John Bray - The Indian Princess/ Raynor Taylor - The Ethiop

Composer(s): Raynor Taylor, John Bray
Album Title: The Indian Princess/ The Ethiop 
Cat. No.: 80232
Genre: Classical
Description: The Federal Music Society Opera Company/John Baldon, conductor

"The present recordings of my musical and orchestral restorations of The Indian Princess (Philadelphia, 1808) and The Ethiop (Philadelphia, 1814) attempt to recapture the sounds of musical theater during this time. They complete the image of sophisticated American culture by providing the melodic expressivity, the sonorous grandeur, the beat and tempo that can bring life to static representations of our urban past. Also, they give proper balance  to our conception of early American music by adding to the already well-known homespun hymn tunes, folk songs, and patriotic music the more formal sounds of professional theater music - orchestral overtures, vocal recitatives and airs, ballet music, and even the descriptive music of melodrama - that was written for trained voices and skilled instrumentalists." -- (from the liner notes by Victor Fell Yellin)

Both operas enjoyed great success on the American and British stage, due in no small part to the excellent quality of the music. Their composers' indebtedness to their renowned European contemporaries Handel, Haydn, and Mozart, is easily discernible in the musical language and style but in no way diminishes their success in establishing a foundation for the future development of American opera. Among the highlights are the incidental music to Act Two, Scene Two of The Indian Princess(track 6); Pocahontas's florid aria, "When the Midnight of Absence"(track 9); the richly expressive overture to The Ethiop (track 13); the Handelian symphony, "While Cephania Comes on in Her Barge"(track 14)and chorus "Queen of the East"(track 15); Alexis and Zoe's dreamy duet(track 18); and Zoe's deliciously Mozartian aria, "These Keys Can a Treasure Unfold"(track 27). 
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