Of Mice and Men
Quantity in Basket: None CARLISLE FLOYD Of Mice and Men TROY621-22 - Price: $33.98
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The third in the series of Houston Grand Opera recordings on Albany Records, the recording and performance are beautifully executed.

The creation of Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men was a long, rocky process - no other opera in this composer-writer's canon so exemplifies his almost mystical belief that its final form seemed to exist long before he uncovered it. "I never revised an opera more," Carlisle Floyd recalled as Of Mice and Men was enjoying a flurry of revivals at the turn of the new century, three decades after its premiere in Seattle in 1970. "I played the first act for Kurt Adler at the San Francisco Opera. He turned it down, for reasons I never understood, but I also completely rewrote the first act after that. Two years' work gone. I completely started over. New libretto, new music. It's the only time I ever did that. One thinks one knows what makes a workable libretto, and then it's clear that nothing works. In the next three years, I was able to salvage some of that original music. Maybe 25% of it found its way back into the completed score." Coherent revision is possible only within a musical language that fully reveals its composer's confidence. Remember, he was writing during the high tide of American serialism and academic snobbishness. His music was none of that. His rhythms evoke an agrarian life and his musical textures imply open space. Wide intervals sing of loneliness, and his tart instrumentation throws edgy shadows around any suggestion of joy or hopefulness. That music tantalizes with its rich references. But reference to what? No true folk tunes have been adapted; no real country dances echo in the background. Yet the music implies all that while finding its own way between traditional songs of the American earth and those craftily composed to incorporate the essence of native music. Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men stands as complete and whole as a crystal sphere - seamless, polished, able to reflect inner and outer color. The intriguing creative process that went so wrong at the outset, found that perfect sphere and left us Of Mice and Men.
Carlisle Floyd, composer
Of Mice and Men
Houston Grand Opera, Gordon Hawkins, Anthony Griffey, Joseph Evans, Julian Patrick, Elizabeth Futral, James Maddalena, Tyler Smith, Scott Scully, Patrick Summers, conductor

"...powerful, sophisticated, and effective score. ... It's good to have a worthy recording of an important American opera that is finally getting its due." (The New York Times)

"This is an important addition to the repertoire of American opera, and highly recommended." (Fanfare)
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