WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Copland: Twelve Poems Of Emily Dickinson; Rorem / Curtin


Release Date: 03/13/2001 
Label:  Vai Audio   Catalog #: 1194   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Aaron CoplandNed RoremRoger Sessions
Performer:  Phyllis CurtinAaron CoplandNed RoremRobert Helps
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

VAI brings us a significant release of live, unissued performances of songs by Aaron Copland and Ned Rorem, sung by their friend and champion Phyllis Curtin with the composers at the piano (in their own songs, of course). I wish Rorem were writing this review in my place, because his annotations pinpoint Curtin's outstanding qualities: her intelligence, her unusual "admixture of a nectarine sound with a sharp-as-ice diction." So it's left for yours truly to praise the clarity, directness, and easy rapport Curtin and Rorem bring to their collaboration in 10 songs plus a cycle of four Psalm settings. Some of the selections figure in Susan Graham's highly acclaimed Rorem recital for Erato, and I couldn't help but comparison shop. Read more Graham has the warmer voice, but you sometimes hear the interpretations before you hear the songs. In The Tulip Tree, for example, there's a slightly manufactured quality to the tapered phrase endings, little ritards, and words chosen for emphasis. By contrast, Curtin and Rorem give you the music straight. They restore the fleeting whimsy that characterizes I Am Rose, Rorem's self-proclaimed "nine measure masterpiece", and bring out the flowing, conversational quality of both Rorem's music and Frank O'Hara's text in For Poulenc.


In truth, though, I find Curtin's big voice better suited to Copland's more austere, declamatory style, and in particular to the 12 Emily Dickinson settings. She simply dives into those wide and risky interval leaps with all the confidence in the world and never garbles the words. At the piano, Copland's horseshoe-nail sonority and emphatic rhythm provide solid support. The CD includes a bonus track: Roger Sessions' On The Beach at Fontana. Both Curtin and Robert Helps (my favorite living pianist) give a caring, beautifully detailed reading full of ample lyricism. Good, resonant broadcast-quality sound in the Copland and Sessions songs (recorded in Cambridge in August, 1971); grainier sonics for the December, 1969 Rorem items. Full texts included. [7/29/2001]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Poems (12) of Emily Dickinson by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Aaron Copland (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1950; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/09/1971 
Venue:  Live  Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA 
Length: 26 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
The tulip tree by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Ned Rorem (Piano), Phyllis Curtin (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: English 
3.
The Midnight Sun by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Ned Rorem (Piano), Phyllis Curtin (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
Poems (3) of Paul Goodman: no 3, What sparks and wiry cries by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Ned Rorem (Piano), Phyllis Curtin (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
The Serpent by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Ned Rorem (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 0 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
I am Rose by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Ned Rorem (Piano), Phyllis Curtin (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 0 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: English 
7.
For Poulenc by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Ned Rorem (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
Little Elegy by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Ned Rorem (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: English 
9.
Youth, Day, Old Age and Night by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Ned Rorem (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
10.
See how they love me by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Ned Rorem (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: English 
11.
Visits to St. Elizabeth's by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Ned Rorem (Piano), Phyllis Curtin (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
Cycle of Holy Songs by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Ned Rorem (Piano), Phyllis Curtin (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Live  Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 10 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: English 
13.
On the Beach at Fontana by Roger Sessions
Performer:  Phyllis Curtin (Soprano), Robert Helps (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/09/1971 
Venue:  Live  Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title