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Poems of Sheer Nothingness: Vocal Music of Aaron Helgeson / Susan Narucki, soprano; Talea Ens., James Baker

Album Summary

>Helgeson, Aaron : Poems of sheer nothingness, for voice & chamber ensemble
>Helgeson, Aaron : Notes on a page (of Sappho), for voice & chamber ensemble
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Featuring performances from Grammy-­winning soprano Susan Narucki with New York's acclaimed Talea Ensemble, Poems of Sheer Nothingness presents world premiere recordings of vocal music by American composer Aaron Helgeson, introducing two new works that combine ancient poetry with music of the here and now. The first, "Poems of sheer nothingness," presents a song cycle commissioned by Narucki based on the poetry of early French troubadours and sung in their original Occitan, a beautiful yet almost forgotten romance language now revived in five intimate chamber settings for soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The second, "Notes on a page (of Sappho)," offers a musical reincarnation for soprano and eleven instruments of poetic fragments by provocative and erotic Greek poet Sappho in an English translation by Canadian poet Anne Carson. Both works feature archaic song texts whose once-florid music is now lost, leaving Helgeson's surreal and evocative sonic imagination and Narucki's subtly expressive voice to fill in the gaps made by the decay of time and memory. The result is a collection of vocal music that simultaneously once was, and could be again.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Oktaven Studios, Yonkers, New York (06/16/2014-06/17/2014); Oktaven Studios, Yonkers, New York (11/24/2014).



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Works Details

>Helgeson, Aaron : Poems of sheer nothingness, for voice & chamber ensemble
  • Performers: Barry Crawford (Flute); Miranda Cuckson (Violin); Chris Gross (Cello); Marianne Gythfeldt (Clarinet); Susan Narucki (Soprano); Ning Yu (Piano)
  • Conductor: James Baker
  • Ensemble: Talea Ensemble
  • Running Time: 36 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012-2013

>Helgeson, Aaron : Notes on a page (of Sappho), for voice & chamber ensemble
  • Performers: Ian Antonio (Percussion); Stuart Breczinski (Oboe); Oren Fader (Guitar); Matthew Gold (Percussion); Chris Gross (Cello); June Han (Harp); Sunghae Lim (Violin); Alexander Lipowski (Percussion); Rane Moore; Susan Narucki (Soprano); Tara O'Connor (Flute); Elizabeth Weisser (Viola)
  • Conductor: James Baker
  • Ensemble: Talea Ensemble
  • Running Time: 16 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009