Notes and Editorial Reviews
Ned Rorem has always been considered the preeminent art-song composer of the late 20th century and certainly this song cycle for four solo voices and piano may just be Rorem's crowning achievement. Rorem utilizes all manners of texts for these songs that result in a complex cycle of songs of widely varying moods.
The cycle opens with the perfect question, "From whence cometh song?" the first line of the austere Roethke poem on the mysteries of love and death. The "Beginnings" section maintains a wistful, forward-moving cycle of optimism. The standout tracks from this section include "The Rainbow" and its contrapuntal use of the four voices and Delores Ziegler's lovely solo turn for Browning's classic "How Do I Love Thee." "Middles"
concerns the coming of age and passage into the middle years of life. A quintessential moment occurs when Rufus Miller sings with moving plaintiveness in "A Dead Statesman," "What tale shall serve me here among mine angry and defrauded young?" "Finally, Ends" concerns the inevitable approach of death. Kurt Ollman sums up the sublime magnificence of this cycle when he sings in "He Thinks Upon His Death" of foreseeing "in the light of a summer day the end of life."
New York Times (Publisher) (6/11/00, p.30) - "...Each song is an intimate and masterfully shaped gem. But the entire work has the impact of an opera. This work affirms Mr. Rorem's place in the tradition..." Read less
Works on This Recording
Evidence of Things Not Seen by Ned Rorem
Monique McDonald (Soprano),
Delores Ziegler (Mezzo Soprano),
Rufus Müller (Tenor),
Kurt Ollmann (Baritone),
Michael Barrett (Piano),
Steven Blier (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1997; USA
Date of Recording: 04/1998
Venue: Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress
Length: 87 Minutes 24 Secs.
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