FRANK TICHELI (b.1958): An American Dream for Soprano and Orchestra (Leilah Dione Ezra [soprano], Frost Symphony Orchestra; Zoe Zeniodi), LANSING MCCLOSKEY (b.1964): Prex penitentialis for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra (Andrea Fullington [soprano], HGNM Chamber Orchestra; Brad Lubman).
Catalogue Number: 05M085
Reference: TROY 1258
Description: An American Dream, to texts by Philip Littell, is a symphonic song-cycle in which dreams are used as a metaphor for the anxieties of late 20th-century America. As in the composer's works for wind ensemble the language is tonal, the orchestration bold and colorful, with winds and brass to the fore and used to create striking and inventive sonorities. Emotionally, the music runs the full gamut; a stormy and vehement opening followed by the frozen immobility of the second song, then aggressive big-band urban violence right out of West Side Story, giving way to a shocked, withdrawn aftermath and a sense of increasing consolation and optimism in the final songs. McLoskey's settings of excerpts from Petrarch employ a more ambiguous, chromatic vocabulary, reflecting the texts' sense of struggle and conflict between the spiritual and the temporal. The vocal part is emotionally intense, while the strikingly original orchestration produces some highly original sonorities without resorting to unconventional performance practices.