American Vocal Duets
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Beautiful, neo-romantic vocal duets by American composers.

In their program notes to this album Terry Rhodes and Ellen Williams write: "As a duo team, we have performed throughout the United States and Europe since 1988. In exploring the traditional duet literature, we came to realize the scarcity of twentieth century vocal duet music, and decided to do our own small part to rectify the situation. We commissioned two new works, one form Stephen Jaffe in 1990 for our Carnegie Recital Hall premiere, and one from Timothy Hoekman in 1994. Additionally we wanted to introduce our audiences to other new works by composers who also deserve to be heard. We consider it a vital part of our responsibility as performers to champion the works of living American composers and to create a venue for duet music, an art form that encourages a camaraderie of spirit and the sharing of musical ideas. This new Albany compact disc contains five pieces, none of which has been previously recorded. They range in accompaniment from piano to orchestra, with interesting combinations in-between. We hope that in this eclectic mix, there is something for each of our listeners." An especial highlight of this album are two duets from two different operas by the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Robert Ward. "Lady Kate" was composed in the years immediately following his winning the Pulitzer in 1962.
Timothy Hoekman, composer
Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo, Timothy Hoekman, piano

Lee Hoiby, composer
Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo, Hsiao-mei Ku, violin, Jonathan Bagg, viola, Fred Raimi, cello, Thomas Warburton, piano

Stephen Jaffe, composer
Fort Juniper Songs
Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo, Stephen Jaffe, piano

Penka Kouneva, composer
Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo, Penka Kouneva, piano, Lynn Glassock, percussion, Robbie Link, electric guitar

Robert Ward, composer
Lady Kate
Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo, Duke University Orchestra, Scott Tilley, conductor

Robert Ward, composer
Roman Fever
Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo, Duke University Orchestra, Scott Tilley, conductor

"Terry Rhodes and Ellen Williams have been performing together throughout the U. S. and Europe since 1988 and quickly came to realize that there is a paucity of duets available from the present century. Thus was born this CD which marks the recording debuts of not only Margarets by Timothy Hoekman and Fort Juniper Songs by Stephen Jaffe, but also the remainder of the selections presented here... Particularly thought-provoking is the opening duet of Robert Ward's Roman Fever, with its evocation of youth and maturity against the backdrop of the Eternal city exquisitely captured by the composer's gift for vocal writing. Both performers are in fine form. Whether they are singing apart or blending perfectly together, their voices remain fresh and warm... Albany Records is to be commended for supporting the work of new artists and composers and providing us with fresh listening experiences." (Journal of Singing)
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