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The Fair Ophelia - works by Brahms, Strauss, Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Shumann, Cage

Album Summary

>Summer, Joseph : He Took Me By the Wrist, song for soprano & piano
>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) of Ophelia, for voice & piano, WoO posth. 22
>Summer, Joseph : They Bore Him Barefaced on the Bier, for soprano, tenor & piano (from Oxford Songs)
>Strauss, Richard : Songs (3) for voice & piano (after Shakespeare's "Hamlet;" "Ophelia Lieder"), Op. 67/1-3 (TrV 238/1-
>Summer, Joseph : To My Sick Soul (Saint Valentine's Day), song for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone & piano
>Summer, Joseph : There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook, for voice & piano (from Oxford Songs)
>Berlioz, Hector : La Mort d'Ophelie, song for soprano (or tenor) & piano, H. 92a (Op. 18/2)
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : La mort d'Ophélie
>Schumann, Robert : Herzeleid ("Die Weiden lassen matt die Zweige hangen"), song for voice & piano, Op. 107/1
>Cage, John : Ophelia
>Unspecified : Untitled CD-ROM Track
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The Fair Ophelia, the second installment on Navona Records' Shakespeare Concerts Series, features works by composer Joseph Summer that are inspired by Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark! With Shakespeare's texts accompanied with music by Brahms, Strauss, Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Schumann, and Joseph Summer, this album for vocal and chamber music consists of diverse settings that present the listener with an opportunity to hear Ophelia in a three dimensional perspective. Summer's works have been described as '[varying] in mood and compositional technique from piece to piece, but always beautifully expressive and deeply emotional' (Shakespeare Matters).

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
The Fair Ophelia presents four scenes from Summer's Hamlet and settings of Ophelia texts by Brahms, Strauss, Berlioz, Saint-Saens, and Schumann. More than half of the playing time for this volume is given to works by these earlier composers. Kathryn Guthrie and Miroslav Sekera give an outstanding portrayal of Ophelia becoming unhinged in 'He Took Me by the Wrist'; 'They Bore Him Barefaced on the Bier'; and 'To My Sick Soul' (where they are joined by Chad Sloan and Desiree Maira). Their performances are the high points of this program. Maira sings 'There is a Willow Grows aslant a Brook' with depth of tone and feeling. John McGinn accompanies Kellie Van Horn in Five Ophelia Songs by Brahms and 'La Mort d'Ophelie' by Berlioz; he accompanies Chenoweth in 'La Mort d'Ophelie' by Saint-Saens and 'Herzeleid' by Schumann. Sekera accompanies Chenoweth in Three Ophelia Songs by Strauss. The program ends with McGinn's driving performance of John Cage's 'Ophelia', a remarkably moving threnody on her death.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA (2011-09-25_2011-09-27&2012-).



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Works Details

>Summer, Joseph : He Took Me By the Wrist, song for soprano & piano
  • Performers: Cathy Guthrie; Miroslav Sekera (Piano)
  • Notes: Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA (09/25/2011-09/27/2011)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) of Ophelia, for voice & piano, WoO posth. 22
  • Performers: John McGinn (Piano); Kellie Van Horn
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1873

>Summer, Joseph : They Bore Him Barefaced on the Bier, for soprano, tenor & piano (from Oxford Songs)
  • Performers: Cathy Guthrie; Miroslav Sekera (Piano); Justin Vickers (Tenor)
  • Notes: Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA (09/25/2011-09/27/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Strauss, Richard : Songs (3) for voice & piano (after Shakespeare's "Hamlet;" "Ophelia Lieder"), Op. 67/1-3 (TrV 238/1-
  • Performers: Andrea Chenoweth; Miroslav Sekera (Piano)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1918

>Summer, Joseph : To My Sick Soul (Saint Valentine's Day), song for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone & piano
  • Performers: Cathy Guthrie; Desiree Maira; Miroslav Sekera (Piano); Chad Sloan
  • Notes: Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA (09/25/2011-09/27/2011)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Summer, Joseph : There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook, for voice & piano (from Oxford Songs)
  • Performers: Desiree Maira; Miroslav Sekera (Piano)
  • Notes: Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA (09/25/2011-09/27/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Berlioz, Hector : La Mort d'Ophélie, song for soprano (or tenor) & piano, H. 92a (Op. 18/2)
  • Performers: John McGinn (Piano); Kellie Van Horn
  • Running Time: 7 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 05/1842

>Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) : La mort d'Ophélie
  • Performers: Andrea Chenoweth; John McGinn (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: circa 1857

>Schumann, Robert : Herzeleid ("Die Weiden lassen matt die Zweige hangen"), song for voice & piano, Op. 107/1
  • Performers: Andrea Chenoweth; John McGinn (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1851-1852

>Cage, John : Ophelia
  • Performer: John McGinn (Piano)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Unspecified : Untitled CD-ROM Track
  • Period Time: Modern