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The Billy Collins Suite / Jalbert, Garrop, Fung, Grier


Release Date: 10/27/2009 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 115   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Pierre JalbertStacy GarropVivian FungLita Grier,   ... 
Performer:  Susan CookYoko YamadaBuffy BaggotDavid Cunliffe,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE BILLY COLLINS SUITE Susan Cook (sax); 1 Yoko Yamada-Selvaggio (pn); 1 Steve Robinson (nar); 1,3,5 Buffy Baggott (mez); 2 Desirée Ruhstrat (vn); 2 David Cunliffe (vc); 2 Marta Aznavorian (pn); 2,3 John Bruce Yeh Read more (cl); 3,4 Jonathan Beyer (bar); 4 John Goodwin (pn); 4 Tim Munro (fl); 5 Joel Link (va); 5 Nuiko Wadden (hp) 5 ÇEDILLE 115 (54:45)


JALBERT The Invention of the Saxophone. 1 GARROP Ars poetica. 2 FUNG Insomnia. 3 The Man in the Moon. 3 The Willies. 3 GRIER Forgetfulness. 4 Dancing Towards Bethlehem. 4 zhou Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty 5


Billy Collins is a living American poet who has amassed a number of notable honors, including Poet Laureate for two terms, from 2001 to 2003. This new recording project is an honor of a different sort, a documentation of a suite of five works commissioned by Fredda Hyman and Dr. Peter Austin of Chicago’s Music in the Loft series. This is not the first time multiple composers have been employed in a single project, but this particular set should not be confused with those efforts (usually of dubious merit) in which the composers contribute movements to a single work. The potential pitfalls of this latter approach are obvious, including a dearth of stylistic cohesion. Here the five works are independent, and can easily stand alone in a program if so desired. Since the instrumentation varies, separate live performances are likely.


The Invention of the Saxophone practically begs to be given musical treatment, and Pierre Jalbert’s work neatly combines an amusing version of its subject with strong motivic development and infectious rhythmic energy. I’m fairly certain that the instrument in question is an alto sax rather than a tenor, but oddly enough the lengthy and generally fine program notes do not specify. Susan Cook is the engaging saxophonist, and synchronizes with exactitude with pianist Yoko Yamada-Selvaggio. Stacy Garrop’s Ars poetica sets her Collins poem more traditionally, with a mezzo-soprano (the fine Buffy Baggott) exchanging lyrical lines with a piano trio. Her language is contemporary, but suffused with a strong undercurrent of Romanticism.


Vivian Fung’s set of three poems is scored for narrator, cello, clarinet, and piano, but the spoken word is more tightly integrated with the instruments than in Jalbert’s work. Color is the principal driving force here, reflecting the twists and turns of the insightful yet playful poems. Zhou Tian’s Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems mixes narration in and out of the instrumental fabric, which in this instance is the Debussian trio of flute, viola, and harp. It’s an unusual but utterly satisfying fusion of French flavors with an American view of a Chinese poem. The interplay is ingenious, at times suggesting a Chinese composer’s quotations of a French composer’s Asian-tinged melodies. Steve Robinson is the somewhat casual but thoroughly engaging narrator here, as well as in the Jalbert and Fung works. Lita Grier’s two choices involve a protagonist’s confrontation with loss. The baritone (the velvet-toned Jonathan Beyer) is often in close dialogue with the clarinet (John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and the composer closely mirrors the personality swings of the poet with appropriate shifts in her compositional language.


The recording is a model of clarity and finely honed balances, and the performers are of a uniformly high level.


FANFARE: Michael Cameron
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Invention of the Saxophone by Pierre Jalbert
Performer:  Susan Cook (Saxophone), Yoko Yamada (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 12 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: : Steve Robinson. 
2.
Ars Poetica: 1. Introduction to Poetry by Stacy Garrop
Performer:  Buffy Baggot (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 54 Secs. 
3.
Ars Poetica: 2. Sonnet by Stacy Garrop
Performer:  Buffy Baggot (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
4.
Ars Poetica: 3. Vade Mecum by Stacy Garrop
Performer:  Buffy Baggot (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
5.
Ars Poetica: 4. Endangered by Stacy Garrop
Performer:  Buffy Baggot (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
6.
Insomnia by Vivian Fung
Performer:  David Cunliffe (Cello), John Bruce Yeh (Clarinet), Marta Aznavoorian (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 02 Secs. 
7.
The Man in the Moon by Vivian Fung
Performer:  David Cunliffe (Cello), John Bruce Yeh (Clarinet), Marta Aznavoorian (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
8.
The Willies by Vivian Fung
Performer:  David Cunliffe (Cello), John Bruce Yeh (Clarinet), Marta Aznavoorian (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
9.
Forgetfulness by Lita Grier
Performer:  John Goodwin (Piano), John Bruce Yeh (Clarinet), Jonathan Beyer (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 36 Secs. 
10.
Dancing Towards Bethlehem by Lita Grier
Performer:  John Goodwin (Piano), Jonathan Beyer (Baritone), John Bruce Yeh (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
11.
Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire the Length and Clarity by Zhou Tian
Performer:  Tim Munro (Flute), Nuiko Wadden (Harp), Joel Link (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: : Steve Robinson. 

Sound Samples

The Invention of the Saxophone
Ars Poetica: I. Introduction to Poetry
Ars Poetica: II. Sonnet
Ars Poetica: III. Vade Mecum
Ars Poetica: IV. Endangered
Insomnia
The Man in the Moon
The Willies
Forgetfulness
Dancing Towards Bethelem
Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles

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