- Forrest Pierce
The Twelve Kisses sets texts from the Song of Songs, both in the original Hebrew of the Shir Hashirim, as well as in English poetic transformations by the composer. These ancient love poems have inspired readings both literal and metaphorical, and are considered sacred to three religions. The superimposed representation of physical, intimate, romantic love with the subtextual poetry of the soul's longing for the divine makes it a particularly rich landscape for the painting of musical meaning. The title of the work comes from a trilingual pun, the Hebrew word "dodechi" closely resembling the Greek word for "Twelve." Forrest Pierce is on the composition faculty of Kansas University.
"Knoxville: Summer of 1915" -- Samuel Barber
In January 1947, as his aunt Louise and father Roy both were gravely ill, Samuel Barber read an autographical sketch by James Agee that caused an immediate response in the composer. The essay was first published in the Partisan Review in 1938 and later included as a prologue in Agee's posthumously published novel, A Death in the Family. Barber wrote years later: "the summer evening Agee describes in his native Southern town reminded me so much of similar evenings when I was a child at home" (in West Chester, Pennsylvania). Leontyne Price, who grew up in Mississippi and became a noted interpreter of the piece, said "You can smell the South in it." The work was composed for American soprano Eleanor Steber and premiered by the Boston Symphony, under the direction of Serge Koussevitzky on April 9, 1948.
"Images at Nightfall, Georgian Bay" -- Srul Irving Glick
The music of Srul Irving Glick remains some of the most popular Canadian classical music and is regularly featured in concerts and broadcasts around the world. Images at Nightfall, Georgian Bay was composed in 1989, and is an evocative depiction of the bay on Lake Huron and its wildlife, including the call of the loon. Glick's brother was a clarinetist, and the piece is dedicated to well-known Canadian clarinetist, James Campbell.
"Tonada y cueca" -- Carlos Guastavino
Carlos Guastavino was an Argentinean composer and produced over 500 works, most of them for piano and voice. His style was lusciously Romantic, and he was dubbed the "Schubert of the Pampas." A tonada is a term used in Latina American countries for a variety of lyrical songs. It is especially important in Chile and Argentina as a traditional song with guitar or accordion accompaniment. A cueca is a lively folkdance, and is the national dance of Chile.
"Three songs of Ernesto Lecuona" -- arr. by Charlie Harmon
Ernesto Lecuona was a Cuban composer and pianist and a prolific composer of songs, zarzuela and music for stage and film. In 1942, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song; however, it lost to "White Christmas." Lecuona's songs were first introduced to US audiences by fellow Cuban, Desi Arnaz.
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