<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman DEATH BE NOT PROUD
Like Sessions - I think particularly of Idyll of Theocritius in
that old Louisville recording with its poignant solo soprano commentary
- the writing is serial, but Imbrie utilizes his note rows to 'sharpen'
the focus on its 'melodic' content. Like Alban Berg, he has
that gift of projecting a flow of connecting instrumental combinations,
balancing them poetically and subtly so they stand apart, or merge cleverly
with vocal lines - here the New York Virtuoso Singers and Lisa Saffer, solo
soprano and the Riverside Symphony with their dedicated conductor George
Rothman. Their speciality is off-the-beaten track repertoire, and their
choice in this instance, admirable.
In 6 sections, the last proclaims John Donne's sonnet 'Death
Be Not Proud' in three parts - an extended introduction, the chorus
singing in English instead of Latin, for the middle, the last bringing back
the soprano in Latin, with a 'Benedictus' where she attains
the highest notes in her range. Throughout, the work compels our closest
attention, not just for the intricacy of its layout, but primarily in the
meaningful clarity and humanity of conception. 'Evening Prayer',
is 'a human, sensual experience suggesting a union of man with God
through direct communication' - I quote the composer - where a maze
of strings/woodwind traceries merge with the chorus (very like late Stravinsky,
at this point), the soloist pirouetting her line legato fashion, into high
regions of the universe with amazing dexterity.
Piano Concerto No 3 (1989-91) was commissioned by the Riverside Symphony
for Alan Feinberg to perform, with funds from The New York State Council.
The attractiveness (with New York City taxi horns intermingling with earlier
reminiscences conjuring up mixed feelings of alarm and nostalgia) is certainly
not of the violent kind.
Copyright © 7 October 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
CD INFORMATION - BRIDGE 9091
PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM AMAZON
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