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Bryant Bicentennial Concert

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Catalog Number: CPS-8623
Audio Format: Stereo, DDD
Playing Time: 60:19
Release Date: 1995

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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    Becky Dale
  1. Summer Wind (7:11)
    Lenora Eve, mezzo-soprano
    Akmal Parwez, baritone
    Matthew Marullo
  2. Mutation (4:19)
    Helene Williams, soprano
    Abram M. Plum
  3. Mutation (3:39)
    Janis Sabatino Hills, soprano
    Anne Watson Born
  4. November (3:22)
    Janis Sabatino Hills, soprano
    Harriette Slack Richardson
  5. Yet One Smile More (3:33)
    Akmal Parwez, baritone
    Judi Silvano
  6. The Nature of Life (3:00)
    Helene Williams, soprano
    Joseph Pehrson
  7. Thanatopsis (6:50)
    Akmal Parwez, baritone
    Patricia Leland Rudoff, violin
    Akmal Parwez
Song of the Prairies (3:31)
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    Christine Sabatino Dunleavy, soprano
    Frederick Frahm
  9. The Future Life (6:50)
    Lenora Eve, mezzo-soprano
    George Selbst
  10. The Death of the Flowers (2:55)
    Helene Williams, mezzo-soprano
    Leo Kraft
  11. October 1864 (8:46)
    Ronald Edwards, tenor
    Leonard Lehrman
  12. The Journey of Life (3:36)
    Helene Williams, soprano
    Herbert Feldman
  13. A Song for New Year's Eve (2:47)


Related Links
Joseph Pehrson @ Composers Concordance
Leonard Lehrman



The New Music Connoisseur - Vol. 8 - by Alex Skovron

"I very much enjoyed the colour and the diversity of approaches by the various composers. I was not familiar with Bryant's work, and found some of the poetry quite moving. Leonard Lehrman's setting of "The Journey of Life" is among my favourites: it is richly textured but also subtle, and I admired the warmth but also the restraint in Helene Williams's singing, with the voice erupting into a fuller exuberance only with "Shall open o'er me from the empyreal height...". It was especially good, too, to be offered different settings of the same poems ("Mutation", "November", etc). Lehrman's accompaniments on piano are a treat in themselves."

The Music Connoisseur - Volume 3, Number 3 *

"Recording projects such as this special release play up the division of classical record producers into two distinct groups. In one camp are the companies that market their products along carefully tested lines, the economic counterpart of political leaders who make all of their moves according to the polls. On the other side are the generally smaller but dedicated enterprises that support musical experimentation, the unknown, the untested, in a word, the stuff of selective appeal. Here Richard Brooks' Capstone Records and the Long Island Composers Alliance (LICA) have pooled their efforts and ideas to form an effective collaboration. Does this mean the Bryant concert stands as a great event? No, but that's beside the point. The fact that the concert was a musical tribute to a 19th century poet, that it came about through an invitation to composers to set already exalted words to music (an often presumptuous endeavor), that the occasion was strictly a local affair and that the performances sounded unrehearsed further attests to the courage of Capstone/LICA to go ahead with this venture at all costs. They hired Norman Greenspan to do the recording, so a good effort was made to capture the music accurately, to balance the forces so words could be heard and to elicit a real sense of the spirit of the occasion. The liner notes provide some background on the occasion and on the library's role in it. This CD is the first ever "made from the recording of a live concert in a Iong Island public library." One can carp with the lack of bios and the fact that the names of the accompanists and selection judges have to be read with the aid of a magnifier. There is no hint as to how the wining entries were chosen. We simply are told Dr. Akmal Parwez (for "Song of the Prairies" based on "These Prairies Glow with Flowers") was Judged the winner and that Matthew Marullo ("Mutation") and Frederick Frahm ("Future Life" received honorable mentions. Those winning entries are not among our particular favorites, though they certinly do not lack pleasing lyricism. We find a bit more dramatic intensity in Judi Silvano's "The Nature of Life" (Thanatopsis"), Joseph Pehrson's "Thanatopsis," George Selbst's "The Death of the Flowers," Leo Kraft's "October 1864 ("My Autumn Walk) Leonard Lehrmans "The Journey of Life." Incidentally, some of those composers just mentioned are cited as judges. There is thoroughly fine singing by soprano Helene Williams and by tenor Ronald Edwards in the Kraft. Leonard Lehrman is the pianist in all but the Pehrson . . ."


Sonneck Society Bulletin

"William Cullen Bryant 1794-1878) was one of the first American poets to gain international fame. He lived on Long Island from 1843 until his death and donated the property for what became The Bryant Library, Long Island's oldest public library in continuous operation. To celebrate his bicentennial, a competition solicited musical settings of his poetry. Besides marking the Bryant bicentennial, the live concert which premiered some of the competition material was the 148th concert by the Long Island Composer's Alliance, a group founded in 1972 and devoted to the presentation of music by serious composers living and working on Long Island. Like many live recordings, this disc features rather uneven performances by the various singers. The diction is not always clear, and intonation is inconsistent. Composer and pianist Leonard Lehrman accompanies all the singers with grace and sympathy; the balance between piano and singer is uniformly excellent. Consequently it is not surprising that of the entire program, Lehrman's own piece is the most idiomatically written for the voice. While the works on the program are of varying quality and interest, the best of the compositions are effective, and some of them are available in published versions. Given the often difficult climate for contemporary music, the Long Island Composer's Alliance has accomplished something remarkable in supporting new music for over 20 years, producing over 150 concerts by 1994."