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Notes and Editorial Reviews
This important recording features the premiere recording of the final installment of George Crumb’s monumental American Songbook series. Songbook VII, titled Voices from the Heartland, includes songs both humorous and tragic, and concludes with the largest song setting of the seven-part cycle, the native American Song of the Earth. As in previous works in this cycle, Crumb employs a percussion “orchestra” of more than 100 instruments, creating a rich tapestry of beguiling sounds. Also included is the premiere recording of Sun and Shadow, Crumb’s new cycle on poems of Lorca.
The featured artists, Ann Crumb, Patrick Mason and Orchestra 2001, are the dedicatees of these compositions, with both recordings made under the
composer’s supervision. -
Bridge Records Read less
Works on This Recording
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Transformative and authentic June 18, 2014
By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews
"Bridge Records' sixteenth(!) installment of George Crumb's compositions feature two works that are both similar and different. Sun and Shadow is another collection of songs based on the poetry of Federico García Lorca. Lorca's work has inspired several Crumb compositions, including the Ancient Voices of Children. This set, subtitled Spanish Songbook II is classic Crumb. In this case, he uses just an amplified piano to create his unique soundscapes, making this a somewhat intimate composition Voices from the Heartland (American Songbook VII), presents Crumb's arrangements of some traditional American songs. Baritone Patrick Mason and soprano Ann Crumb perform, along with the James Freeman and the Orchestra 2001. Actually, these songs are more reimaginings than arrangements. While the melodies of such tunes as "Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is coming)" and "On Top of Old Smokey" are easy to pick out, they've been transformed by Crumb's imagination. Triadic harmonies are replaced with clouds of sound; phrases are broken up and folded back upon themselves; melody and accompaniment veer off in different directions. And yet, rather than obscuring these simple songs, Crumb brings out the deeper emotional themes that, in retrospect, were there all along. Ann Crumb has extensive experience singing in Broadway shows. While she sings Sun and Shadow in a clear, classical tone, she lets her musical theater roots show in the American Songbook. Which somehow makes these transformed American folksongs sound even more authentic."