Songs of Flowers, Bells and Death
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International star Marilyn Horne is featured in the intense, mystical sounds of William Kraft.

The presence of the great Marilyn Horne and the late Henry Lewis on this CD is a special treat. Songs of Flowers, Bells and Death; Contextures IV was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment of Music Composition at Brigham Young University. The premiere took place on March 8, 1994 with Ron Brough conducting the Brigham Young Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble. The meaning of the work is best expressed in its text which embraces approximately 2600 years of sadness and anger. Silent Boughs "To Jackie" was written in 1963. This song cycle for mezzo soprano and string orchestra on poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay was commissioned by Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis. It received its first performance on November 15, 1963 in Stockholm, Sweden with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Contextures II is based on nearly 3000 years of anti-war poetry, from Homer to Fanta Bass (1930-1944). A line of oscillating major seconds hovering over a static harmony and funereal bell sounds conclude Contextures: Riots Decade '60, and overlap into the opening of Contextures II. The major seconds refer to the opening of the African-American spiritual We Shall Overcome, so closely associated with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.
William Kraft, composer
Songs of Flowers, Bells and Death
Shepherd Singers; Shepherd School Percussion Ensemble; Alastair Willis, conductor

William Kraft, composer
Silent Boughs
Marilyn Horne, mezzo soprano; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Henry Lewis, conductor

William Kraft, composer
Contextures II: The Final Beast
Sarah Eyden, soprano; Andrew Busher, tenor; New London Children's Choir; Lontano; Odaline de la Martinez, conductor

"All of this is prime Kraft in unusual material, written with his customary attention to color and mood. I enjoyed it very much." (American Record Guide)
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