Battle Pieces
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The renowned tenor George Shirley collaborates with composer/pianist William Bolcom for a disc of songs related to the Civil War era.

The works on this CD present a collection of songs that reflect the richness and sophistication of the American song tradition from the 19th century up through the end of the 20th century. The first half of this recording includes Battle Pieces, a song cycle written by Warren Michel Swenson; the second half contains 11 19th century songs by European and African American composers. All the works on this CD interact with two central themes: the Civil War era and the interconnections between the Black and White culture in America. In his song cycle, Swenson, a contemporary American composer, sets Herman Melville's Civil War poems, Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War. Also included on the disc are 19th century songs that come out of the minstrel and parlor song tradition. With easily available published sheet music, the dissemination of popular music in the 19th century reached a large audience that both reflected and helped shape values of that time. Considered all together, this collection presents two views, a century apart, of how music can articulate the culture and themes surrounding the Civil War era.
Contents:
Warren M. Swenson, composer
Battle Pieces
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

James A. Bland, composer
Oh, Dem Golden Slippers
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

George F. Root, composer
Battle Cry of Freedom
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Stephen Foster, composer, arr. Swenson
Gentle Annie
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Stephen Foster, composer, arr. Swenson
My Old Kentucky Home
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Stephen Foster, composer, arr. Swenson
Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Traditional, arr. Nickerson
Michieu Banjo
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Traditional, arr. Nickerson
Chere, Mo Lemmé Toi
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

A.J.R. Connor, composer
The Wildflower Wreath
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

William Brady, composer
Liela, Liela Cease Thy Lay
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Henry Russell, composer
The Maniac
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Will Marion Cook, composer
Swing Along
George Shirley, tenor, William Bolcom, piano

Review:
"Much credit for the power of these songs must go, of course, to the marveloous performers." (American Record Guide)
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