BURNING WITH THE MUSEVocal Chamber Works
Curt Cacioppo, Joseph Hudson
Leah Inger Soprano
Elizabeth Farnum Soprano
Constantine Cassolas Tenor
Michael Riley Bass-Baritone
Steven Hart Clarinet
David Bilger Trumpet
Benjamin Hudson Violin
Lois Martin Viola
Joshua Gordon Cello
Anthony Orlando Percussion
Curt Cacioppo Piano
Margaret Kampmeier Piano
Friedrich Thiel Narrator (schriftsteller)
2 CD Set
"This is a CD which should be of interest to any listener who enjoys modern song, ‘modern’ here implying work within a largely tonal idiom, but with contemporary inflections, work which, broadly speaking, belongs in the distinguished American continuation of the German tradition of lieder. Curt Cacioppo is...an accomplished pianist (as the first of these CDs would itself be sufficient to demonstrate). Of his contributions to the present set, the bulk takes the form of settings of work by contemporary poets, Friedrich Thiel and Christopher Scaife, both of them friends of the composer. Friedrich Thiel’s seven brief lyrics are, for the most part, evocations of melancholy and pain. They win from Cacioppo simple, but eloquent settings, profoundly sympathetic to the imagery and rhythms of the original texts, and Cacioppo’s settings, in turn, benefit from an assured and expressive performance by Michael Riley. The first CD begins with a performance of these settings and ends with a reprise, with the composer’s settings this time interleaved by the poet reading his texts – a nice idea which works well and illuminatingly on a well-filled disc. In between, one of the things we get to hear is Cacioppo’s setting of two poems by the English poet Christopher Scaife (1900-1988). Scaife’s two poems... are full of images of loss and death, of "ghosts of old desires" and "ashes, in their urn / still loved". Again, Cacioppo’s understanding of his texts is very evident, his setting perceptive and sensitive, with a certain anguished aggression giving an edge to the poetry’s language of loss. Soprano Leah Inger... gives a committed and competent performance...this is a valuable opportunity to hear one aspect of the work of an interesting American composer, work not otherwise readily accessible this side of the Atlantic. The same can be said for the music of New York composer Joseph Hudson...his work deserves respect for the seriousness and intelligence with which it responds to Rilke’s words. Melodic phrases and piano accompaniment are unflashy but responsive to word and implication; there is some minor, apt word-painting, but never in the service of an over-literal response to the text and the loosely tonal harmonies are well-judged to evoke Rilke’s ambiguous atmospheres. Elizabeth Farnum gives an assured, nicely pointed performance, articulating the unforced rhetoric of both words and music very convincingly. She is very ably complemented by Margaret Kampmeier at the piano..Hudson treats Campion’s words and sentiments with all the seriousness they deserve...Initially disturbed and pained, Hudon’s music moves through to a fitly radiant and affirmative conclusion. A set of songs I was delighted to discover, and one to which I shall certainly return with some frequency. [In Dylan Thomas’ works]...Hudson finds a persuasive musical idiom which responds to the text, and the use of tenor and string quartet allows for some attractive variety of musical texture. Hudson was a new name to me, and it is one which, on the strength of his contribution to this pair of CDs, shall certainly look out for in future."
MusicWeb International - September 2007
PROGRAM NOTESCurt Cacioppo is recognized as a composer, pianist and educator, and for his interests in Native American studies. He has written for the Emerson Quartet, performed with prominent artists such as Arnold Steinhardt, received the Vosgerchian teaching prize, and is cited in the U.S. and abroad for his work in American Indian music. In 1987 he met Christopher Scaife while in Tuscany, at a place called Paternina. Their mutual admiration led inevitably to the settings on this CD. An even longer friendship with poet Friedrich Thiel brought about the composition of the Sieben Thiel Lieder also featured on this disc. ("In Memoriam" is dedicated to a boyhood friend whose untimely death in 1986 was the delayed result of military service in Vietnam. "To A Connoisseur" references the 12th century sequence "O Euchari" by Hildegard von Bingen. The trumpet and chime parts in the scena pastorale Franciscan Prayer are played offstage. Suspended cymbal and a Tibetan monastery bell complete the modest percussion array.) curtcacioppo.com
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Joseph Hudson has lived in New York for over 30 years. After study with Mario Davidovsky at City College and Columbia University, he went on to receive his Ph.D. in composition from the State University of New York at Stonybrook. His music has changed over the years from a style highly influenced by serialism, to a more lyrical idiom with strong roots in tonality. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Martha Baird Rockefeller Recording Grant, the Charles Ives Award and a BMI Student Composer Award.
