Ronald Perera/Stephen Albert: Vocal Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL420     Release Date: 2017-08-23
Elsa Charlston, soprano; Boston Musica Viva: Daniel Stepner, violin; Aaron Picht, viola; Bruce Coppock, celloFenwick Smith, flute; William Wrzesien, clarinet; Evelyn Zuckerman, piano; Richard Pittman, Conductor; Sheila Marie Allen, soprano; Pro Musica Moderna: Goivina Sessions, violin, viola; Leopold Teraspulsky, cello; Joanne Tanner, flute, alto flute; Joseph Contino, clarinet, bass clarinet; Fernande Kaeser, piano; Joseph Cuda, harmonium; Charles Fussell, Conductor

Gleisdreieck is a station on the Berlin elevated railway, and was a frontier crossing point between East and West before the Wall was erected. While the poem is specifically about a contemporary German caught between opposing political or idea- logical systems, Gleisdreieck, like all three of these poems, is metaphorical...the musical setting alternates between an introspective and recitative-like music and an extroverted, 'jazzy' music reminiscent of the twenties or thirties cabaret.

Klappstühle (Folding Chairs) is a waltz fantasy on a melody from the Strauss waltz, Kunstlerleben (Artist's Life), which is first heard played on an old-fashioned music box. The music recalls the style of certain German late romantic composers while simultaneously foreshadowing fragments of the Nazi march, Die Jugend Marshiert...

Schlaflos (Sleepless) is about a man who tries to count himself to sleep, and in doing so begins to count up everything he has done in his life to see what it all “adds up to.” But the impressions on his mental “playback reel” remain surreal, and resist any orderly interpretation...  (Notes by Ronald Perera)

Stephen Albert writes:

To Wake the Dead is based on excerpts from Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce. It is in seven movements, six of which are songs, and one is for instruments alone.

“Joyce's work is infamous for being one of literature's most challenging, if not incomprehensible novels. This cycle is an attempt to set extended passages from that work to music. One of the attractions of Finnegan's Wake for the composer is that the language, while obscure so much of the time, is informed by rich imagery, a mysterious atmosphere and an almost hypnotic rhythm. As the language of the novel is kin to the language of dreams, it seemed an intriguing prospect to translate this dream-state into something more palpable, less surreal.

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. Liner notes are accessible via the link above.

Various Artists

Ronald Perera/Stephen Albert: Vocal Works

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included.


Track Listing

Three Poems of Gunter Grass: I. Gleisdreieck
Ronald Perera
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Three Poems of Gunter Grass: II. Klappstühle
Ronald Perera
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Three Poems of Gunter Grass: III. Schlaflos
Ronald Perera
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To Wake the Dead: I. How It Ends
Stephen Albert
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To Wake the Dead: II. Riverrun
Stephen Albert
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To Wake the Dead: III. Pray Your Prayers
Stephen Albert
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To Wake the Dead: IV. Instruments
Stephen Albert
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To Wake the Dead: V. Forget, Remember
Stephen Albert
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To Wake the Dead: VI. Sod's Brood, Mr. Finn
Stephen Albert
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To Wake the Dead: VII. Passing Out
Stephen Albert
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