LEE HYLA (b.1952): At Suma Beach, Lives of the Saints.
Catalogue Number: 06J097
Label: Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Reference: BMOP/sound 1003
Description: The composer describes these two works as 'my two religious epics, one Catholic and one Buddhist'. At Suma Beach is a lyrical evocation of Japanese literary and musical sources, incorporating elements of Noh theater. The musical vocabulary, though, is entirely the composer's own. Lives frames episodes from the lives of four saints with extracts from Dante's 'Commedia'. Both works are vocal tours de force for the mezzo soloist, with rapid changes of character and language required, as well as vocal acrobatics, though always within the bounds of conventional singing, plus or minus some sprechstimme and 'acted' material; Hyla avoids the extreme vocalizations of certain avant garde persuasions. The style of the music is best described as harmonically free with tonal centers, more or less strongly perceived at different times; the narrative and textural clarity and dramatic thrust of the works render them readily accessible. Texts and translations included. Mary Nessinger (mezzo), Boston Modern Orchestra Project.