Anne LeBaron: Pope Joan, Transfiguration

Composer(s): Anne LeBaron
Album Title: Anne LeBaron: Pope Joan, Transfiguration 
Cat. No.: 80663
Genre: Classical / Vocal
Release Date: 11/2007
Description: Pope Joan: Kristin Norderval, soprano; Dorothy Stone, alto/piccolo flute; Keve Wilson, oboe, English Horn; Jim Sullivan, clarinet, bass clarinet; Lorna Eder, piano; Nick Terry, percussion; Eric km Clark, violin; Andrew McIntosh, viola; Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, cello; Mark Menzies, conductor

Transfiguration: Lucy Shelton, soprano; Camille Hoitenga, flute; June Han, harp; William Trigg, percussion; Rand Steiger, conductor
Anne LeBaron (b. 1953) is one of the most vital composers of the post-war generation. Her overall aesthetic is steeped in the sound world of the European-American avant-garde of the mid-twentieth century, but like others of her post-war generation, LeBaron rejects the premise of stylistic continuity that underlies much classical music. LeBaron's aesthetic is defined by supplementation: The sound world of the European/American avant-garde is supplemented with a host of others-popular music, jazz, historical styles of the classical tradition, religious music, and so on.

The two works on this recording, Pope Joan (2000) and Transfiguration (2003), are relatively new works that sustain LeBaron's blossoming aesthetic of supplementation while at the same time refining and refreshing it. Both are theatrical works for soprano and chamber ensemble. Pope Joan was conceived as a dance opera, and while the recorded version here is for concert setting, the dramatic nature of the work shines through. Transfiguration is a concert work but entails dramatic staging, gestures, and props that move it toward ritual. Pope Joan develops its dramatic meaning through a combination of semantic, gestural, and musical resources, much like a traditional opera. Transfiguration, however, relies little on the semantic meaning of its text for dramatic meaning; rather the text serves as one element of musical design. Thus, its dramatic meaning arises from sonic design, allusions to semantic meaning, and performance gestures. Both works utilize a variety of different forms of vocal delivery performed primarily by the soprano but occasionally by the instrumentalists, such delivery ranging from fully expressive aria-like melodic singing to recitative-like declamation to impassive chanting. Both pieces rely on a large number of timbrally diverse percussion instruments that are essential to the dramatic design. 
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