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Lou Harrison
Rapunzel: An Opera in Six Acts, plus other works
NA093

Karen Andrie, violin, cello; Susan Brown, violin; John Duykers, baritone; Josephine Gandolfi, piano; Patrice Maginnis, soprano; Lynne McMurtyr, mezzo-soprano; Leta Miller, flute and piccolo; William Winant, percussion; Ensemble Parallele, Nicole Paiement, conductor

[Of the work's] varied array of instrumental sonorities ... There was no austerity ... but a continuity which was lyric and, when desired, pungent, along with a pervasive and convincing sensitiveness.

--Herald Tribune

From the Black Mountain College period (1951-1953) date the quartet Songs in the Forest as well as the opera Rapunzel. Rapunzel's six scenes were the product of an intensive effort over a period of less than three months from August to October 1952, although the subsequent orchestration required his efforts well into the following year. Based on a psychological reinterpretation of the old fairy tale by the 19th century English poet William Morris, the work is set for chamber orchestra and three solo singers who declaim in serial language that is at once jagged and lyric. Harrison describes the opera as "in part self-analysis," holding "implicit in it some of the problems, tortures, and false rapture that I was myself experiencing in analysis and psychotherapy." In 1954 the Air from Rapunzel (Act 3) won a Twentieth Century Masterpiece Award for the best composition for voice and chamber orchestra at the International Conference of Contemporary Music in Rome.

 

Track List

1. Air for the Poet (1987) 7:21

Rapunzel: An Opera in Six Acts (1952)
2. Act I 7:21
3. Act II 11:44
4. Act III 7:12
5. Act IV 13:43
6. Act V 5:37
7. Act VI 7:59

Songs in the Forest (1951-52)
8. Slowish 3:37
9. Fastish 2:16
10. Largo 3:40

11. Air in G Minor
For Flute and Drone (1947, revised 1970) 5:05

Total: 71:48

 

Available on iTunes

 

 

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