Dominick Argento, Frank Ahrold, Richard Hervig
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL380     Release Date: 2011-01-15
Barbara Martin, soprano; Susan Palma, flute; Melvin Kaplan, oboe; Eric Wilson, cello; Linda Quan, violin; Edward Brewer, harpsichord; Arthur Weisberg, conductor; Corrine Curry, mezzo-soprano; members of the London Symphony Orchestra; Harold Farberman, conductor; Betty Bang Mather, flute; Thomas Ayres, clarinet; John Simms, piano; Thomas L. Davis, percussion; Leopold La Fosse, violin; Eldon Obrecht, bass; William Hibbard, conductor

Dominick Argento writes:

“These Six Elizabethan Songs exist in two versions: the first — with piano accompaniment — was composed in Florence during November and December of 1957 and is dedicated to the tenor Nicholas Di Virgilio, who premiered the work the following year; the second version — with baroque ensemble accompaniment — was made in 1962 for the soprano Carolyn Bailey, who premiered the cycle in Minneapolis with the University Baroque Ensemble.

“The songs are called 'Elizabethan' because the lyrics are drawn from that rich period in literature, while the music is in the spirit (if not the manner) of the great English composer- singer-lutenist, John Dowland. The main concern is the paramount importance of the poetry and the primacy of the vocal line over a relatively simple and supportive accompaniment.”

Frank Ahrold writes:

“In 1969, newly arrived in San Francisco, I was given a private commission to set some of the poetry of Sylvia Plath to music. The three poems selected have a dark beauty and fragile intensity that is the hallmark of much of this artist's work.

“Musically, the vocal lines for each song are constructed in the twelve-tone manner with a contrapuntal accompaniment that is partially derived from the voice part, but with elements of free harmonization. The instrumental ensemble is comprised basically of a quintet of flute, clarinet, bassoon, cello and vibraphone, with the addition of various percussion. In Sheep in Fog, triangle bells and chimes are important color elements; in Night Dances the tambourine, tenor drum, and celesta are emphasized; while the final song, Words, makes prominent use of the xylophone, woodblock, and gong.”

Richard Hervig writes:

Chamber Music for Six Players was composed for the 'Iowa Parade of Music,' one of a series of concerts, one from each state, sponsored by the National Music Council and the National Federation of Music Clubs and presented at Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. during the Bicentennial year. The first performance was at Kennedy Center on May 31, 1976. The piece was designed for the performers on this recording, all of whom are professors in the University of Iowa's School of Music.

“The title indicates in part my intention in this and other works; the 'players' have roles (musical ones, of course), and their musical developments and relations are not unlike those of the dramatis personae in the theatre.”



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Various Artists

Dominick Argento, Frank Ahrold, Richard Hervig

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Track Listing

Six Elizabethan Songs: No. 1, Spring
Dominick Argento
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Six Elizabethan Songs: No. 2, Sleep
Dominick Argento
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Six Elizabethan Songs: No. 3, Winter
Dominick Argento
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Six Elizabethan Songs: No. 4, Dirge
Dominick Argento
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Six Elizabethan Songs: No. 5, Diaphenia
Dominick Argento
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Six Elizabethan Songs: No. 6, Hymn
Dominick Argento
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Three Poems of Sylvia Plath: No. 1, Sheep in Fog
Frank Ahrold
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Three Poems of Sylvia Plath: No. 2, The Night Dances
Frank Ahrold
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Three Poems of Sylvia Plath: No. 3, Words
Frank Ahrold
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Chamber Music for Six Players
Richard Hervig
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