Call Number: CD 1705
Format: Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: January 1, 2016
Label: Centrediscs / Centredisques
Michèle Bogdanowicz, mezzo-soprano
Peter McGillivray, baritone
Lawrence Wiliford, tenor
Jacqueline Woodley, soprano
Steven Philcox, piano
In this first recording exclusively devoted to the music of Polish-born Canadian composer Norbert Palej, CLOUD LIGHT immerses listeners in music that actively grapples with the modern understanding of art song and demonstrates that it is still a genre capable of the most profound musical expression and innovation. Featuring new songs written for and premiered by mezzo-soprano Michèle Bogdanowicz, baritone Peter McGillivray, tenor Lawrence Wiliford, soprano Jacqueline Woodley and pianist Steven Philcox, this exploration of 21st – century Canadian art song presents four works: Three Norwegian Songs (2011) for baritone and piano, Four Lyrical Moments (2013) for mezzo-soprano and piano, Cloud Light: Fourteen Small Songs (2012) performed by soprano, tenor and piano and The Demise of Argus Panoptes (2015) for SATB quartet and piano. In his settings of Canadian, Polish, Norwegian (translated into English) and classical Latin poetry, Palej demonstrates his interest and skill in working with a wide palette of vocal and instrumental colours intimately to depict narrative and animate text.
The second release by Canadian Art Song Project, following ASH ROSES (2014), this CD continues to expand the recorded repertoire of art song by Canadian composers, performed by some of Canada’s most recognized advocates of chamber music and song.
Founded in 2011 by tenor Lawrence Wiliford and pianist Steven Philcox and inspired by a passion for Canadian music, Canadian Art Song Project’s mission is to build on the rich legacy of Canadian song. It engages composers, librettists, and performers to share and celebrate their experiences through the creation of new music and provides opportunities for Canadian artists to program and advocate the wealth of beauty in the existing song literature.
1. – 3. Three Norwegian Songs 6:15
4. – 7. Four Lyrical Moments 7:47
8. – 21. Cloud Light 33:46
22. The Demise of Argus Panopetes 11:41
“I don’t often play review CDs twice straight through but I did with this one and it was well worth it. It’s definitely going to get a fair bit more air time! All up, this is an excellent record with four contrasting works by an important contemporary Canadian composer. It’s also a pretty good advert for the vibrancy of the contemporary art song scene in Canada.” – Opera Ramblings
“Like the songs of Vaughan Williams or George Butterworth or Benjamin Britten, these Canadian ones lift their poetry into a higher sphere, heightening emotion and effect. Like Britten, Palej is economical, elegant. Each note, chord, ostinato or silence has a clear purpose; there is nothing extraneous here. There is also a visceral quality to the songs on Cloud Light, despite the airy title and frequently atmospheric themes. The singers and Philcox’s sure fingers heighten this palpable force.” – John Terauds, Musical Toronto
“It’s more difficult to carve out uniqueness with music alone, yet Cloud Light achieves it. The album is full of new sonorities, and Norbert Palej is indeed a composer who adapts his sound to the poetry in front of him.” – Schmopera blog
This recording is not yet available on Spotify.