Vocal

Songs from Spoon River, Reflections of a Peacemaker, and Other Vocal Works by Lita Grier

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Songs from Spoon River, Reflections of a Peacemaker, and Other Vocal Works by Lita Grier

  • CDR 90000 112
Play Cedille Selects
    • 1. Afternoon on a Hill (0:53)

    • Five Songs for Children (1962/1999) (7:16)
      Michelle Areyzaga, soprano
      Welz Kauffman, piano

      1. Afternoon on a Hill (0:53)

    • 2. The Seashell (0:58)

    • 2. The Seashell (0:58)

    • 3. Someone (1:30)

    • 3. Someone (1:30)

    • 4. Who Has Seen the Wind (1:57)

    • 4. Who Has Seen the Wind (1:57)

    • 5. The Bluebird (1:48)

    • 5. The Bluebird (1:48)

    • Sneezles (1972)* (3:21)

    • Michelle Areyzaga, soprano
      Anne Bach, oboe
      Tina Laughlin, percussion
      William Billingham, piano

      Sneezles (1972)* (3:21)

    • I. (0:53)

    • Five Songs from A Shropshire Lad (1955)*(6:59)
      Robert Sims, baritone
      William Billingham, piano
      William Billingham, piano

      I. (0:53)

    • II. (2:55)

    • II. (2:55)

    • III. (0:42)

    • III. (0:42)

    • IV. (1:14)

    • IV. (1:14)

    • V. (1:06)

    • V. (1:06)

    • I. (4:42)

    • Two Songs from Emily Dickinson (1961)* (6:26)
      Michelle Areyzaga, soprano
      Welz Kauffman, piano

      I. (4:42)

    • II. (1:41)

    • II. (1:41)

    • The Hill (Part I) (4:18)

    • Songs from Spoon River (2004-2008)* (30:38)
      Elizabeth Norman, soprano
      Michelle Areyzaga, soprano
      Scott Ramsay, tenor
      Alexander Tall, baritone
      Levi Hernandez, baritone
      Welz Kauffman, piano
      William Billingham, piano

      The Hill (Part I) (4:18)

    • Sarah Brown (2:28)

    • Sarah Brown (2:28)

    • Zenas Witt (1:58)

    • Zenas Witt (1:58)

    • Lucinda Matlock (2:52)

    • Lucinda Matlock (2:52)

    • Anne Rutledge (2:37)

    • Anne Rutledge (2:37)

    • Petit the Poet (3:03)

    • Petit the Poet (3:03)

    • Margaret Fuller Slack (4:01)

    • Margaret Fuller Slack (4:01)

    • Fiddler Jones (1:53)

    • Fiddler Jones (1:53)

    • Rita Matlock Gruenberg (4:26)

    • Rita Matlock Gruenberg (4:26)

    • The Hill (Part II) (2:44)

    • The Hill (Part II) (2:44)

    • As it Was in the Beginning (1:11)

    • Reflections of a Peacemaker (2007)*
      Poetry by Mattie J.T. Stepanek (12:31)
      Chicago Children’s Choir
      Josephine Lee, conductor
      John Goodwin, piano

      As it Was in the Beginning (1:11)

    • Eternal Role Call (3:04)

    • Eternal Role Call (3:04)

    • The Pirate Song (2:20)

    • The Pirate Song (2:20)

    • About Living (Part III) (2:48)

    • About Living (Part III) (2:48)

    • I AM (2:59)

    • I AM (2:59)

Album Description Download Full CD Booklet

These mostly world-premiere recordings project a musical panorama of the human experience from childhood to adulthood and beyond. Here are timeless truths told through enchanting poetry in settings that underscore the richness of their imagery.

The program opens with Five Songs for Children, with words by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Amy Lowell, Walter de la Mare, Christina Rossetti, and Emily Huntington Miller.

Light and whimsical, Sneezles is based on an A.A. Milne poem about the author's favorite character, Christopher Robin. In Five Songs from "A Shropshire Lad," Grier's music underscores the urgency of the carpe diem message of A.E. Housman's poetry. Two Songs from Emily Dickinson are, by turns, wistful and impressionist.

The album's centerpiece, the Ravinia-comissioned, ten-song cycle Songs from Spoon River, comprises powerful portraits based on texts from Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology, in which fictional residents of a rural Illinois town reflect on their lives from beyond the grave.

This first-ever recording devoted exclusively to Grier's music concludes with Reflections of a Peacemaker: five life-affirming verses by the late teen poet Mattie J.T. Stepanek (1990-2004), sung by the Chicago Children's Choir conducted by Josephine Lee, with John Goodwin at the piano.

The stellar lineup of solo singers includes sopranos Michelle Areyzaga and Elizabeth Norman, tenor Scott Ramsay, and baritones Robert Sims, Alexander Tall, and Levi Hernandez, with pianists William Billingham and Welz Kauffman, President of the Ravinia Festival, taking turns at the keyboard.

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Program Notes

Album Details

Total Time: 67:45

*World Premiere Recording(s)

Producer: James Ginsburg
Engineer: Bill Maylone
Recorded: September 8 and 9, October 13, 2008, and April 8, 2009, in Bennett-Gordon Hall at Ravinia, Highland Park, Illinois
Steinway Piano, Piano Technician

© 2009 Cedille Records/Cedille Chicago

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