She Walks in Beauty: Danielle Woerner Sings Luening and Starer
"This CD was a joy to conceive and produce: the fruit of many years’ planning and close musical association with the two composers whose work is represented. Most of it is previously unrecorded, or has long been out of print.
The album takes its title from one of the songs of Otto Luening, who is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking electronic music work in the 1950s, his flute pieces, and his short orchestral works. Otto has been under-represented as a marvelous composer of songs and chamber music including the voice. He was a friend and mentor to me for some 16 years, until his death in 1996, and we collaborated on many musical projects together. All the Luening repertoire on this CD was coached and/or performed with him at one time or another, and he helped us choose the pieces for this recording. One of the Blake songs, “Ah! Sun-flower,” was written for me in 1984.
Robert Starer and I have collaborated on performances of his music since 1991; his performances as pianist on this disk in “Images of Man” (a major song cycle for soprano, flute, cello & piano) and “The Ideal Self” are the composer’s first recorded performances in several decades. Robert wrote “Letter to a Composer” for me as an orchestral piece in 1995, and re-scored it for chamber ensemble for this recording.
There are poetic connections as well as musical ones to the program — songs to poems of William Blake by both composers; pieces featuring voice with flute by both; vocalises as well as the songs WITH words; and the attention which both composers have paid to their poetic texts by Blake, Byron, Emily Dickinson, Gail Godwin, and others.
The recording includes performances by a couple of internationally-renowned wind players — Pat Spencer and Jean Kopperud — as well as some of the best instrumentalists in NY’s Hudson Valley. We recorded it at Grammy Award-winning engineer Tom Mark’s studio in West Shokan, NY — recording in analog to keep the warmth of a small concert-hall setting, and editing in digital. Composer Baikida Carroll was music producer."- Danielle Woerner
Otto Luening: 1. She walks in Beauty, for voice and piano 2. Venilia, for voice & piano 3. At Christmas time, for voice & piano; Robert Starer: 4. Letter to a Composer, for voice, flute, clarinet & string quartet (composer at the piano); Otto Luening: Songs of Emily Dickinson, for voice & piano 5. Our share of night to bear 6. 'Hope' is the thing with feathers 7. I felt a Cleavage in my Mind 8. If I can stop on Heart from breaking; Robert Starer: Images of Man, for voice, flute, cello & piano (composer at the piano) 9. The Universal Man 10. Behold Eternal Death 11. Compell the Poor 12. I am Weary" 13. O Prince of Light 14. It is an Easy Thing 15. Male and Female 16. Rise from the Dews of Death; Otto Luening: Suite for soprano voice & flute, with Patricia Spencer, flute 17. No. 1, "Night Song" 18. No. 2, "Dawn Piece" 19. No. 3, "Morning Song" 20. No. 4, "Evening Song"; Robert Starer: 21. The Ideal Self, for voice, flute & piano With the composer and Marcia Gates, flute; Otto Luening: selected Blake Songs, for voice & piano 22. Love's Secret 23. Ah! Sun-flower 24. The Little Vagabond; Otto Luening: The Soundless Song, for voice, flute, clarinet, string quartet & piano: 25. No. 1, String Quartet 26. No. 2, Moonlight, for voice & piano 27. No. 3, String Quartet 28. No. 4, The Silent Voice, for voice & piano 29. No. 5, Flute & Clarinet 30. No. 6, The Soundless Song; Otto Luening: 31. Transience, for voice & piano