Hugo Weisgall: The Stronger; Fancies and Inventions
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL273     Release Date: 2010-09-15

Johanna Meier, soprano; Julian Patrick, baritone; Aeolian Chamber Players: Lewis Kaplan, violin; John Graham, viola; Jonathan Abramowitz, cello; David Walter, double bass; Albert Regni, clarinet & saxophone; Lloyd Green, clarinet & saxophone; Ronald Anderson, trumpet; Walter Ponce, piano; Hugo Weisgall, Conductor

The Stronger was written in the late spring and summer of 1952 expressly for the Hilltop Opera Company of Baltimore, a small, professional cooperative group which I had helped organize and directed for a number of seasons.

From the first I regarded this piece as an experiment, a ,kind of operatic exercise. My primary task was to find ways to translate Strindberg's psychological monodrama, with its rapid, constantly changing moods and its almost total lack of sustained moments, into musical terms. The chief problem was that the music had to function alternately as background and foreground—at times pure atmosphere, then shifting between characterizing the protagonist, Estelle, and picturing the physical movements of the wordless Lisa.

Also I sought somehow to balance the two roles more equally. Rather than conform to the traditional theatrical interpretation in which "the star" plays the silent role and comes out on top, I tried to leave open the question as to which of the two women is really "the stronger".

“[Fancies and Inventions] achieved its over-all formal structure some time after I had finally decided to set a series of poems with differing subject matter, but all by a single poet. I realized that what I wanted to do in this instance was to write a group of pieces which, together, would make up a whole, but in which the individual challenges were primarily musical and not dramatic ones. Hence the title. Both words have definite musical connotations as well as nonmusical meanings. Fancy refers to a form found frequently in 17th century English instrumental music, and Invention, of course, harks back to Bach. Though neither of these terms is traditionally associated with vocal music, I chose to use them this way because the separate songs making up the cycle do resemble fantasias or Bach-like inventions.
- Hugo Weisgall


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Hugo Weisgall: The Stronger; Fancies and Inventions

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Track Listing

The Stronger: I. Lisa, darling, how nice to see you
Hugo Weisgall
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The Stronger: II. Isn't this a sweet infant?
Hugo Weisgall
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The Stronger: III. You're still brooding about that mix-up
Hugo Weisgall
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The Stronger: IV. Why must all his things be this horrid color?
Hugo Weisgall
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The Stronger: V. And as for Harold
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: I. To Criticks
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: II. Soft Musicke
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: III. To Daffadills
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: IV. To His Mistresse Objecting
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: V. To Cherry Blossomes
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: VI. To the Detracter
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: VII. The Frozen Heart
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: VIII. I Call and I Call
Hugo Weisgall
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Fancies and Inventions: IX. To Musick, A Song
Hugo Weisgall
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