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Lieberson: Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, Horn Concerto

Lieberson: Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, Horn Concerto

by William Purvis William Purvis


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No doubt, more listeners will come to this album as devotees of the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson than as admirers of her husband, the composer Peter Lieberson. But the power of all three works recorded here should prove that their marriage was one of creative equals. The Rilke Songs (1997-2001) form the first of two cycles composed by Lieberson for his wife. The later set of Neruda Songs (available on a Nonesuch recording) seems so deeply personal that it's hard to imagine anyone other than Hunt Lieberson singing them. But these Rilke settings, while no less exquisitely tailored to her voice, ought to be taken up widely by performers as a strikingly sensitive contribution to the song repertoire. The composer has written that he learned the importance of lyricism from hearing his wife's singing, and the Rilke Songs are prime evidence of how well that lesson was learned. In this live recording from 2004, Hunt Lieberson and pianist Peter Serkin team up for a haunting performance that delves intently into Rilke's ambiguous verse and Lieberson's richly sensuous melodies, redolent of the late Romanticism of a century ago. Lieberson's Horn Concerto -- performed by William Purvis, who also premiered it in 1999 -- is more lighthearted, perfectly attuned to the solo instrument's varied qualities of tone and color; but in the more lyrical sections, it's tempting to hear the influence of Hunt Lieberson's expressive voice on the composer's style. That's even more true in The Six Realms (1999-2000), a concerto for amplified cello and orchestra. The title refers to principles of Tibetan Buddhism, which Lieberson has long practiced, and the work balances meditative passages with outbursts of exuberance, anger, and passion, all of which are navigated with compelling force and concentration by cellist Michaela Fukacova. What these pieces share is Lieberson's ability -- less than common among serious contemporary composers -- to communicate emotionally with audiences, a capacity that his relationship with Lorraine Hunt Liberson seems to have brought into progressively greater focus.

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Product Details

Release Date: 05/30/2006
Label: Bridge
UPC: 0090404917820
catalogNumber: 9178
Rank: 216942


  1. I ihr Zärtlichen
  2. Atmen, du unsichtbares Gedicht
  3. Wolle die Wandlung
  4. Blummenmuskel...
  5. Stiller Freund
  6. 1. The Sorrow of the World
  7. 2. The Hell Realm
  8. 3. The Hungry Ghost Realm
  9. 4. The Animal Realm
  10. 5. The Human Realm
  11. 6. The God Realm and the Jealous God Realm
  12. 1. Quarter note = 108
  13. 2. Quarter note = 96

Album Credits

Performance Credits

William Purvis   Primary Artist,Horn
Michaela Fukacova   Cello
Donald Palma   Conductor
Peter Serkin   Piano
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson   Mezzo-Soprano (Vocal)
Justin Brown   Conductor
Odense Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble

Technical Credits

David Starobin   Producer
Becky Starobin   Executive Producer
Rainer Maria Rilke   Text
Alexis Napoliello   Graphic Design
Kathy de la Torre   Cover Photo
Andrzej Sasin   Engineer
Hudson Fair   Engineer
Stephen Mitchell   Text Translation

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