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Three important poets in music for the adventurous listener.

Harold Blumenfeld is a composer given to language, languages and the human voice. Born in Seattle of musical parents, he studied at Yale with Hindemith, in Zurich, and trained with Leonard Bernstein and Boris Goldovsky at Tanglewood. In the Sixties, from his academic base at Washington University, he launched the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, forerunner of the present company, focusing on the production of early and contemporary works. During a 1970 summer residency at Yaddo, he drafted the choral War Lament, converting the forceful World War I poetry of Siegfried Sassoon into a polyphonic protest against the Vietnam War. Though still loosely anchored in a kind of "neo-classicism", this work, with its dramatic outbursts and moments of poignancy, engendered textural and coloristic choral procedures going materially beyond a cappella norms. In 1990, Derek Walcott visited St. Louis to offer readings of his work to a literary organization in which Blumenfeld was involved. The composer was swept away by the power and imagery of this poetry and a friendship was forged over shared adoration of Rimbaud. Blumenfeld mustered three Walcott poems into the cycle Mythologies, scored for baritone, flute, clarinet, three celli and percussion - the work featured on this disc. On impetus from the great guitarist David Starobin and with great audacity, Blumenfeld tackled Hart Crane's vast Voyages cycle, setting it for baritone with guitar, viola and percussion.
Harold Blumenfeld, composer
Mythologies after Derek Walcott
Voices of Change, Donnie Ray Albert, baritone, Paul Phillips, conductor

Harold Blumenfeld, composer
War Lament after Siegfried Sassoon
Gregg Smith Singers, Alan Rosenkoetter, guitar, Gregg Smith, conductor

Harold Blumenfeld, composer
Voyages after Hart Crane
Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Patrick Mason, baritone, Arthur Weisberg, conductor

"...there's no denying that the composer has a sophisticated ear for poetry and that these charming song cycles are attuned to the sentiments of three stellar poets." (American Record Guide)
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