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Brunner: Songs From Another Place; Lang, Herbolsheimer / Harte, Willson, Et Al

Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1297   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Morris LangGeorge BrunnerBern Herbolsheimer
Performer:  Monica Harte
Conductor:  Brian Willson
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 40 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

LANG 3 Puerto Rican Songs. 1 BRUNNER Songs from Another Place. 2 HERBOLSHEIMER The Visitation of the Priory of St. Michael the Archangel without Stamford 3 Monica Harte (sop); Brian Wilson, cond; 3 Morris Lang (perc); 1 Ray Marchica (perc); Read more class="SUPER12">1 Tom Nazziola (perc); 1 Terry Silverlight (perc); 1 Larry Spivack (perc); 1 Nancy Merriam (db); 2 Tom McKracken (spkr); 3 Christine Perea (fl); 3 David Gould (cl); 3 Marti Sweet (vn); 3 Kate Dillingham (vc); 3 Noby Ishida (pn); 3 Morris Lang (perc) 3 MSR 1297 (39:54 Text and Translation)

MSR is a most enterprising firm that, like so many other pioneering independent labels, is dedicated to the notion that the greatest of all music has not already been enshrined in our recorded legacy. Composers far more contemporary than those of my generation are assiduously redefining the art. Prokofiev once stated that each age had to re-create music, and so, as is here most eloquently evidenced, the beat goes on.

Morris Lang has served as associate principal timpanist and percussionist with the New York Philharmonic for over 40 years. Among his triumphs, he is the first person to have recorded Elliot Carter’s Eight Pieces for Timpani . His settings of these Three Puerto Rican Songs (fanciful texts by Ester Feliciano Mendoza) breathe some of the same air as George Crumb’s settings of Garcia Lorca’s poems.

George Brunner, born in Philadelphia and the founder of Electronic Music New York in 1986, is also a sound engineer who has recorded music of Morton Feldman, Joan La Barbara, and Richard Kostelanetz. Arvo Pärt, incidentally, worked at a German radio station as a technician before becoming world famous as a composer. Such is the confluence of the purely technical aspects of music reproduction and dissemination and the actual creation of the same. Brunner’s Songs from Another Place strikingly deploys the unlikely combination of soprano, double bass, and electronic enhancements in support of otherworldly and somewhat existentially unsettling texts by Mark Strand.

Ben Herbolsheimer is a most prolific composer who has written over 500 works. His The Visitation of the Priory of St. Michael the Archangel without Stamford for soprano, speaker, and chamber ensemble (the author of the texts is not documented) deals with a 15th-century inquisition of a group of nuns who had been accused of wrong doings of all types, including sexual licentiousness. It ends in an inspired moment of hymnody. This is the most convoluted and, at 19 minutes, the largest and most multidimensional piece on this release, one that delves deeply into, from the point of view of maleness, that most mysterious of phenomena, the eternal feminine.

Monica Harte is in possession of a small, but exquisitely controlled vocal instrument she uses to delve into the hearts of these texts with uncanny powers of penetration, providing us with three journeys into truly other places. Both the recorded sound and the contributions of the instrumentalists similarly rise to the task.

FANFARE: William Zagorski
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Works on This Recording

Puerto Rican Songs (3) by Morris Lang
Performer:  Monica Harte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Brian Willson
Songs from another place by George Brunner
Performer:  Monica Harte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Brian Willson
Period: 20th Century 
The Visitation of the Priory of St. Michael the Archangel without Stamford by Bern Herbolsheimer
Conductor:  Brian Willson

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