HARRY SOMERS (1925-1999): The Fool (Tamara Hummel [soprano], Sandra Graham [mezzo], Darryl Edwards [tenor] Gary Relyea [bass-baritone], ensemble; David Currie), The Death of Enkidu (Amanda Parsons [actor], Julie Nesrallah [mezzo], Martin Houtman, David Pomeroy [tenors], Doug MacNaughton [baritone], Alain Coulombe [bass], ensemble; Les Dala).

Catalogue Number: 04L118

Label: Centrediscs

Reference: CMCCD 14209

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: The Fool, one of five collaborations between Somers and Toronto-based poet Michael Fram, presents a stylized allegory of the conflict between four different states of mind, represented by the four characters; authority and reason; wit and divergent intellect; controlled emotion and irrational emotion. The setting in a royal court allows an additional layer of meaning; the stratification of society and the boundaries imposed upon its different levels. Somers' music, elegant and economical, is based on a tone-row heard at the beginning but evolves along free lines with decidedly tonal references throughout, and in keeping with the layered texture of the narrative, frequently juxtaposes modern and archaic elements for dramatic effect. The Death of Enkidu is a much later work, the first part of a Gilgamesh trilogy that Somers did not live to complete. The scoring is richer and more varied than the earlier opera, the musical vocabulary similarly free-ranging according to the dramatic requirements of the narrative. The vocal parts are very much to the fore, rendering the texture that of a music drama rather than suggesting the conventions of grand opera. 2 CDs. Texts included.

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