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Witness - Lombardo, Gardner, Et Al / Freeman, Czech Nso


Release Date: 09/05/2006 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 868   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert LombardoJames GardnerHale SmithDavid Nathaniel Baker
Performer:  Julia BentleyMary Jane JohnsonLouise Toppin
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The versatile and enterprising Paul Freeman, Julia Bentley, Mary Jane Johnson and Louise Toppin here introduce four works for soprano voice and orchestra, pieces which are thoroughly modern yet continue the grand tradition of the concert aria. Robert Lombardo received his masterís degree in composition from the Hartt School of Music. Aria Variata was commissioned by the Chicago String Ensemble and its director, Alan Heatherington. A native of Texas, James Gardner studied under Anshel Brusilow and Peter Herman Adler. Scene for a Diva expressly pays homage to the kind of concert aria composed by Mozart, written as if it were an actual opera aria, complete with dramatic recitativo and cantabile sections. David Baker is Distinguished Professor Read more of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music. Witness was commissioned by Philip Brunelle for the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesotaís 1990-1991 season. They represent the composerís reverent treatment of heartfelt and timeless spiritual texts. Another distinguished African-American composer, Hale Smith grew up performing both classical and jazz music. He chose these particular Four Negro Spirituals because he was deeply moved by the zeal of the songs. As an outstanding composer and arranger he has captured the essence of these songs with his brilliant orchestration. Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Aria Variata by Robert Lombardo
Performer:  Julia Bentley (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
2. Scene for a Diva! by James Gardner
Performer:  Mary Jane Johnson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
3. Negro Spirituals (4) by Hale Smith
Performer:  Louise Toppin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
4. Witness - Original Compositions in Spiritual Style by David Nathaniel Baker
Performer:  Louise Toppin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Paul Freeman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Aria Variata
Scene for a Diva!: No. 1. Recit
Scene for a Diva!: No. 2. Air
Scene for a Diva!: No. 3. Groove
Witness: I. We Has a Hard Time
Witness: II. Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel
Witness: III. Death is Riding
Witness: IV. And He Never Said a Mumbalin' Word
Witness: V. My Lord what a morning
4 Negro Spirituals: No. 1. Let Us Break Bread Together
4 Negro Spirituals: No. 2. Jesus Lay Your Head in the Window
4 Negro Spirituals: No. 3. This Little Light of Mine
4 Negro Spirituals: No. 4. Witness

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