An all-too-rare new recording from Polyphony and Stephen Layton presents highlights from the choral repertoire by four twentieth-century American giants: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Randall Thompson. Framed by Thompson’s understated favourites Alleluia and Fare Well, the programme includes Bernstein’s Missa brevis, Copland’s early set of four motets, and—of course—Barber’s inimitable Agnus Dei.
Earl Wild has augmented the strings and added a bass part to these great quintets. The result is a unique listening experience that packs a huge emotional punch. Wild plays both the Schumann and the Dohnanyi with breathtaking virtuosity and sumptuous poetry with strong support from the strings. This is the Schumann Piano Quintet as you have never heard it: passionate, yearning, and seething with authentic romantic fervor. This disc shows Wild at his brilliant best accompanied by absolutely gorgeous string playing. It's an astonishingly fine release.American Record Guide, Oct. 2000
This anthology brings together representative works from the mainstream of contemporary American choral music. Charles Ives’s Psalm 90 evokes a mood reminiscent of congregational Sunday singing in New England. Copland’s In the Beginning recalls his Fanfare for the Common Man, while Lukas Foss’s Behold, I Build An House shows the stylistic influence of Copland. Vincent Persichetti’s Flower Songs reveal his deep commitment to his favourite poet E.E. Cummings, and favours the women’s voices. In Fern Hill, set for alto, chorus and orchestra, composer John Corigliano sings of the joys of youth.
American Gods is an American television series developed by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green for Starz, based on the novel of the same name by author Neil Gaiman. The series focuses on Shadow Moon, a man serving three years in prison. With only days remaining in his sentence, Shadow is given an unexpected early release after a personal tragedy. Shadow finds himself next to a man named Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job. Wednesday appears to be nothing but a con artist who needs Shadow as a bodyguard, but is in fact a deity. Wednesday is making his way across America, gathering all the old gods, who have now incorporated themselves into American life, to confront the New Gods, including Media and Technology, who grow stronger. The score to American Gods was composed by Brian Reitzell (Lost in Translation, Hannibal). As eclectic and mercurial as the beloved subject matter of the series, the music is a perfect companion to the visuals on screen yet stands tall in its own right. Original songs written for the series and sung by Mark Lanegan and others also included.