<< -- 3 -- Howard Smith LARSEN'S LICENCE
Across the Atlantic her opera, Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus
was selected as one of the eight best classical musical events of 1990 while
Gramophone described her symphony Water Music, 'the finest
water music since Respighi's Fountains'.
In the mid 90s David Stearns (USA Today) wrote; 'Larsen is the only English-language
composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music
so intelligently and expressively.'
Her large scale Mary Cassatt, for voice and instruments appeared
in 1994. And by 1998 her vocal work on CDs included Songs from Letters,
Arleen Auger's Grammy-winner Sonnets from the Portugese and a third
CD devoted to Larsen's Eleanor Roosevelt.
That same year, the Philadelphia Network for New Music was introducing
five settings of poetry by May Sarton titled Songs of Light and Love.
In these the voice rested on a richly expressive bed of strings, marimba,
harp and english horn; no surprise from a composer whose marimba concerto
was so enthusiastically received. Later, the Sarton settings became available
on a Koch recording with soprano Benita Valente, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra,
and conductor Joel Rezven.
The recent opening of Libby Larsen's Lind/Barnum opera coincided with
an exhibit on Lind at the American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis) and Barnum's
Bird was promptly tipped to feature as a key item during this year's
Library of Congress anniversary celebration in Washington, D. C.
One of the most important and celebrated composers working today, Libby
Larsen has created an large and vital catalogue of works spanning virtually
every genre. Best of all, each successive opus has established a permanent
place in the concert repertory.
Copyright © 1 July 2001
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand
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