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Libby Larsen: String Symphony; Songs of Light and Love; Songs from Letters
     

Libby Larsen: String Symphony; Songs of Light and Love; Songs from Letters

by Joel Revzen
 
One of the beauties of Libby Larsen's music is that it sounds instantly familiar without being obviously or overly indebted to any particular influence. The three works on this disc date from 1998 and 1999; Larsen is eagerly commissioned by major artists these days, and it's easy to hear why. The spontaneous lyricism, the naturalness of

Overview

One of the beauties of Libby Larsen's music is that it sounds instantly familiar without being obviously or overly indebted to any particular influence. The three works on this disc date from 1998 and 1999; Larsen is eagerly commissioned by major artists these days, and it's easy to hear why. The spontaneous lyricism, the naturalness of vocal lines in particular, and the colorful and imaginative instrumentation are enormously appealing. Most impressive here are the Songs of Light and Love for soprano and chamber ensemble, a setting of five May Sarton poems. The poet's lyrical images and evocations of nature are a fine match for Larsen's talents. With the crystal-clear voice of Benita Valente (who premiered the cycle) accompanied by the delicate and incandescent combination of English horn, harp, marimba, vibraphone, and string quintet, the songs are a mostly quiet string of jewels, ending in Satie-like repose. Songs from Letters takes on the voice of quite a different female writer: Calamity Jane, in correspondence to her daughter Janey. The occasional Coplandesque reference is inevitable, but Larsen mostly fashions an American West of her own. Valente sings with flair here too, although a less pure voice might better capture what Larsen calls the "rough-toughness" of Jane's language. No less lyrical than these song cycles, Larsen's Symphony No. 4 for string orchestra is a lovely and euphonious work that begins in "Elegance" (as the movement titles tell us), and ends in "Ferocious Rhythm."

Product Details

Release Date:
06/27/2000
Label:
Koch Int'l Classics
UPC:
0099923748120
catalogNumber:
7481

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 4 (String Symphony)
  2. Songs of Light and Love, for soprano voice & ensemble, No. 1, Invocation (A Summoning)
  3. Songs of Light and Love, for soprano voice & ensemble, No. 2, The Snow Light (A Rapture)
  4. Songs of Light and Love, for soprano voice & ensemble, No. 3, A Light Left On (A Quietude)
  5. Songs of Light and Love, for soprano voice & ensemble, No. 4, The Fear of Angels (A Beatitude)
  6. Songs of Light and Love, for soprano voice & ensemble, No. 5, Evening Walk in France (A Gymnopedie)
  7. Songs from Letters, for voice & orchestra, No. 1, So Like Your Father
  8. Songs from Letters, for voice & orchestra, No. 2, He Never Misses
  9. Songs from Letters, for voice & orchestra, No. 3, A Man Can Love Two Women
  10. Songs from Letters, for voice & orchestra, No. 4, A Working Woman
  11. Songs from Letters, for voice & orchestra, No. 5, All I Have

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