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Crumb Edition Vol 10 / Ann Crumb, James Freeman, et al

Album Summary

>Crumb, George : The River of Life, song cycle for voice, percussion quartet & amplified piano (American Songbook 1)
>Crumb, George : Unto the Hills, song cycle for voice, percussion quartet & amplified piano (American Songbook 3)
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Bridge already recorded Unto the Hills, actually the third part of Crumb's epic American Songbook tetralogy, but later decided to rearrange a couple of the songs and add one more number: Down in the Valley/Hush, Little Baby, the latter spoken by the composer himself. Alongside the first cycle in the series, The River of Life, this two-disc set (offered at a special price) comprises works composed expressly for the composer's daughter, singer and actress Ann Crumb. She has a beautiful, non-operatic yet very well-trained voice that's just perfect for this music. Her experience as a jazz singer stands her in particularly good stead in Amazing Grace, the third number in The River of Life, where she ornaments her father's relatively plain vocal line extensively, but wholly idiomatically.

Scored like its predecessor for a splendidly sonorous ensemble of amplified piano and four percussionists, The River of Life focuses on hymns, spirituals, and revival tunes. These include favorites like Shall We Gather at the River?, Nearer, My God to Thee, and Deep River, as well as some that are less familiar. Crumb sets them with his trademark combination of warmth, fantasy, and an aural imagination unique in the annals of music, ancient or contemporary. One More River to Cross, subtitled "A Humoresque", already suggests the rich vein of humor that runs through this collection, but it hardly prepares you for the hilarious ending of Give Me That Old Time Religion, where the singer has to imitate the skipping of a 78rpm record needle (a feat that Ann Crumb manages with effortless glee).

The performances, by singer and ensemble alike, are as close to perfect as makes no difference, and so are the sonics. Even if you already bought Unto the Hills, get this anyway. Crumb is a national treasure, and one of the very few contemporary composers whose new works are worth waiting for. These song cycles are masterpieces, plain and simple, and you must hear them." -Classics Today (10/10)



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Works Details

>Crumb, George : The River of Life, song cycle for voice, percussion quartet & amplified piano (American Songbook 1)
  • Performers: David Nelson (Percussion); Angela Nelson (Percussion); Marcantonio Barone (Piano); Susan Jones (Percussion); William Kerrigan (Percussion); Ann Crumb
  • Conductor: James Freeman
  • Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA (11/25/2005-11/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2003

>Crumb, George : Unto the Hills, song cycle for voice, percussion quartet & amplified piano (American Songbook 3)
  • Performers: David Nelson (Percussion); Kenneth Miller (Percussion); Angela Nelson (Percussion); Marcantonio Barone (Piano); Susan Jones (Percussion); William Kerrigan (Percussion); Ann Crumb
  • Conductor: James Freeman
  • Notes: Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA (06/26/2003/06/27/2003)
  • Running Time: 38 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2002