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  • Elliott Carter: Three Poems Of Robert Frost/Mirror In Which To Dwell/Syringa/In Sleep, In Thunder
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Elliott Carter: Three Poems Of Robert Frost/Mirror In Which To Dwell/Syringa/In Sleep, In Thunder

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Audio CD, February 19, 1993
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$18.25 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Editorial Reviews

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This reading of In Sleep, In Thunder has tenor Jon Garrison singing Carter's musical setting of six Robert Lowell poems. Speculum Musicae grasps the piece's broad-based low-end sweeps expertly, flanging when Garrison's voice seems to unlock and bellow. The music shudders as the tenor considers Lowell's lines, emphasizing the conflicted poetics with interjections that interrupt each other shatteringly. While the Lowell poems allow Carter a fairly costly emotional investigation of personality and conflict, A Mirror on Which to Dwell peeks in on the development of sonic characters, again taken on with snappy know-it-allness of musical directions this side of World War II. The music chases itself, with woodwind blurts shadowing fast-moving string slashes and percussive piano washes, all occasionally wafting into dusty quiet--a recessive sonic area that works wonderfully in relation to Elizabeth Bishop's texts. Very little in these pieces resolves itself, and the music's sum effect is a multiplicity of tonal characters that create their own space, all the while in uneasy proximity to the other spaces. With the Three Poems of Robert Frost (composed in 1942) moving with Patrick Mason's baritone bellow and Syringa sung by mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski (texts by John Ashberry), the palette of tonal ranges and dynamic changes is extremely wide on this set. --Andrew Bartlett


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Three Poems of Robert Frost: I. Dust of SnowPatrick Mason, Speculum Musicae 1:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Three Poems of Robert Frost: II. The Rose FamilyPatrick Mason, Speculum Musicae 1:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Three Poems of Robert Frost: III. The Line GangPatrick Mason, Speculum Musicae 2:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. A Mirror on Which to Dwell: I. AnaphoraChristine Schadeberg, Speculum Musicae 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. A Mirror on Which to Dwell: II. ArgumentChristine Schadeberg, Speculum Musicae 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. A Mirror on Which to Dwell: III. SandpiperChristine Schadeberg, Speculum Musicae 2:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. A Mirror on Which to Dwell: IV. InsomniaChristine Schadeberg, Speculum Musicae 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. A Mirror on Which to Dwell: V. View of the Capitol from the Library of CongressChristine Schadeberg, Speculum Musicae 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. A Mirror on Which to Dwell: VI. O BreathChristine Schadeberg, Speculum Musicae 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. SyringaKatherine Ciesinski, Jan Opalach, Speculum Musicae19:00Album Only
11. In Sleep, in Thunder: I. DolphinJon Garrison, Speculum Musicae 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. In Sleep, in Thunder: II. Across the Yard: La IgnotaJon Garrison, Speculum Musicae 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. In Sleep, in Thunder: III. HarrietJon Garrison, Speculum Musicae 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. In Sleep, in Thunder: IV. Dies IraeJon Garrison, Speculum Musicae 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. In Sleep, in Thunder: V. Careless NightJon Garrison, Speculum Musicae 4:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. In Sleep, in Thunder: VI. In GenesisJon Garrison, Speculum Musicae 2:30$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Speculum Musicae Ensemble
  • Audio CD (February 19, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bridge
  • ASIN: B000003GI9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,503 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on October 24, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Elliot Carter wrote rather little vocal music; from 1947 to 1975, he wrote none. Then, within a few years he wrote three of the bold settings of poetry recorded on this CD. I won't pretend that this is easy music to assimilate. Like all of Carter's explorations of the extremes of tonality and rhythms, these poem-settings won't make immediate sense to listeners expecting something in the manner of 'songs.' I find that approaching them from the repertoire of "accompanied recitativo", which was the great invention of the 16th & 17th Century composers who sought to make their music express the emotional content of poetry, speeds up the recognition of Carter's particular musical intentions. Also, the piece Syringa - a setting of a poem by John Ashbery - can be heard as a "motet" in the format of the late 14th C ars subtilior, with simultaneous declamation in two languages, English and classical Greek.

Carter's choices of poets to set to music reveals a great deal about him, about his emotive affect and about his world-view. First, he had excellent taste in poetry; over his career, he has chosen poems by Hart Crane, Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Ashbery, five of the most powerful and artful poets of the 20th Century. If you're familiar with their work, you'll recognize how much they share. Lowell, Bishop, and Ashbery were lifelong 'comrades' in generating a new poetic canon of confession and introspection. Carter's music, seen as part of his poets' world view, is equally introspective.

The three short settings of poems by Robert Frost were written in 1942, and are scarcely to be compared with the later, larger works. They're interesting, however, in their similarity to the miniature songs of Charles Ives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John W. Shearer on March 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't have a lot to add to the other two fine reviews. I will say that this is a wonderful collection of Carter's vocal pieces. I realize that his first opera as titled was "What Next" which is a fantastic work in itself, but I found that these vocal works with their connections in sets of poems to music and overall structure could in fact be considered actual mini-operas leading up to "What Next". I'm sure that many will disagree with this viewpoint but this is the way that I appreciate and very much enjoy the works. Excellent performances from some musicians and vocalists of the highest order, and a superb recording and production job. Highly recommended for any fan of Elliott Carter's and for those who love refreshing new creative works at their fingertips. Amazing works at a great bargin price. He has proven himself to be amoung the finest vocal composers of the 20th century.
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Format: Audio CD
This Bridge disc, the first entry in the label's long-running Carter edition, contains four works by the American modernist for vocalist and chamber orchestra. Speculum Musicae, a New York-based ensemble that has had a long acquaintance with Carter, performs with a changing cast of soloists and conductors.

The "3 Poems of Robert Frost" were written over 1942-43, though arranged for chamber orchestra as heard here only in 1975. The early Carter still possessed a starry-eyed admiration for Charles Ives and lingering inspiration from Nadia Boulanger. The music is well-constructed and unoffensive, but I suspect few fans of Carter the brazen modernist will return to these after a single listen.

The remaining works are from Carter's mature period, when he explored multilayered writing in multiple tempos and atonal harmonies. "A Mirror on which to Dwell" (1976) is a setting of six poems by Elizabeth Bishop for chamber orchestra and soprano, here Phyllis Bryn-Julson. The six movements range over an immense range of emotions and techniques and what is most striking is how Carter, a composer who many see as obtuse and too removed from everyday life, is here able to accurately mirror such feelings as waking to a beautiful morning or the very moment of falling out of love with someone.

"Syringa" for baritone, mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra (1978) extends that expressionist delivery into a whole new dimension. The baritone recites fragments of Greek literature, while the mezzo-soprano delivers John Ashbery's poem that gives the work its title. The two vocalists perform side by side for the whole span of the work: there are sometimes parallels between their texts, but they never directly engage one another.
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Elliott Carter: Three Poems Of Robert Frost/Mirror In Which To Dwell/Syringa/In Sleep, In Thunder
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