ALBUM DETAILS

Peter Child

Composer(s): Peter Child
Album Title: Estrella/ String Quartet No. 2/ Trio 
Cat. No.: 80594
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 02/2002
 
Description: David Kravitz, baritone; Gloria Raymond, mezzo-soprano; The Cantata Singers & Ensemble, David Hoose, conductor; Lydian String Quartet; Paulette Bowes, clarinet; Judith Gordon, piano; Daniel Stepner, violin

In both his large statements and in his more intimate works, Peter Child's (b. 1953) allegiance is to his subject matter, and he seeks not to impress but to involve his listener. Early in listening to his music for the first time, a sense of trust takes shape-so crucial to joining a composer in any important musical journey. We feel that the music will both fulfill and, in imaginative ways, not fulfill expectations, as real music must.

Child wrote his cantata Estrella (1988) in protest of American foreign policy in Nicaragua in the 1980s. The text is based on poems by Ernesto Cardenal, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, and Pablo Neruda-drawn from a volume that tells the history of the Nicaraguan revolution through its poetry - that focus on a particular episode: the 1934 assassination of Augusto CÚsar Sandino, the hero of a popular guerrilla rebellion in the early 1930s.

"From the outset I wanted Estrella to speak to a listener of any time, not just to the listener of the period that gave the piece birth. I wanted to universalize the message of the piece (as I think the poems themselves do), and this goal informed the conception and genre of the music. I conceived of my piece as a dramatic cantata and, in spite of its contemporary subject matter and musical language, modeled it after Bach's great works in this genre.
 
"The technical and formal parallels between this work and a Bach cantata are underscored by the instrumentation. Estrella employs a Bach-like orchestra (using standard modern woodwind doublings) of two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two trumpets, two trombones, piano, percussion, and a modest complement of strings. Similarly, the choral writing is mostly in four-part contrapuntal style, and the mezzo-soprano and baritone solos frequently have an aria or recitative-like character."

- Peter Child

There is a movement from darkness to light in the transition from the first half to the second half of this recording, a refocus, literally, from death to birth.

The String Quartet No. 2 (1990) and Clarinet Trio (1996) were commissioned to celebrate the births of children of friends of the composer. A tone of celebration pervades both pieces, captured for example at the opening of the Quartet by its bracing fanfare-like first theme or by the generally cheerful melodic orientation of the Trio. 
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