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Jake Heggie / Gene Scheer: Out of Darkness - An Opera of Survival / Caitlin Lynch, soprano; Sarah Larsen, mz; Morgan Smith, baritone

Album Summary

>Heggie, Jake : Another Sunrise, for soprano, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass & piano
>Heggie, Jake : Farewell Auschwitz, for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone & ensemble
>Heggie, Jake : For a Look or a Touch, for narrator, baritone, flute, clarinet, violin, cello & piano
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This sixth Naxos album, Out of Darkness, from Music of Remembrance devoted to remembering Holocaust musicians and their art through recordings and commissions of new works, is a moving musical witness to survival in the face of unimaginable adversity.

Expedition Audio Recommended
Jake Heggie is one of the today's outstanding composers. He has written many fine works and is perhaps this country’s greatest living opera composer. Heggie made a big splash with Moby Dick and was greatly praised for Dead Man Walking. Working again with his long-standing librettist, Gene Scheer, he has produced a stunning work based on the Holocaust. ... read more ...

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
All these songs are beautifully performed by the three young soloists, Caitlin Lynch, Sarah Larsen, and Morgan Smith, accompanied by an excellent instrumental ensemble. There is a really good booklet, complete with texts and background information on the works and all the performers. Perhaps the best way to praise this is to say that it's one of the few new pieces that I really want to play again and again.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, Sea.



Reviews

Some interesting works based on serious topics
Certainly there are many works that seek to personalize the horrors of the Holocaust or to commemorate the thousands who died in World War two. These selections might be among the few I have ever heard that tell very personal stories in a small, intimate and - understandably - theatrical way. First, my compliments to the impressive ensemble Music of Remembrance (MOR) and their music director, Mina Miller. It seems that the very purpose of this chamber group and their outstanding three lead singers is to seek out and promote music of this sort. This is a dark and sad undertaking and topic to be sure but major credit goes to the esteemed team of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer who have collaborated many times in opera, theatre and vocal works of all sorts. Heggie's style is consistently accessible and intimate with a touch of theatre that most listeners would find quite attractive. The set opens with the amazing monologue opera "Another Sunrise" wherein the only character/singer is that of Holocaust survivor and author Krystyna Zywulska. Her words are from an actual interview done with Zywulska on her remembrances. The piece is all the more touching and impressive for its solitary voice, sung here wonderfully by Caitlyn lynch. Stylistically, "Farewell Auschwitz" is quite a bit different. In this case, three singers take words penned by the same Krystyna Zywulska. The lyrics/text by Zywulska take some fairly mundane occurrences and make them seem horrible; including her thoughts as friends and acquaintances from the camps seem to disappear. There is a kind of irony and surreal sound to the score that sometimes goes against the very serious nature of the events. Heggie also wrote some very clever and impressive lines for solo violin and solo clarinet that sound "Jewish" but never in parody. The tone of "For a Look or a Touch" is another very different matter. This is a song cycle for baritone on texts drawn from the journal of Manfred Lewin and describe, in particular, the persecution of homosexuals under Nazi Germany. This is a tough set to listen to for its intensity but is very effective, indeed. Gene Scheer's adaptation is quite poignant. This whole collection walks an interesting line between very serious, disturbing topics set to music that is eminently approachable. Jake Heggie's work does sort of fit its own category; neither "theater" not "hard core" classical and I like it very much. Highly recommended!
Submitted on 06/10/14 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Heggie, Jake : Another Sunrise, for soprano, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass & piano
  • Performers: Laura DeLuca (Clarinet); Walter Gray (Cello); Jonathan Green (Double Bass); Caitlin Lynch (Soprano); Craig Sheppard (Piano); Mikhail Shmidt (Violin)
  • Conductor: Mina Miller
  • Ensemble: Music of Remembrance
  • Notes: Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, USA (05/16/2012/05/17/2012)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012

>Heggie, Jake : Farewell Auschwitz, for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone & ensemble
  • Performers: Laura DeLuca (Clarinet); Walter Gray (Cello); Jonathan Green (Double Bass); Sara Larsen; Caitlin Lynch (Soprano); Craig Sheppard (Piano); Mikhail Shmidt (Violin); Morgan Smith (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Mina Miller
  • Ensemble: Music of Remembrance
  • Running Time: 26 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2013

>Heggie, Jake : For a Look or a Touch, for narrator, baritone, flute, clarinet, violin, cello & piano
  • Performers: Laura DeLuca (Clarinet); Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby (Flute); Walter Gray (Cello); Craig Sheppard (Piano); Mikhail Shmidt (Violin); Morgan Smith (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Mina Miller
  • Ensemble: Music of Remembrance
  • Notes: Composition written: 03/2007.
  • Running Time: 16 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 03/2007