The earliest works recorded here are a group of songs--"Dust of Snow," "My Love Is In A Light Attire," and "The Night Will Never Stay,"--written in 1981, during my student years.
The remaining 7 songs date from 1999 and later. "Spring and Fall" was originally sketched as a piece for treble chorus in 1999, but I revised it a couple of years later as a solo song.
"O You Whom I Often And Silently Come," was written on the afternoon of December 31, 2000, making it my last twentieth-century work. In 2003, the song was the first winner of the Ned Rorem Award for Song Composition.
"I Sing Of A Maiden," and "The Angel's Song" are the first of what I hope will be a series of original Christmas Songs. All the songs are performed by Sarah Stone, mezzo-soprano, and my wife Martha Krasnican, piano.
"Prelude and Bacchanal" for violin, horn, and piano, was commissioned by hornist Brian Kilp, who premiered it during a tour of Bangkok and Singapore. He, Martha, and I have since performed it several times around the US, and the three of us appear on this recording. The title, I think, is self-explanatory.
The three piano pieces were all written for Martha. "Silent Delight" was written in 1992 shortly after we first met. The title comes from the Blake poem â€œNightâ€: â€œThe moon like a flower/In heavenâ€™s high bower,/With silent delight/Sits and smiles on the night.â€ "Chorale" and "Scherzino" were both written in 2004.
"Reading Issa" for viola and harp was commissioned by harpist Vanessa Gong, who premiered it with violist Nai-Ying Liao in 2002. The title was suggested by a chance encounter with a website devoted to the haiku of Kobayashi Issa, which I came across after the piece was already under way. After completing each movement, I searched the site for an Issa poem that seemed appropriate, and placed it in the score in lieu of a title heading. I play viola on this recording, and Vanessa Gong plays harp.
"In Silence Under Many A Star" was commissioned by clarinetist John Spicknall, who premiered it in 1998 with his wife Sharilyn on violin and Martha on piano. The title comes from Whitman; it is taken from a stanza of the â€œDeath Carolâ€ section of his â€œWhen Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomâ€™d.â€ Here, as in many of his poems, Whitman depicts Death as something kind, gentle, and comforting. In my composition, a recurring passage, marked â€œVery slow, delicate, and caressing,â€ is identified in the score as a Danse Macabre. I play violin, Martha plays piano, and the clarinettist is Trina Gross.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Prelude and Bacchanal
2. Young and Old
3. O You Whom I Often And Silently Come
4. Sometimes With One I Love
5. Silent Delight
8. Dust of Snow
9. My Love Is In A Light Attire
10. The Night Will Never Stay
11. I Sing Of A Maiden
12. The Angel's Song
13. Reading Issa - I
14. Reading Issa - II
15. Reading Issa - III
16. Spring and Fall
17. Youth, Day, Old Age, and Night
18. In Silence Under Many A Star