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Complete George Crumb, Vol. 16 - American Songbook 7; Sun and Shadow / Ann Crumb, soprano; Patrick Mason, baritone; Marcantonio Barone, piano

Album Summary

>Crumb, George : Sun and Shadow (Spanish Songbook II), for voice & amplified piano
>Crumb, George : Voices from the Heartland (American Songbook VII), for soprano, baritone, percussion quartet & ampli
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This important recording features the premiere recording of the final installment of George Crumb's monumental American Songbook series. Songbook 7, titled Voices from the Heartland, includes songs both humorous and tragic, and concludes with the largest song setting of the cycle, the native American 'Song of the Earth'. As in previous works in this cycle, Crumb employs a percussion "orchestra" of more than 100 instruments, creating a rich tapestry of beguiling sounds. Also included is the premiere recording of Sun and Shadow, Crumb's new cycle on poems of Lorca. Featured artists are the dedicatees of these compositions, with both recordings made under the composer's supervision.

Expedition Audio Recommended
These songs are at once exciting, odd, simple, and bizarre, and have roots in American musical traditions as old as Native American chants and as recent as contemporary classical music. The remarkable balance that Crumb achieves is befitting of the artistic stature he has enjoyed over the last half century. read more

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA.


Transformative and authentic
Bridge Records' sixteenth(!) installment of George Crumb's compositions feature two works that are both similar and different. Sun and Shadow is another collection of songs based on the poetry of Federico García Lorca. Lorca's work has inspired several Crumb compositions, including the Ancient Voices of Children. This set, subtitled Spanish Songbook II is classic Crumb. In this case, he uses just an amplified piano to create his unique soundscapes, making this a somewhat intimate composition

Voices from the Heartland (American Songbook VII), presents Crumb's arrangements of some traditional American songs. Baritone Patrick Mason and soprano Ann Crumb perform, along with the James Freeman and the Orchestra 2001. Actually, these songs are more reimaginings than arrangements. While the melodies of such tunes as "Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is coming)" and "On Top of Old Smokey" are easy to pick out, they've been transformed by Crumb's imagination. Triadic harmonies are replaced with clouds of sound; phrases are broken up and folded back upon themselves; melody and accompaniment veer off in different directions. And yet, rather than obscuring these simple songs, Crumb brings out the deeper emotional themes that, in retrospect, were there all along.

Ann Crumb has extensive experience singing in Broadway shows. While she sings Sun and Shadow in a clear, classical tone, she lets her musical theater roots show in the American Songbook. Which somehow makes these transformed American folksongs sound even more authentic.
Submitted on 06/18/14 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Crumb, George : Sun and Shadow (Spanish Songbook II), for voice & amplified piano
  • Performers: Marcantonio Barone (Piano); Ann Crumb
  • Conductor: James Freeman
  • Ensemble: Orchestra 2001
  • Notes: Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA (07/27/2013-07/28/2013)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2009

>Crumb, George : Voices from the Heartland (American Songbook VII), for soprano, baritone, percussion quartet & ampli
  • Performers: Ann Crumb; Patrick Mason (Baritone)
  • Conductor: James Freeman
  • Notes: Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA (10/12/2012-10/14/2012)
  • Running Time: 45 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2010