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a breath upwards


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Music, song, and poetry have long enjoyed a stimulating relationship; coming together for expressive ends and sometimes colliding in dramatic showdowns. None more so than in these vocal works by two composers who often explore extremes, Milton Babbitt and Michael Hersch. Babbitt’s ‘Philomel’ (1964) was an audacious stab at recasting conventions of song (such as voice with accompaniment) by redistributing the text between live voice, recorded voice, and analog synthesizer. The fragmentary words and syllables by poet John Hollander retell Ovid’s story of the rape and subsequent transformation of Philomel into a nightingale; aptly paralleled by the metamorphosis of the human and artificial sonorities. Originally created for the extraordinary voice of Bethany Beardslee, this tour de force of vocal acrobatics has a new champion in Ah Young Hong who navigates the challenges with startling intensity. Fifty years later, equally elegant, but perhaps still darker and more unsettling is Michael Hersch’s ‘a breath upwards’ (2014) for voice and ensemble that includes Miranda Cuckson, Gleb Kanasevich, and Jamie Hersch. Here the texts are from Dante’s ‘Purgatorio’ and Ezra Pounds’ ‘Cantos,’ again suggestive of tortuous travels through shadowy forests along with swooping birds. Together these giant works demonstrate the beauty of harrowing melancholy and raw human emotion. None of that would resonate without the talents of soprano Ah Young Hong. She serves as a comforting guide to the unknowable journeys of the soul.
Facts
Item number INN986
Barcode 726708698621
Release date 3/23/2018
Category Vocal
Label INNOVA
Media type COMPACT DISC
Number of units 1
Performers
Classical Artist Hong, Ah Young
Kanasevich, Gleb
Hersch, Jamie
Cuckson, Miranda
Disc: 1
Philomel00:19:00
1 Philomel 00:18:57 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
A Breath Upwards00:31:00
2 A Breath Upwards: I. — 00:01:46 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
3 A Breath Upwards: II. — 00:02:29 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
4 A Breath Upwards: III. — 00:00:36 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
5 A Breath Upwards: IV. — 00:02:32 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
6 A Breath Upwards: V. — 00:03:07 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
7 A Breath Upwards: VI. — 00:02:40 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
8 A Breath Upwards: VII. — 00:01:05 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
9 A Breath Upwards: VIII. — 00:04:47 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
10 A Breath Upwards: IX. — 00:00:57 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
11 A Breath Upwards: X. — 00:03:49 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
12 A Breath Upwards: XI. — 00:06:13 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
13 A Breath Upwards: XII. — 00:01:57 Cuckson, Miranda Hong, Ah Young Kanasevich, Gleb Hersch, Jamie
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