Notes & Reviews:
CADENCE, the new vocal music compilation from Navona Records, offers a set of inspired, emotive premiere recordings by composers Christopher J. Hoh, David Kirtley, Joanne D. Carey, and Timothy Kramer in works juxtaposing the ethereal and the earthy, the diaphanous and the muscular, and the serene and the agile. Hoh’s Remembering All sets five poems by the renowned Carl Sandburg, whom Hoh calls “a composer’s poet.” His treatment enhances the text with a spacious, compelling composition. By turns luminous, jaunty or lyrical, it dramatizes love and longing through intriguing music. Kirtley’s focus too is on poetry, but in this case it is the Japanese art of the haiku, which provides the inspiration. Best known for its precise, simple form and short length, haiku offers a fascinating point of entry for Kirtley in the Haiku Songs of Karigane, as the composer carefully crafts a haunting, sanguine sound that unveils deep emotions within the lean words of five haiku by Kaoru Karigane. William Blake’s works have frequently been set to music, but The Lamb and The Tyger have rarely been given such a rigorous treatment. Carey’s complex, nuanced language highlights the mysterious symbolism of Blake’s prose, coupling sophisticated musical figures alongside the enigmatic contemplations found in the text. Lux aeterna by Kramer is the composer’s own unique version of the traditional Mass setting, in this case created specifically for performance in the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The radiant harmonies bound across dynamic peaks and valleys, bringing the listener on a sublime emotional journey.