Essayist and lyric poet Friedrich Thiel graduated from Yale and received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. With a DAAD scholarship and as a Fulbright Scholar he studied in Tübingen and Hamburg. Thiel publishes both in the U.S. and Germany and holds readings from his works for cultural and literary groups in Germany. A descendant of German immigrants, he divides his time between homes in Ohio and in Düsseldorf. Recently he was named honorary member of the German American Society of Neuss. The poems set here come from Der Raum, wo nur als Geist du liebst (Frankfurt: Haag/Herchen, 1996.)
Christopher Scaife (1900-1988) was a true Renaissance man in modern times. Poet and author, composer, thespian (acclaimed for his work with Tony Guthrie) and singer (a great admirer of Duparc), he was an Oxford educated intellectual and leader. Early on he headed the Oxford Union, and later became English Department chair at Fuad Al-awal University and the American University in Beirut, and education adviser to the Iraq government. He retired to a small farm near Arezzo, along the ancient Via Sette Ponti (Road of Seven Bridges), where he welcomed visitors of many nationalities interested in the life of the mind.
A native of Tennessee, soprano Leah Inger holds a graduate degree in performance from Peabody Conservatory where she studied with Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and degrees in music education from Towson University and Georgetown College. She has appeared in numerous roles including the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon with Peabody Opera, Yum-Yum in The Mikado with the Young Victorian Theatre Company, and Judy in This is the Rill Speaking by Lee Hoiby with Peabody Opera. In 2004 she performed in the premiere of Damon Ferrante’s chamber opera Super Double Lite at Symphony Space in New York. This is Ms. Inger’s recording debut.
While specializing in contemporary music, soprano Elizabeth Farnum remains active in early music performance and musical theater as well. Her tours have taken her throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. She has enjoyed collaborations with many of today's foremost composers, premiering their works in such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Bargemusic, London's Institute for Contemporary Art and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. She is a frequent soloist with many of New York's most prominent modern music ensembles, and has performed on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera. She is featured on over 30 recordings, three of which were nominated for Grammy awards.
Tenor Constantine Cassolas, a native New Yorker, made his recital debut in 1964 and has since been heard widely in concert, with orchestra, and with chamber ensembles. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe with the Lyric Quartet and the Waverly Consort. Mr. Cassolas is also known for his performances of contemporary works with the Alliance for American Song, Speculum Musicae, Group for Contemporary Music, Da Capo Chamber Players, Musician’s Accord and the ISCM concert series. He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Music at City College, and has recorded for CRI, New World and Vanguard Records.
A native Kansan, bass-baritone Michael Riley has performed with opera companies, orchestras and festivals across the U.S. and Canada, including the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Grand Teton, Marlboro and Santa Fe chamber music festivals, and as guest artist on the Philadelphia Orchestra's chamber music series. In frequent performances with the opera companies of Philadelphia, Minnesota and Kansas City, he has sung repertoire ranging from the Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Faust to The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, The Mikado, and South Pacific. He will appear in the Philadelphia production of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in 2006. Riley and Cacioppo have collaborated in recitals throughout the Northeastern U.S. and in Germany.
David Bilger is principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Anthony Orlando is associate principal percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Pianist Margaret Kampmeier has performed across the United States, in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia, and has recorded for Centaur, CRI, Koch, Nonesuch and Bridge Records. She is a founding member of the Naumburg award-winning New Millennium Ensemble, and performs with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has made numerous guest appearances with the Kronos Quartet and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Ms. Kampmeier teaches at Princeton University, and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she studied with Gilbert Kalish.
PROGRAMCURT CACIOPPO (b. 1951)
SIEBEN THIEL LIEDER (2004)
POEMS FROM PATERNINA (1989)
FRANCISCAN PRAYER (2000)
JOSEPH HUDSON (b. 1952)
FOUR RILKE SONGS (2002)
THREE CAMPION SONGS (1989)
I HAVE LONGED TO MOVE AWAY (1990)