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Guettel: Myths & Hymns


Release Date: 03/30/1999 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 79530   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Adam Guettel
Performer:  John WinderBen WittmanLarry LunettaNorbert Goldberg,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

With Myths and Hymns, his second album for Nonesuch Records, composer/lyricist Adam Guettel continues to reconfigure the landscape of American theater music.

Released by Nonesuch in 1997, Adam Guettel’s Floyd Collins announced the arrival of a new creative voice in American music, theatrical or otherwise: “The original and daring musical of our day,” according to John Simon at New York magazine. Myths and Hymns revealed the virtuosic variety of that voice, further exploring Guettel's musical imagination.

Myths and Hymns is a song cycle on the subject of faith and longing in a secular world. Premiered in March 1998 at the Joseph Papp Public Theater / New York Shakespeare Festival under the title Saturn Returns,
Read more the work offers up a dazzling array of songs adapted from classic Greek myths and the texts of an early American hymn-book.

This incandescent hybrid of concert and theater music was lauded by New York Times critic Stephen Holden who wrote, in reviewing Saturn Returns, "Mr. Guettel lets his influences tumble over each other in musical somersaults that breach the boundaries of conventional song structure ... He has created a kaleidoscopically heady musical-theater piece in which Gabriel Fauré meets Stevie Wonder, Caetano Veloso embraces Earth, Wind and Fire, and they all dance together around the tribal hearth."

The evolution of Myth and Hymns commenced for Guettel in 1987, when the line “Icarus was not an achiever” entered into his thoughts. This idea inspired Guettel to write “Icarus,” and to seek out other myths. He began writing songs that directly addressed the fates of, among others, Icarus, Pegasus and Sisyphus. It was not until six years later, when Guettel chanced upon a 19th-century Presbyterian hymnal in a used bookshop, that he became interested in hymns. He later told Stagebill magazine that this discovery rendered "an actual physical response, an uncharacteristic outpouring of creativity." Not at all certain what these two distinct groups of songs represented, Guettel played them for his Floyd Collins director Tina Landau, who suggested uniting the two into a single work under the title Myths and Hymns.

An early version of the work, presented at the New Lyric Festival in Northampton, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1996, followed by two workshops at the Public Theater, helped sharpen this focus and resulted in Guettel's re-titling the piece Saturn Returns for its 1998 world premiere at the Public Theater.

A reference to the completion of Saturn's 29-year cycle around the sun, this return of Saturn is thought to be, as Guettel pointed out in his own program note for the show, "for many of us, a time of profound reassessment. What have I done with this first cycle of my life? Who have I become?"

The songs that comprise Myths and Hymns are an intricate interweaving of pop and theatrical styles. From Guettel's reanimation of the myth of "Icarus," to the gallows humor of "How Can I Lose You?", the show is filled with Guettel's "long-lined melodies that seem to go on and on as they reach for the moon and stars, pivoting on offbeat chromatic harmonies that are as unpredictable as they are unabashedly romantic,” as Stephen Holden observed in the New York Times. One of the songs, “Come to Jesus,” was recorded by Audra McDonald, in a duet with Guettel, for her best-selling 1998 debut album, Way Back to Paradise, and prompted TIME magazine to dub Guettel “a startlingly original songwriter.”

