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Theofanidis: Symphony No. 1; Lieberson: Neruda Songs / Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano

Album Summary

>Theofanidis, Christopher : Symphony no 1
>Lieberson, Peter : Neruda Songs, for mezzo-soprano & orchestra
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Demonstrating ASO Music Director Robert Spano's enduring commitment to new music, ASO Media presents a stirring pairing of compositions by 21st century composers. Both works are about emotional journeys. Symphony, written by Atlanta School composer Christopher Theofanidis, is a piece written in response to momentous events in the composer's personal life. Not unlike other composers (Beethoven for example), personal crises inspire strong artistic reactions. Such is the case with The Theofanidis Symphony. The Neruda Songs are a similar example of such a journey. Since this work was written and premiered, both the composer and his muse (Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, for whom he wrote the work) have passed away from cancer. When writing the piece, Mr. Lieberson and Ms. Hunt had already been through one bout of cancer (hers) and these songs were written well in the knowledge that they might be valedictory compositions. They were, first for her and now for him. From personal challenges comes often great art. A note from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: All of us who were involved with this project are deeply saddened by the passing of Peter Lieberson, a great artist and musical partner. This recording is dedicated to his memory. We are proud to be a part of his legacy that lives on through his extraordinary music. Mezzo Soprano Kelley O'Connor was the first to perform the Neruda Songs after the death of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. The composer himself taught her the songs, one a day, over a five day retreat. O'Connor said in a 2008 interview with the Denver Post, "Once it became that personal to me that he became a friend to me, I felt honored to tell their story, because it is their story."

"With singing that managed to be at once seductive and haunting, O'Connor was equal to this smoldering music in every way. (Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs) " -The Denver Post

"[Kelly O’Connor] has the visceral glimmer, excellent Spanish, and technique and tone to draw out the songs’ surreal languor." -New York Magazine

"Kelley O'Connor was Lieberson's own choice as his wife's successor in the work, and she brought a careful intelligence and Iberian flavor to the five settings of the Spanish writer's love poems. The vocal lines are Lieberson's greatest accomplishment." -Chicago Sun Times

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center (05/01/2009/10/22/2010).



Reviews

ASO moves from strength to strength
If they continue on the trend established by their first two releases, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's ASO Media label may become one of my favorite labels. For their second release, the orchestra pairs two compositions by a rising and an established composer. Christopher Theofanidis is the (relative) newcomer, and the work is his first symphony. Peter Lieberson is the established composer, with his "Neruda Songs." The Symphony was premiered by the Robert Spano and the ASO in 2009, and it's clear that they know this music intimately. Theofanidis's symphony is a study in contrasts. It starts out with a unison wind line that contains all the motifs for the rest of first movement. When the rest of the orchestra enters, its with a lush sound well-suited to the orchestra. Theofanidis writes melodically, in clearly defined structures that are easy to follow. This four-movement work is symphonic in every sense; dramatic, expansive, full of rich timbres and imaginative orchestration. The second work on the release, is Peter Lieberson's "Neruda Songs." It's a good match for the Theofanidis Symphony. It also is richly orchestrated, with some distinctively Latino musical turns, in keeping with the Chilean poetry of Pablo Neruda. Lieberson originally wrote this orchestral song cycle for his wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. This recording features mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, who brings her own interpretation to the work (that's her picture on the album art, BTW). O'Connor's warm delivery and sensitive phrasing give this work new life. The "Neruda Songs" are personal love letters Lieberson composed for his wife. This performance turns them into something more universal, yet still deeply moving. Two substantial 21st Century works performed with authority and conviction -- the Atlanta Symphony's self-released CDs just keep moving from strength to strength.
Submitted on 07/09/11 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Theofanidis, Christopher : Symphony no 1
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Ensemble: Atlanta Sympony Orchestra
  • Notes: Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center (05/01/2009/10/22/2010)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral

>Lieberson, Peter : Neruda Songs, for mezzo-soprano & orchestra
  • Performer: Kelley O'Connor (Mezzo-Soprano)
  • Conductor: Robert Spano
  • Ensemble: Atlanta Sympony Orchestra
  • Notes: Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center (05/01/2009/10/22/2010)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 2005