Walcott Songs

Mezzo-soprano and cello (2004)


First Performance: 2006, Tanglewood Music Festival ? Mezzo-soprano: Abigail Fisher ? Cello: Norman Fischer


[In Walcott Songs] ...the unabashedly melodic vocal writing has an immediate and lasting appeal.
— The New York Times

RANDS Prelude - Sans voix parmi les voix - Scherzi - Walcott Songs - "now again" fragments from Sappho. Network for New Music. ALBANY 1194.

Here the long-term Network-Rands relationship results in definitive performances of seminal works by one of the world's great living composers...with whom it it has worked and partnered for many years. This isn't easy stuff to play, because it requires not only virtuosic musicianship, but also contemporary-music record these never-before-recorded but often-programmed Rands pieces.

Rands's Prelude (2004) is sublimely performed. The mystical thing about Rands's writing is that the instruments don't seem to be playing as an ensemble; rather it's as if they accidentally coincided at the same time in the same key. A gorgeous harp solo follows.

Scherzi is a playful and sensitive piece. Rands isn't difficult listening, and...the effect is almost always disarming and transporting. Rands also invents all the time...and produces a random, brittle sound but it always seems to make sense in the end.

Now Again - fragments from Sappho is the pièce de résistance. It is based on fragments of the ancient poet Sappho (fragments are just the sort of thing Rands loves). The configuration is wild, with three female voices, trumpet, a string trio, harp and percussion. In the modalized atmosphere that Rands creates, a montage of fragments somehow coalesces to create a portrait of Sappho and her ancient world. It's as much a dramatic piece as it is a musical one, but in this case it's a puzzle that comes together to form more puzzles. Underneath, however, there is a consistent poignancy that makes this three-dimensional quilt drip with humor and sadness mixed.
— Fanfare, January/February 2011

Upcoming Performances

Nov. 11, 2014
London, UK

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