POEMS OF SHEER NOTHINGNESS:
VOCAL MUSIC OF AARON HELGESON
"Listeners…find themselves, quite wonderfully, lost in the act of listening."
"Helgeson uses sparse textures, expansive silences, and small fragments of lyricism to bring the verses to life, and he is eminently successful. [...] A line in the fourth poem reads, 'The more you listen, the better it will be.' This is certainly true of the music. Each song has an ethos of its own, and the miniature sound worlds of Poems of sheer nothingness are well worth exploring."
Featuring performances from Grammy-winning soprano Susan Narucki with New York's acclaimed Talea Ensemble, Poems of Sheer Nothingness presents world premiere recordings of vocal music by American composer Aaron Helgeson, introducing two new works that combine ancient poetry with music of the here and now. The first, Poems of sheer nothingness, presents a song cycle commissioned by Narucki based on the poetry of early French troubadours and sung in their original Occitan, a beautiful yet almost forgotten romance language now revived in five intimate chamber settings for soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The second, Notes on a page (of Sappho), offers a musical reincarnation for soprano and eleven instruments of poetic fragments by provocative and erotic Greek poet Sappho in an English translation by Canadian poet Anne Carson. Both works feature archaic song texts whose once-florid music is now lost, leaving Helgeson's surreal and evocative sonic imagination and Narucki's subtly expressive voice to fill in the gaps made by the decay of time and memory. The result is a collection of vocal music that simultaneously once was, and could be again.
Poems of sheer nothingness
Notes on a page (of Sappho)
A PLACE TOWARD OTHER PLACES
"Richard Hawkins is a clarinetist with superlative technique and keen musicality. The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Timothy Weiss, accompanies him in enthusiastic fashion, the group playing muscularly while Hawkins spins arcing lines with cool command. Hawkins and Weiss are not only a good team musically speaking; their curation of this recording’s program is thoughtful and artful. The title work, Helgeson's A place toward other places, closes the proceedings in beautifully ethereal fashion."
The possibilities of the clarinet seem inexhaustible. The enormous range of the instrument includes the gorgeous low register (known as the chalumeau) and, for an accomplished player, the sky is the limit at the top (well, almost). Adept at playing lyrical melodies, but also capable of surprising dramatic effects, the instrument sees its contemporary repertoire growing rapidly. In this recording, Richard Hawkins brings together four American works written during the last quarter of a century, by four generations of composers born between 1908 and 1982.
Famously surrounded by sprawl to the north, Mexico to the south, the ocean to the west and the desert to the east, much of San Diego feels like an isolated beach town that never stopped growing, or an LA that never started. But this sleepy, sunny city hosts one of the country's most active new music communities, centered around the youthful music program at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla. None of the six composers represented here are older than 30, and all demonstrate the extraordinary vitality of new classical music in San Diego.
NEW MUSIC FROM SAN DIEGO
Sixteen Sound Bite
If Where is of to Why
YIHENG YVONNE WU