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Ross Crean: The Great God Pan


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Chicago-based composer Ross Crean’s opera The Great God Pan soars in this new release, the first collaboration between the composer and PARMA recordings. The Great God Pan takes its story from an eponymous 1890 novella by Welsh author Arthur Machen, which explores themes of scientific hubris, transcendental medicine, and unexplainable supernatural behavior. Impressively, Crean adapted Machen’s narrative into the work’s libretto himself, an ambitious and rare undertaking for a composer. Crean’s familiarity with the story shows through in the emotional resonance of his music, which matches and communicates the character’s concerns and feelings with unflinching precision. The key to Crean’s musical portrayal of the story is twofold. First, beginning with the overture, much of the opera’s accompanimental music is defined by pulsing ostinato ideas. This characteristic is inviting to the listener and draws us into the musical world of Crean’s opera. More importantly, the relentless quality of these rhythms wordlessly establishes the ominous mixture of tension and mystery at the heart of The Great God Pan’s narrative. Second, Crean’s text setting is extremely clear, so the story is conveyed with crystal clarity in this recording. Without giving too much away, the tale at the heart of The Great God Pan begins with a surgery gone wrong. The first character we meet, Dr. Raymond, has invited the opera’s protagonist, Clarke, to witness an important experiment based in elements of non-traditional, ancient rituals. Dr. Raymond sacrifices his wife Mary as the subject of his attempt to access a higher spiritual plane – referred to as, “seeing the Great God Pan” – and unwittingly initiates a serious of mysterious supernatural occurrences that Clarke encounters over the next few decades. This recording represents a chamber version of Crean’s opera that includes a full cast of ten superb vocalists and a pair accompanying pianos. The piano parts yearn to be orchestrated, and, in many moments, the listener can easily imagine the lush mixture of brass, strings, woodwinds, and percussion Crean will employ once he has the opportunity to fully orchestrate the piece. With this said, the performance on this album never neither feels incomplete, nor does it ever lack any intensity it might enjoy in a full production. This owes to the excellent quality of the album’s vocal performances, and to Crean’s ingenuity in composing the accompanying piano parts with the sounds of strumming and plucking, which combine to make the music that much more vibrant. Ross Crean is a multifaceted artist, composing and active in many genres of music. As a vocalist, he has studied rock, opera, and many disparate vocal styles. He received his degree from Illinois State University in Music Theory/Composition and has worked with or received commissions from Oberlin College, Opera on Tap Chicago, and Loyola University Museum of Art. Crean’s song cycle, A Passive-Aggressive’s Guide to Mother Goose, was a 2016 winner of One Ounce Opera’s inaugural Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song competition.
Facts
Item number NV6115
Barcode 896931004152
Release date 8/11/2017
Category Opera
Label NAVONA
Media type COMPACT DISC
Number of units 2
Performers
Classical Artist Various Artists
Disc: 1
The Great God Pan01:26:00
1 The Great God Pan, Act I: Intro 00:02:58 Cockerill, John Uhl, Stephen
2 The Great God Pan, Act I: The Discovery 00:07:59 Cockerill, John Wright, Tobias Black, Matthan Ring Uhl, Stephen
3 The Great God Pan, Act I: The Reveal 00:02:12 Cockerill, John Wright, Tobias Black, Matthan Ring Uhl, Stephen
4 The Great God Pan, Act I: The Dream, the Call, and 00:07:01 Cockerill, John Johansen, Sarah Thompson Smith, Maureen Wright, Tobias Black, Matthan Ring Uhl, Stephen
5 The Great God Pan, Act I: Interlude 00:01:13 Cockerill, John Uhl, Stephen
6 The Great God Pan, Act I: Twenty Years 00:02:24 Cockerill, John Wright, Tobias Uhl, Stephen
7 The Great God Pan, Act I: A Story to Add to the Me 00:05:25 Cockerill, John Abbas, Marysa Wright, Tobias Black, Matthan Ring Uhl, Stephen
8 The Great God Pan, Act I: In the Garden 00:03:05 Hiltabidle, Jessica Uhl, Stephen
9 The Great God Pan, Act I: The Story Continues 00:02:55 Cockerill, John Hiltabidle, Jessica Wright, Tobias Uhl, Stephen
10 The Great God Pan, Act I: Villiers' Parlor 00:00:58 Cockerill, John Uhl, Stephen
11 The Great God Pan, Act I: Advice in Investments? 00:02:42 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Wright, Tobias Uhl, Stephen
12 The Great God Pan, Act I: An Old Friend in Shamble 00:04:42 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Haddad, Mark Uhl, Stephen
13 The Great God Pan, Act I: The Plot Thickens 00:06:09 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Wright, Tobias Black, Matthan Ring Uhl, Stephen
Disc: 2
The Great God Pan01:26:00
1 The Great God Pan, Act II: A Stroll in London Fog 00:02:23 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Uhl, Stephen
2 The Great God Pan, Act II: An Artist Meets His Mak 00:05:18 Cockerill, John Johansen, Sarah Thompson Fisher, Andrew Uhl, Stephen
3 The Great God Pan, Act II: City of Nightmares 00:05:28 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Uhl, Stephen
4 The Great God Pan, Act II: It Is Helen Vaughan! 00:00:59 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Uhl, Stephen
5 The Great God Pan, Act II: Gethsemane 00:03:37 Cockerill, John Johansen, Sarah Thompson
6 The Great God Pan, Act II: Silent Too Long 00:02:44 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Wright, Tobias Uhl, Stephen
7 The Great God Pan, Act II: The Confrontation and U 00:01:54 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Johansen, Sarah Thompson Moll, Erin Wright, Tobias Uhl, Stephen
8 The Great God Pan, Act II: Helen's Prophecy Before 00:02:34 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Johansen, Sarah Thompson Moll, Erin Wright, Tobias Uhl, Stephen
9 The Great God Pan, Act II: The First Fragment 00:02:48 Cockerill, John Wright, Tobias
10 The Great God Pan, Act II: The Second Fragment 00:03:34 Wallace, Vince Cockerill, John Moll, Erin Uhl, Stephen
11 The Great God Pan, Act II: The Third Fragment 00:05:18 Cockerill, John Johansen, Sarah Thompson Black, Matthan Ring Uhl, Stephen
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