Chanticlare: Contemporary Vocal Music
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Cat No: MSVCD92102
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 4th May 2009
Die sieben Plagen
Virgil Settings (10)
ArtistsClare Lesser (soprano)
David Lesser (piano)
Song 15 for solo soprano is a relatively early work showing Finnissy’s style at its most typically highly ornamented and lyrical. The piece can best be viewed as an extension of the tradition of wordless vocalise.
The reclusive Italian composer Giancinto Scelsi wrote Hô in 1960. As in many of his vocal works, a conventional text is replaced by an abstract pattern of phonemes which are used to return the music to the magical world of pre-linguistic invocation and ritual, which Scelsi so often explored.
Henze’s cantata Being Beauteous originally sets one of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud’s finest works for the very unusual ensemble of coloratura soprano, four cellos and harp; this recording makes use of the composer’s own piano reduction.
Milko Kelemen was born in Croatia and studied with Olivier Messiaen and Wolfgang Fortner. Die sieben Plagen sets a text by Fernando Arrabal, which is based upon the biblical Seven Plagues of Egypt. It uses a huge range of vocal effects from lyrical singing, purring and croaking, to spitting, snoring and screaming, and has sections in four different languages.
The Virgil Settings are dedicated to Clare Lesser, the composers’ wife. These ten settings for unaccompanied female voice of texts from the first book of Georgics by David Lesser (b1966) are arranged to form a seasonal progression from spring to winter and on to the return of spring again.
Cathy Berberian is probably best remembered as one of the outstanding interpreters of contemporary vocal repertoire, having had pieces written for her by many of the leading composers of the post-war avant-garde. However, she also produced a small body of excellent compositions of which Stripsody is the best-known example. It is basically a collage of vignettes from comic strips and assorted onomatopoeia with accompanying actions in some places.
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