American Journey
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Unusual choral works in exciting performances.

The twentieth-century American composers chosen for this program of choral music represent diverse styles and span almost 100 years; what they have in common is a sure sense for vocal writing, a preference for nontraditional but tonal harmony, and a delight in good poetry. The Composers: Halsey Stevens has taught at the University of California since 1948. He is an expert on Bartok and has composed a wealth of vocal and instrumental music. Charles Ives, New England's quirky, original insurance man-composer, began composing when he was 12 and held a job as church organist when he was only 14. Samuel Barber's gift for melody and the unabashed romanticism of some of his best-known works have made him one of the most popular mid-twentieth-century composers. Alan Hovhaness is an American composer of Armenian and Scottish descent. A prolific writer in a variety of forms, he is known for mystical works with an Eastern or Oriental flavor. Randall Thompson taught at the University of California at Berkley, Princeton, and Harvard, and was director of the Curtis Institute of Music. Ronald Perera studied with Leon Kirchner, Randall Thompson, and Mario Davidovsky. He has won awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and ASCAP and teaches at Smith College. Matthew Harris, born in 1956, studied at Juilliard, Harvard, and New England Conservatory with Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, Milton Babbitt, and Donald Martino. The recipient of many prizes and commissions, he is represented on record by Opus One. Irving Fine - teacher, conductor, respected and widely programmed composer of chamber, orchestral, and choral music - was educated at Harvard and later taught there and at Brandeis University. A contemporary of Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, he died prematurely in 1962.
Contents:
Samuel Barber, composer
Reincarnations
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Henry Bryant, composer
The 3-Way Canon Blues
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Irving Fine, composer
The Choral New Yorker
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Matthew Harris, composer
Shakespeare Songs
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Alan Hovhaness, composer
David Wept for Slain Absalom
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Charles Ives, composer
Crossing the Bar
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Ronald Perera, composer
Earthsongs
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Halsey Stevens, composer
Go, Lovely Rose
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor


Randall Thompson, composer
Tarantella
New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor

Review:
"...Interestingly enough, this disc is most interesting for its newest pieces, works by contemporary composers who are not very well-known and absolutely terrific... There is a young composer named Matthew Harris who I previously had never heard of, but who I now regard as a genius... I strongly urge that you go out and buy this disc." (Fanfare)
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