The Cloisters: Vocal Music by John Corigliano, Arthur Shepherd, Conrad Susa, and Ben Weber
Vocal works by John Corigliano, Arthur Shepherd, Conrad Susa, and Ben Weber Henry Herford, baritone; Robin Bowman, piano The vocal music on this recording documents three generations of American music, each characterized by its own ideals yet shaped by its relationship to the past. Heard together on one disc, this music provides a glimpse of the rapid and often radical aesthetic upheavals that American music has undergone during the twentieth century. The three settings by Arthur Shepherd (1880-1958), “Golden Stockings,” “To a Trout,” and “Virgil,” were composed shortly before World War II and exhibit a sensitive understated lyricism reminiscent of the songs of Vaughn Williams and Peter Warlock. The Ways, by Ben Weber (1916-1979), dates from 1961 and illustrates his somewhat austere yet undeniably expressive compositional style. The Cloisters is one John Corigliano's earlier works, dating from 1965, and is an excellent example of the mix of extroversion and rich lyricism that characterized his music of this period. The four poems touch on romantic moods and picturesque images inspired by the Cloisters, a museum of medieval art at the northern end of Manhattan. The third song, “Christmas at the Cloisters,” is dedicated to the late gospel singer, Marion Williams. Hymns for the Amusement of Children by Conrad Susa (b.1935) were composed in 1972, set to texts by Christopher Smart, an eighteenth-century English poet whose religious fanaticism often landed him in prisons and asylums. While intended as moral instruction, the poems are also light and entertaining. Susa has cloaked them in diverting modern dress, with prominent use of popular music idioms. In fact, each song was composed with an admired pop singer or two in mind: respectively, they are Harry Belafonte, Elton John, Judy Collins, Louis Armstrong, Al Green and Johnny Mathis, Roberta Flack, and Barbra Streisand.

Henry Herford

The Cloisters: Vocal Music by John Corigliano, Arthur Shepherd, Conrad Susa, and Ben Weber

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Track Listing

To A Trout
Arthur Shepherd
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Golden Stockings
Arthur Shepherd
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Virgil
Arthur Shepherd
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The Ways: I
Ben Weber
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The Ways: II
Ben Weber
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The Ways: III
Ben Weber
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The Ways: IV
Ben Weber
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The Ways: V
Ben Weber
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The Ways: VI
Ben Weber
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The Ways: VII
Ben Weber
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The Cloisters: I. Fort Tryon Park: September
John Corigliano
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The Cloisters: II. Song to the Witch of the Cloisters
John Corigliano
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The Cloisters: III. Christmas at the Cloisters
John Corigliano
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The Cloisters: IV. The Unicorn
John Corigliano
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Hymns for the Amusement of Children: I. For Sunday
Conrad Susa
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Hymns for the Amusement of Children: II. At Dressing in the Morning
Conrad Susa
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Hymns for the Amusement of Children: III. Against Despair (Old Ralph in the Wood))
Conrad Susa
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Hymns for the Amusement of Children: IV. For Saturday
Conrad Susa
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Hymns for the Amusement of Children: V. At Undressing in the Evening
Conrad Susa
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Hymns for the Amusement of Children: VI. The Conclusion of the Matter
Conrad Susa
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