A Portrait of Augusta Read Thomas | Nimbus - Alliance NI6262

A Portrait of Augusta Read Thomas

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Label: Nimbus - Alliance

Cat No: NI6262

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 2nd June 2014

Contents

Artists

Frederick Hemke (saxophone)
Tony Arnold (soprano)
Jennifer Hoult (harp)
Katie Hyun (violin)
Mihai Marica (cello)
Elm City Girls’ Choir
New York Virtuoso Singers
New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Conductors

Rebecca Rosenbaum
Harold Rosenbaum
William Boughton

Works

Thomas, Augusta Read

Absolute Ocean
E E Cummings Songs (2) for girls chorus
Hemke Concerto 'Prisms of Light'
Of Paradise and Light
Prayer and Celebration
Silent Moon
Spells

Artists

Frederick Hemke (saxophone)
Tony Arnold (soprano)
Jennifer Hoult (harp)
Katie Hyun (violin)
Mihai Marica (cello)
Elm City Girls’ Choir
New York Virtuoso Singers
New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Conductors

Rebecca Rosenbaum
Harold Rosenbaum
William Boughton

About

Bold, passionate, urgent - Augusta Read Thomas writes music that is wholly and completely alive. In many of her own program notes, she includes this sentence: “I like music that is alive and jumps off the page and out of the instrument as if something big is at stake”.

The first two volumes of this Augusta Read Thomas recording series focused on orchestral and chamber/piano music respectively, collecting performances by various ensembles. This third volume is something a bit different: a recording of a live 50th birthday concert presented by the New Haven (Connecticut) Symphony Orchestra under the direction of William Boughton. One of the two large scale works on the recording is also one of Thomas’s most recent (and was premiered on the concert), the dramatic Hemke Concerto 'Prisms of Light' (2014).

This concerto was commissioned as a retirement gift for legendary saxophonist and pedagogue Frederick L Hemke by many of his students past and present. The concerto is music that almost requires the listener to wear sunglasses - exploring fully the saxophone’s capacity for both lyrical, human expression and glorious, otherworldly colour.

The other large-scale composition is Absolute Ocean (2008), a song-cycle for soprano and orchestra with a significant obbligato harp part. Absolute Ocean is especially spare and atmospheric in texture. The ringing, resonant pluck of the harp is clearly the dominant musical image, inspiring the orchestral texture that surrounds it. Despite using a medium size symphony scoring, the instruments are never all heard together, and the result gives an audible sense of the orchestra as one large, graceful extension of the harp.

Contents:
Two E E Cummings Songs for girls chorus (2008)
Elm City Girls' Choir / Rebecca Rosenbaum
1. I sky candy spouting violets
2. II (kiss me)

Hemke Concerto ‘Prisms of Light’ for alto saxophone and orchestra (2014)
Fred Hemke (alto saxophone)
3. I lluminations
4. II Sunrise Ballad
5. III Chasing Radiance
6. IV Solar Rings

7. Prayer and Celebration for chamber orchestra (2005)

Absolute Ocean for soprano, harp obbligato and orchestra (2008)
Tony Arnold (soprano), Jennifer Hoult (harp)
8. I the moon is hiding in her hair
9. II who knows if the moon's a balloon
10. - interlude -
11. III open your heart

Silent Moon, for violin and cello (2006)
Katie Hyun (violin), Mihai Marica (cello)
12. I Still: Soulful and Resonant
13. II Energetic: Majestic and Dramatic
14. III Suspended: Lyrical and Chant-like “When twofold silence was the song of love”

15. Of Paradise and Light for string orchestra (2010)

16. Spells for chorus (2013)
The New York Virtuoso Singers / Harold Rosenbaum

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