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Silverman: Manhattan Stories / Eicher, Barto, Bove, Ellsworth, Jolley, Et Al

Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1055   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Kari Jane DocterBruno EicherAnn EllsworthAndrew Bove,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SILVERMAN Translations. 1 Dialogue. 2 Dialogue Continued. 3 Taming the Furies. 4 Protected Sleep. 5 Love Songs. 6 Left Behind 7 Bruno Eicher (vn); 1 Kari Jane Read more Docter (vc); 1 Ann Ellsworth (hn); 2,3,7 Lisa Albrecht (tbn); 3 Andrew Bove (tb); 2,3 Mary Barto (fl); 4,6 David Jolley (hn); 5 Michael Lipsey (mmb); 5 Jeanne Corinne Goffi-Fynn (sop); 6 Jo Williamson (mez) 7 ALBANY TROY 1055 (59:28 Text and Translation)

Faye-Ellen Silverman (b. 1947, New York City) studied with Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Leon Kirchner, and Jack Beeson. Her music as presented here is tonal (though its melodic lines can be quite disjunct), resourceful, and elegant. In each of the pieces on this release she conjures up not merely mood, but totally self-contained sound worlds with seemingly the most limited of instrumental resources. I found the two song cycles, where she eschews the traditional piano, particularly compelling. In Love Songs , composed in 1997, she sets selected verses by Sara Teasdale for soprano and flute. In Left Behind of 2006 (four poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay culled from Renascence and Other Poems of 1917), the accompanying instrument is a single horn. The colorings of the two instruments play into the poetry’s subtexts as much as the beautifully crafted vocal lines do. Love Songs runs the gamut of love’s initial blindness, the often-cynical wisdom it can impart, and its profound paradoxes. The last poem, “Child, Child,” is an exhortation to embrace and suffer the pangs of love at all costs. In this cycle, the flute becomes more than a mere accompanist, but at two strategically placed moments, a telling commentator. Left Behind is far darker stuff, dealing with unrequited love. Its vocal lines are more akin to Schoenberg’s Sprechstimme than to song. The horn’s large dynamic compass is used masterfully.

I’ve gotten somewhat ahead of myself. Fay-Ellen Silverman is a New Yorker through and through. I am content to be a quasi New Yorker, visiting it occasionally, but generally content to view it from across the Raritan Bay. It is just too big and energetic for me. The title of this release is “Manhattan Stories.” Silverman states, “I have had a lifelong love affair with the borough of my birth—Manhattan—in the city of New York. Here many of my friends live, and here the compositions on this CD originate.” Indeed, each work on this release springs from New York-based personal relationships and events. Translations , with its Hebraic accents, was composed in 2004 at the behest of a friend who had tried to search the Internet for a girlfriend of his youth, only to find that she had been dead (a suicide) for 18 years. He commissioned Translations in her memory. The title was chosen as a tribute to her abilities in linguistics. As to the other stories enshrined on this CD, may I suggest that you obtain it and discover them for yourself.

All musical composition is autobiographical, consciously or otherwise, on one level or another. Only the best of composers manage to ascend from the specific to the universal. Faye-Ellen Silverman is clearly in that category. The performers on this disc are all, given current world standards, of the first rank, and the sound cannot be faulted.

FANFARE: William Zagorski
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Works on This Recording

Translations by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Kari Jane Docter (Cello Piccolo), Bruno Eicher (Violin)
Written: 2004; USA 
Dialogue by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Ann Ellsworth (French Horn), Andrew Bove (Tuba)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; USA 
Dialogue Continued by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Ann Ellsworth (French Horn), Andrew Bove (Tuba), Lisa Albrecht (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Taming the Furies by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Mary Barto (Flute)
Written: 2003; USA 
Protected Sleep by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  David Jolley (French Horn), Michael Lipsey (Marimba)
Written: 2006; USA 
Love Songs by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Mary Barto (Flute), Jeanne Goffi-Fynn (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; USA 
Left Behind by Faye-Ellen Silverman
Performer:  Ann Ellsworth (French Horn), Jo Williamson (Mezzo Soprano)
Written: 2006;  New York City 

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