OF LOVE OF YOUA Tribute to Emery W. Harper
William Bolcom, David Del Tredici, John Eaton, Tania León, Lowell Liebermann, Jorge Martín, Paul Moravec, Joan Morris and William Bolcom, Bernard Rands, Steven Stucky, Yehudi Wyner
SHARON HARMS, soprano
ROBERT OSBORNE, bass-baritone
LOWELL LIEBERMANN, piano
YEHUDI WYNER, piano
TODD CROW, piano
World Premiere Recordings
“The style of music is quite wide, given the breadth of styles represented by this compositional pantheon. At the more tonal end of the spectrum are the works by Liebermann, whose gently flowing setting of a poem by Shelley caresses the ear... [a] scintillating Impromptu No. 2 by Bernard Rands... Yehudi Wyner also plays his own Amoroso, a gently dissonant piano work that suggests to my ears some of the more difficult aspects of love. [Sharon Harms] pleasantly placed voice is supported by secure intonation and exemplary phrasing, and she is capable of hitting the demanding pitches that are required of her in the Eaton song... [The music] is all first-rate on this CD, and since you’re unlikely to hear it anywhere else in the foreseeable future, it’s definitely worth picking up.”
David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare [May/June 2017]
“An imaginative, touching memorial, commissioned as a tribute to a departed spouse. A collection of lovely intimate scores, instrumental and vocal, by some of the leading American composers of our day, all elegantly performed.”
PROGRAM NOTESThis recording consists of original musical works composed for, or dedicated to, the memory of Emery W. Harper (1936–2009). Emery was the love of my life – and how lucky I was to have had such happiness. Twenty-two terrific years. Family. Marriage. Our amazing daughter, Carrie. I first met Emery in 1987 and fell in love. I wrote a poem to express how deeply I loved him. In part, it read:
“Words won’t work, maybe music we were music and still are…”
Looking back, those words are as relevant today as ever and illuminate some of the scope and feeling of this project.
In thinking about ways to honor Emery’s memory, I decided to commission new works by distinguished composers who over the years had become our friends. The result is Of Love of You, a remarkable group of compositions for solo piano, piano fourhands, and voice and piano. Taken as a whole, the works present many of our leading composers writing at the peak of their powers, each in his or her signature style. The works were first performed in concert at the Century Association in New York on February 25, 2014 on what would have been Emery’s 78th birthday.
Emery, a graduate of Amherst College and Yale Law School, was an attorney in New York City, specializing in admiralty law. He was extraordinarily devoted to his daughter, Carrie, who has special needs, and was a real friend to a great many people. Emery was as beautiful inside as he was out. A true gentleman, I wonder if he wouldn’t have found this project a little too much of a fuss. My response to that must come from the last sentence of Arnold Weinstein’s text for our Bolcom and Morris song: “What else could I do? But love because of love of you.”
South Kent, Connecticut
September 8, 2016
Sharon Harms, soprano, is known for fearless performances and expressive interpretations of new music. She has premiered the music of some of today’s leading and up-and-coming composers. Her repertoire spans a versatile spectrum of periods and styles. She has appeared as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and as a guest artist at the Los Angeles International New Music Festival, American Academy in Rome, Wellesley Composer’s Conference and Chamber Music Workshops, Resonant Bodies Festival, and June in Buffalo. An active recording artist, she shares a Latin Grammy nomination for Gabriela Ortiz’s Elegía.
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, is a champion of new music. Osborne has premiered and recorded works of such contemporary masters as Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Henry Cowell, David Lang, Richard Wilson, Harry Partch, Peter Maxwell Davies and Victoria Bond. He has sung more than fifty operatic roles worldwide under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Dennis Russell Davies and John Williams. Television appearances include BBC Omnibus Series, Soviet Arts Television and PBS Great Performances. He is on the faculties of Vassar College, Columbia University and Barnard College.
Todd Crow, pianist, made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the American Symphony in 1992 and his London orchestral debut at the Barbican Centre with the London Philharmonic in 1986. He has performed recently with the Jerusalem Symphony in Israel, with Milano Classica and I Solisti Aquilani in Italy, and in recital or chamber music at Washington’s National Gallery of Art, London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, as well as the Metropolitan Museum and Alice Tully Hall in New York. Since 1996, he has been music director of the Mount Desert Festival of Chamber Music in Northeast Harbor, Maine. He is an honors graduate of the University of California and The Juilliard School and is currently on the faculty of Vassar College.
Lowell Liebermann, pianist and composer, maintains an active performing schedule as pianist and conductor. Born in New York City, he began piano studies at the age of eight. He made his performing debut at age sixteen at Carnegie Recital Hall, playing his Piano Sonata, Op.1, which he composed at age fifteen. He frequently performs with many distinguished instrumentalists, singers and chamber groups. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School. As a composer, he has written more than one hundred works in a variety of genres. His music is widely performed and recorded on the international music scene.
Yehudi Wyner, pianist and composer, has maintained a busy career as a solo pianist and chamber musician. He graduated from The Juilliard School with a Diploma in piano and subsequently studied music composition at Yale and Harvard. From 1975-97 he was on the chamber music faculty of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center. Beginning in 1968 he was the keyboard artist of the Bach Aria Group. He has appeared as pianist and conductor with a number of renowned vocal and instrumental ensembles. His recording, The Mirror, won a 2005 Grammy Award, and in 2006 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto.
PROGRAMLOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1961)
Music, When Soft Voices Die (Percy Bysshe Shelley)
BERNARD RANDS (b.1934)
Impromptu No. 2 for piano
JOAN MORRIS (b.1943) and WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938)
Of Love of You (Arnold Weinstein)
STEVEN STUCKY (1949-2016)
Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking (Walt Whitman)
DAVID DEL TREDICI (b.1937)
Bank Street Prelude for piano
JOHN EATON (1935-2015)
Lycidas (John Milton)
WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938)
Sentimental Waltz for piano four-hands
PAUL MORAVEC (b.1957)
You Left Me (Emily Dickinson)
YEHUDI WYNER (b.1929)
Amoroso for piano
TANIA LEÓN (b.1943)
Mi Amor Es (Carlos Pintado)
JORGE MARTÍN (b.1959)
We Two Boys (Walt Whitman)