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Zachary Wadsworth (b. 1983): Choral Music - Come to the Road; Up-Hill; The Far West / Lawrence Wiliford, tenor; Luminous Voices, Timothy Shantz

Album Summary

>Wadsworth, Zachary : Come to the Road, for chorus
>Wadsworth, Zachary : Up-Hill, for soprano & chorus
>Wadsworth, Zachary : The Far West, cantata for tenor, chorus & orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Zachary Wadsworth is a composer of "fresh, deeply felt and strikingly original" music (Washington Post) whose work has been heard at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Westminster Abbey. Though still in his early 30's, as recipient of the Douglas Moore Fellowship for American Opera, he was in residence at the Metropolitan Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. Wadsworth's haunting cantata, The Far West and other recent choral works are beautifully sung by the Canadian chamber choir, Luminous Voices, directed by Timothy Shantz.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (2015-04-26&2015-04-27&2015-).



Reviews

Music that transcends its origins
The AIDS epidemic of the late 1980s cut a wide swath through the arts community. It prompted the creation of many works in response, most of which -- to my ears -- remain music of its time.

The text for "The Far West" comes from the poetry of Tim Dlugos, written while he was dying of AIDS-related complications in 1990. Zachary Wadsworth set the poems to music in 2014. The resulting cantata, The Far West, effectively channels the raw emotions of Dlugos.

And I think part of that effectiveness is the distance of time. Wadsworth's setting, being removed from the immediacy of the events, makes the poems more universal. These are feelings that anyone with a debilitating illness, such as cancer, Alzheimer's -- or even just aging -- can relate to (I know I did).

Wadsworth effectively uses his forces to plumb the depths of Dlugos' poetry. Tenor Lawrence Wiliford gives voice to the poet, while the Luminous Voices serves as a Greek chorus, commenting on the action. The string ensemble provides the harmonic underpinning and subtly colors the emotions expressed by the text. Wilford sings in a clean, controlled fashion that's expressive without being overly so. That restraint adds a poignancy to the text that I found particularly effective.

As Wadsworth explains, the work "contains echoes of Bach's cantatas," and shares some structural similarities in the alternation of soloist and chorus. It's also a work with a purpose. The poems move from despair through acceptance to hope. This is the type of work that yields additional insights with repeated listening. If you purchase this digitally, be sure to get all the movements of this work and listen to them in order. It does make a difference.
Submitted on 09/19/16 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Wadsworth, Zachary : Come to the Road, for chorus
  • Conductor: Timothy Shantz
  • Ensemble: Luminous Voices
  • Notes: St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (2015-04-26&2015-04-27&2015-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2013

>Wadsworth, Zachary : Up-Hill, for soprano & chorus
  • Performer: Katie Partridge
  • Conductor: Timothy Shantz
  • Notes: St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (2015-04-26&2015-04-27&2015-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2015

>Wadsworth, Zachary : The Far West, cantata for tenor, chorus & orchestra
  • Performer: Lawrence Wiliford (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Timothy Shantz
  • Notes: St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (2015-04-26&2015-04-27&2015-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 10/2014