Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak is the newest album from multiple GRAMMY Award-winning chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird. The project finds the innovative new-music sextet collaborating with vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird of the Irish supergroup The Gloaming, Princeton-based composer-fiddler Dan Trueman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon. A modern retelling of an ancient Irish epic, Olagón depicts — not without irony and humor — a privileged “power couple” mired in envy, greed, and adultery, descending into criminality and addiction as Ireland’s “Celtic-Tiger” economy collapses in the early 21st century.
The New Budapest Orpheum Society, ensemble-in-residence in the Division of Humanities at the University of Chicago, has been tracing the origins, development, and influence of European Jewish cabaret music through extensive historical research and compelling performances in concert and on a series of widely acclaimed albums on Cedille Records.
Acclaimed lyric soprano Patrice Michaels, "a formidable interpretative talent" (The New Yorker), conceived and headlines this inventive, wide-ranging two-disc project of 26 songs where classical music and jazz find common ground in ways that will delight fans of both musical genres.
Conducted by Christopher Bell, Chicago's Grant Park Chorus is "as fine a symphony chorus as any to be found anywhere in the nation" (Chicago Tribune). Celebrating its 50th season, the chorus makes its a cappella CD debut with an all-American program of eight imaginative, moving, and sometimes whimsical works written between 1975 and 2005, including four world premieres.
The Pulitzer Prize in Music, established in 1943, is perhaps the most coveted award in American concert life. This new CD with Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus and principal conductor Carlos Kalmar presents three Pulitzer Prize-winning works from the competition's earliest years: William Schuman's Secular Cantata No. 2, "A Free Song"; Aaron Copland's Suite from Appalachian Spring; and Leo Sowerby's The Canticle of the Sun for chorus and orchestra. These are the world-premiere recordings of the Schuman and Sowerby cantatas.
In Eleanor’s Words: Music of Stacy Garrop offers world-premiere recordings of three works by “a rising composer who . . . excites the enthusiasm of performers and audiences alike” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).
Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, has been hailed as the first American poet since Robert Frost to garner great critical acclaim and broad popular appeal in equal measure. "His poems generate surprise, inviting the reader to anticipate each new one as if it might be the best one yet" (World Literature Today). In Collins's poetry, "even the most commonplace things never turn out quite the way you think they will" (Newsweek).
Cedille Records presents a career-spanning collection of sublime songs by celebrated Chicago composer Lita Grier, who has crafted contemporary settings for works by illustrious English and American poets.
The New Budapest Orpheum Ensemble’s Jewish Cabaret In Exile follows its acclaimed recording debut, Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano — Jewish Cabaret, Popular, and Political Songs 1900–1945.
American Choral Premieres is the latest testament to the choir’s mission and stellar reputation.
With its music director and conductor Paul French, the mid-size, mixed-voice ensemble performs world-premiere recordings of sacred and spiritual pieces by nine recent and contemporary composers including Alan Hovhaness’s Four Motets, Op. 268; George Rochberg’s Behold, My Servant; Easley Blackwood’s A King James Magnificat, Op. 44; and William Ferris’s Lyrica Sacra.
Chicago a cappella returns to disc with Christmas a cappella: Songs From Around the World, a sparkling selection of seasonal songs by contemporary composers and arrangers, including seven world premieres.
World-renowned mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore sings four royal roles in a tour de force program of dramatic orchestral works.
Nominated for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in Music, William Ferris's Snowcarols receives its world premiere recording. Performed by the William Ferris Chorale, directed by Paul French, Snowcarols is filled with memorable melodies and brilliant orchestrations.
My idea for this disc is to share some of the best and most varied current literature for voice and piano. The composers represented here include well-recognized and less familiar names, all of whom are living. They take their inspiration from poems and prose both ancient and modern, exotic and mundane. They rework time-honored musical forms and develop new ones. Their compositional methods range from simple to virtuosic. - Patrice Michaels
On its new CD, the "world class" (Fanfare) nine-voice ensemble Chicago a cappella brings its trademark "wit, imagination, [and] flawless intonation" (Chicago Tribune) to 23 contemporary choral settings of Shakespeare texts - including ten recorded premieres and three works composed expressly for the group.
This unique program features Benjamin Britten's evocative masterpiece for soprano and strings, Les Illuminations, and Darius Milhaud's rarely-recorded vocal tour de force, originally written for Lily Pons, Quatre Chansons de Ronsard; along with delightful rarities by Erik Satie and Germaine Tailleferre (the only female member of "Les Six").
There's more to traditional Jewish popular music than klezmer clarinet and Fiddler on the Roof. Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano revives the lively genre of Jewish cabaret and music hall songs from early twentieth-century Vienna and other vibrant centers of Jewish life.
Acclaimed soprano Patrice Michaels evokes the leading prima donnas of classical-period Vienna by singing pieces tailored to their talents by Mozart and fellow composers Salieri, Martin y Soler, Cimarosa, Righini, and Stephen Storace.
More than four decades after its 1958 debut, American composer Robert Kurka's hilarious, satirical opera The Good Soldier Schweik returns to active duty with a complete, world premiere recording on Cedille Records.
Combine Schubert's gift of melody with Beethoven's flair for drama, and you have the music of their respected friend and colleague -- the Bohemian composer Jan Václav Hugo Vorísek. Unlike his better-known contemporaries, Vorísek (pronounced VORH-zheh-shek) composed few large-scale works in his tragically short lifetime (1791-1825), but what gems they are. His exquisite Mass in B-flat Major is a perfectly proportioned Classical masterpiece in the tradition of the great masses of Haydn and Mozart. Surprisingly, this new CD is the only readily available recording. Vorísek's only symphony, the Symphony in D Major, is "a work of impressive confidence and command, firmly constructed and colourfully scored" (Gramophone). If you love the great Viennese classicists, you'll adore Vorísek.
Experience a side of Handel that's rarely heard these days: exquisitely refined vocal and instrumental chamber music, including three cantatas from his early years in Italy. On The Virtuoso Handel, you'll encounter the type of intimate music making that small, privileged audiences of discerning connoisseurs enjoyed during Handel's sojourn in Rome from 1706 to 1709.
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918), younger sister of the more famous Nadia Boulanger, was a brilliant and precocious French composer who dazzled the world of European music at the beginning of the 20th century. At age 19, Lili Boulanger became the first woman to win France's Prix de Rome. In her short career, Boulanger advanced the impressionism of her era, finding her own voice in music that's expressive and luminous, moving and enchanting. Debussy descriptively described her music as "undulating with grace."
Composer Frank Ferko's majestic new Stabat Mater (The Mother Stood) broadens the embrace of this profound medieval hymn depicting Mary at the Crucifixion. Ferko supplements the original Latin text on the theme of premature death with passages from classical Greek drama and modern verse.
While the classical era is synonymous with Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, Songs of the Classical Age illuminates a host of other composers of the Age of Enlightenment, along with less-familiar works by the aforementioned titans.
The movie that sparked interest in French baroque music, 1991's Tous les matins du monde, centered on viol virtuoso Marin Marais and his teacher Sainte-Colombe. But music in the age of Louis XIV actually revolved around the formidable composer and impresario Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), the dominant star in the Sun King's musical galaxy.