Witness
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Four new works for soprano voice and orchestra continue the grand tradition of the concert aria.

The versatile and enterprising Paul Freeman, Julia Bentley, Mary Jane Johnson and Louise Toppin here introduce four works for soprano voice and orchestra, pieces which are thoroughly modern yet continue the grand tradition of the concert aria. Robert Lombardo received his master's degree in composition from the Hartt School of Music. Aria Variata was commissioned by the Chicago String Ensemble and its director, Alan Heatherington. A native of Texas, James Gardner studied under Anshel Brusilow and Peter Herman Adler. Scene for a Diva expressly pays homage to the kind of concert aria composed by Mozart, written as if it were an actual opera aria, complete with dramatic recitativo and cantabile sections. David Baker is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music. Witness was commissioned by Philip Brunelle for the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota's 1990-1991 season. They represent the composer's reverent treatment of heartfelt and timeless spiritual texts. Another distinguished African-American composer, Hale Smith grew up performing both classical and jazz music. He chose these particular Four Negro Spirituals because he was deeply moved by the zeal of the songs. As an outstanding composer and arranger he has captured the essence of these songs with his brilliant orchestration.
Contents:
Robert Lombardo, composer
Aria Variata
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Julia Bentley, mezzo-soprano

James Gardner, composer
Scene for a Diva!
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Mary Jane Johnson, soprano

David Baker, composer
Witness: Original Compositions in Spiritual Style
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Louise Toppin, soprano

Hale Smith, composer
Four Negro Spirituals
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Louise Toppin, soprano

Review:
Review to come.
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