SHAWN E. OKPEBHOLO (b.1981): City Beautiful, AUGUSTA READ THOMAS (b.1964): …a circle around the sun…, SHULAMITH RAN (b.1949): Soliloquy, MISCHA ZUPKO (b.1971): Fanfare 80, STACY GARROP (b.1969): Sanctuary.

Catalogue Number: 07Y057

Label: Cedille

Reference: CDR90000 211

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: A nicely varied collection of thoroughly accessible trios, very tonal in overall idiom but remarkably different in their expressive vocabulary, by living composers associated with Chicago. Okpebholo celebrates the city's unique architectural heritage in three movements of geometrical clarity and structural elegance, evoking designed spaces that are pleasing to the eye and functionally immaculate. The first movement depicts the Aqua Tower skyscraper, a gorgeous, organically fluid Gaudí-esque building by Jeanne Gang (illustrated on the front cover), reflected in the music's open, flowing lines. The second movement is a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright; an elegant chaconne with strong, spacious textures. Finally, a tribute to Daniel Burnham, the architect of Chicago’s Union Station. The music bustles busily within the soaring neoclassical interior of the functionally modernist building. Thomas' brief trio sets up a calm, still centre in its very short first movement, and then traces swirls and whorls of activity around it in the second. Ran's intense, eloquent Soliloquy is derived from her opera Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk), after the play by S. Ansky. Taking as its point of departure a theme sung by the opera's doomed protagonist, which appears on cello as the answer to a whole-tone theme, newly composed for the concert work, the actual tense, dramatic soliloquy in the piece is given to this theme and the violin. Zupko's Fanfare 80 is a brief, exciting occasional piece in honour of the Music Institute of Chicago. Beginning with fanfare-like gestures, the piece is a viscerally thrilling, savage dance. Almost half the CD is given to Garrop's superb, deeply moving Sanctuary. The composer delights in writing unabashedly Romantic program music, following a story in structured detail from inception to completion, as in the impressive orchestral works we offered in 2015 (12R009). Searching for ideas for a piece in memory of her father, who died when she was a child, Garrop collected anecdotes and objects to form a portrait of a man she never had a chance to know completely, and came up with a narrative of a child searching for memories of a lost parent. In the first movement, "Without", the child’s voice calls out plaintively, sounding lost and alone in the dark; as impressions of the lost parent begin to surface - warmth and kindness, activity and celebration - the search becomes more impassioned and insistent. The intensity rises to fever-pitch, subsides into gentle melancholy, and rises again, desperately, vehemently crying out. A climax of almost unbearable intensity resolves nothing, and the movement ends without resolution. The second movement, "Within" begins again with the violin, now answered by the cello in the role of the parent; "the child … has found the parent within the sanctuary of her own heart." This gentle reunion, tentative at first, becomes increasingly ecstatic and triumphant, leading to an overwhelming outpouring of emotion, and the piece ends with the two singing a quietly joyous duet. Lincoln Trio.


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