"We must treasure a composer of Mr. Guettel's unusual gifts," wrote Martin Gottfried in his review of Saturn Returns. "The talent is there," added Stephen Holden in the Times, "and it's major." Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Children of the Heavenly King by Adam Guettel
Performer:  John Winder (), Ben Wittman (Drums), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Bill Hayes (Drums), Bill Hayes (Percussion),
Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Adam Guettel (Programming),
Ben Wittman (Percussion), Grace Paradise (Harp), Todd Ellison (Piano),
Dan Wieloszynski (), Ted Sperling (Violin), Chuck Wilson ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 1 Minutes 3 Secs. 
2.
At the Sounding by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Ben Wittman (Percussion), Grace Paradise (Harp), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Ted Sperling (Violin), Adam Guettel (Programming), Todd Ellison (Piano),
Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Chuck Wilson (), Bill Hayes (Drums),
Dan Wieloszynski (), Ben Wittman (Drums), John Winder (),
Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Bill Hayes (Percussion)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3.
Saturn Returns by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Ben Wittman (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion), Grace Paradise (Harp),
Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Bill Hayes (Drums),
Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Todd Ellison (Piano), Dan Wieloszynski (),
Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Adam Guettel (Programming), John Winder (),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Chuck Wilson (), Ted Sperling (Violin)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4.
Icarus by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), John Winder (), Adam Guettel (Programming),
Ben Wittman (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion), Grace Paradise (Harp),
Chuck Wilson (), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Norbert Goldberg (Drums),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Todd Ellison (Piano),
Dan Wieloszynski (), Bill Hayes (Drums), Ted Sperling (Violin)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Length: 5 Minutes 57 Secs. 
5.
Migratory V by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Dan Wieloszynski (), Todd Ellison (Piano), John Winder (),
Adam Guettel (Programming), Ben Wittman (Percussion), Ben Wittman (Drums),
Grace Paradise (Harp), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Bill Hayes (Percussion),
Bill Hayes (Drums), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar),
Ted Sperling (Violin), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Chuck Wilson ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
6.
Pegasus by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Dan Wieloszynski (), Norbert Goldberg (Drums),
Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), John Winder (),
Adam Guettel (Programming), Ben Wittman (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion),
Todd Ellison (Piano), Ted Sperling (Violin), Bill Hayes (Drums),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Chuck Wilson (), Grace Paradise (Harp)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
7.
Link by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Todd Ellison (Piano), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Norbert Goldberg (Drums),
Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), John Winder (), Adam Guettel (Programming),
Ben Wittman (Percussion), Dan Wieloszynski (), Chuck Wilson (),
Ted Sperling (Violin), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Bill Hayes (Percussion),
Bill Hayes (Drums), Grace Paradise (Harp), Ben Wittman (Drums)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
8.
Hero and Leander by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Todd Ellison (Piano), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion),
Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), John Winder (), Adam Guettel (Programming),
Chuck Wilson (), Grace Paradise (Harp), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Ben Wittman (Drums), Dan Wieloszynski (),
Bill Hayes (Drums), Ted Sperling (Violin), Ben Wittman (Percussion)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
9.
Sisyphus by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Chuck Wilson (), Ted Sperling (Violin), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Dan Wieloszynski (), Todd Ellison (Piano),
Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar),
John Winder (), Ben Wittman (Drums), Grace Paradise (Harp),
Bill Hayes (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion), Adam Guettel (Programming)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
10.
Come to Jesus by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Adam Guettel (Programming), Chuck Wilson (), Grace Paradise (Harp),
Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Ted Sperling (Violin), Bill Hayes (Drums),
Dan Wieloszynski (), Todd Ellison (Piano), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion),
Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Bill Hayes (Percussion),
Ben Wittman (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion), John Winder ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 6 Minutes 28 Secs. 
11.
How Can I Lose You? by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Grace Paradise (Harp), Chuck Wilson (), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Dan Wieloszynski (), Todd Ellison (Piano),
Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Ted Sperling (Violin),
Adam Guettel (Programming), Ben Wittman (Drums), Bill Hayes (Drums),
Ben Wittman (Percussion), John Winder (), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
12.
There's a Shout by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Ted Sperling (Violin), Bill Hayes (Drums), Bill Hayes (Percussion),
Todd Ellison (Piano), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion),
Chuck Wilson (), Adam Guettel (Programming), Ben Wittman (Drums),
Dan Wieloszynski (), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Grace Paradise (Harp), Ben Wittman (Percussion), John Winder ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
13.
Awaiting You by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Ted Sperling (Violin), Bill Hayes (Drums), Dan Wieloszynski (),
Todd Ellison (Piano), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Chuck Wilson (),
Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), John Winder (), Adam Guettel (Programming),
Bill Hayes (Percussion), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Grace Paradise (Harp),
Ben Wittman (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
14.
The Great Highway by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Ben Wittman (Drums), Ben Wittman (Percussion), Ted Sperling (Violin),
Bill Hayes (Drums), Dan Wieloszynski (), Todd Ellison (Piano),
Grace Paradise (Harp), Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), John Winder (),
Chuck Wilson (), Bill Hayes (Percussion), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet),
Adam Guettel (Programming), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion), Norbert Goldberg (Drums)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
15.
There's a Land by Adam Guettel
Performer:  Ted Sperling (Violin), Grace Paradise (Harp), Bill Hayes (Drums),
Dan Wieloszynski (), Ben Wittman (Drums), Norbert Goldberg (Percussion),
Steve Bargonetti (Guitar), Bill Hayes (Percussion), Adam Guettel (Programming),
Ben Wittman (Percussion), Larry Lunetta (Trumpet), Chuck Wilson (),
John Winder (), Norbert Goldberg (Drums), Todd Ellison (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 05/1998-09/1998 
Venue:  Avatar Studios, New York, NY 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 

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