Laugh Regardless of Creed

Paul Sperry (tenor), Eva Gruesser (violin), Jo-Ann Sternberg (clarinet), Rosanna Weinberger (viola), Andre Emilianoff (cello), Gabriel Kovach (horn), Lisa Moore (piano), William Ruyle (cimbalom), Harvey Boatright (flute), Barbara Hustis (viola), Ross Powell (clarinet), New York Virtuosi

Catalog #: TROY0740
Release Date: March 1, 2005
Format: Digital

Paul Sperry writes: "I've always loved to perform humorous pieces, whether slyly witty or raucously funny. It seemed irresistible to collect these four marvelous pieces together on a CD since they are all by American composers and writers and they all deal with religious topics in, as Woody Allen puts it, 'a somewhat dubious way.'" Classical jazz achieved international recognition in 1925, when Louis Gruenberg's The Daniel Jazz was chosen to represent American music at the Venice Festival of the International Society for contemporary music, where it won overwhelming success. Based on a sermon poem by Vachel Lindsay, this piece was written during a period when Gruenberg was exploring the possibilities of popular jazz as an idiom in classical music. In 1924, he wrote: "It has become my firm conviction that the American composer can only achieve individual expression by developing his own resources...these resources are vital and manifold, for we have at least three rich veins indigenous to America alone: jazz, Negro spirituals and Indian themes." Alla Borzova writes: "Mother Said borrows its title from the book by Hal Sirowitz. His witty and touching poetry is about families and relationships. In Mother Said, I use a variety of musical styles and techniques: rap, Klezmer, Dixieland, a Chinese folk tune and a 12 tone row." The text of Tango was actually compiled by Robert Xavier Rodriguez from news clippings, letters and sermons from the height of the tango craze in 1913-1914. There are three short scenes played without pause and the tenor plays all three roles. Larry Alan Smith writes: "The Scrolls was written for my New York debut concert in 1982, and it was premiered by Paul Sperry. As it was meant to conclude the evening, I looked for something unusual, entertaining and memorable. Woody Allen's tale immediately appealed to me, but only after beginning to compose the work did I realize how challenging it would be to set a humorous text effectively."


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Mother Said Alla Borzova Paul Sperry, tenor, Eva Gruesser, violin, Rosanna Weinberger, viola, Andre Emilianoff, cello, Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet, Gabriel Kovach French horn, Lisa Moore, piano, William Ruyle, percussion
Tango Robert Xavier Rodriguez Paul Sperry, tenor, members of the San Diego Symphony, Robert Rodriguez, conductor
The Scrolls Larry Alan Smith Paul Sperry, tenor, Harvey Boatright, flute, Barbara Hustis, viola, Ross Powell, clarinet
The Daniel Jazz Louis Gruenberg Paul Sperry, tenor, New York Virtuosi, Kenneth Klein, conductor

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