Modern Choral Music
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL241     Release Date: 2010-08-01

The Peabody Concert Singers and Chamber Ensemble; Gregg Smith Singers; Myron Fink, piano; Gregg Smith, Conductor

The works on this record span the gamut from chromatic polyphony to light humor to nostalgic moods to an experimental approach to the perception of time.

The last named is Roger Reynolds' Blind Men, which was commissioned by The Fromm Foundation. Mr. Reynolds has the following explanation:

Blind Men (1966) is based on an assemblage of fragments extracted from Herman Melville's Journal Up The Straits, 1856-1857. The textual whole is not expected to project clearly, but to provide a reservoir of mood and meaning that can stimulate strongly personal vocal responses from the individual singers. The choral materials tend to be collective, are frequently unsynchronized, and concern themselves with projecting the basic (pre-verbal) significance of the Melville text:

Multitudes of blind men —
    Flies on the eyes at noon—
Desert and verdure,
splendor and squalor,
 gloom and gaiety.
Too much light
and no defense against it.

Karl Kohn writes:

Madrigal was composed in 1966 as one of the offerings to be included in a Festschrift by the Harvard Music Department in celebration of G. Wallace Woodworth's sixty-fifth birthday. The four undergraduate years that I served as accompanist to the Harvard Glee Club under his direction gave me a familiarity with the idiom that has been the source of all my choral music. In these years I had the privilege of becoming imbued with and enriched by Woody's forceful musical gifts, his learned enthusiasm, and his vivid devotion to teaching.

“I found an appropriate text in the first stanza of a poem by Robert Chester (c. 1600) entitled “A Welcome home to the Right Worshipful John Salusbury.”

"I chose to set it in a style that refers to the contrapuntal manner and pictoralism of the Elizabethan madrigal. While composing, I found myself very much aware of Woody's musical personality, and conscious of anticipating how he might respond to certain sonorities and qualities in the music and in my setting of the text. To use the piano in a flamboyant concertante style seemed to me a proper personal reminder of our happy association: benevolent conductor-professor and eager undergraduate accompanist.

Jack Beeson's Rounds, set to anonymous texts, are light but skillful examples of the composers' craft. They are Give The Poor Singer A Penny, Greener Pastures and Boys And Girls Together.

This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.

Gregg Smith Singers

Modern Choral Music

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print material or jewel case included.
A *.pdf of the notes may be accessed here free of charge.
   Liner Notes

Track Listing

Blind Men
Roger Reynolds
Karl Kohn
Give the Poor Singer a Penny
Jack Beeson
Greener Pastures
Jack Beeson
Boys and Girls Together
Jack Beeson
I Never See the Red Rose
Solomon Pimsleur
There are Two Forms of Life
Solomon Pimsleur