Orpheus and Other Vocal Works

Orpheus and Other Vocal Works

Orpheus and Other Vocal Works

Elizabeth Farnum, soprano Dominic Inferrera, baritone
Stephen Gosling, piano
The Washington Square Ensemble: Jayn Rosenfeld, flute; Jean Kopperud, clarinet; Pablo Rieppi, percussion; Stephen Gosling, piano; Curtis Macomber, violin; Dorothy Lawson, cello; Louis Karchin, conductor

Included Works

Memory baritone and piano (2002)
Deux Poèmes de Mallarmé soprano and piano (2001)
Carmen de Boheme soprano and piano (2002)
To the Sun soprano and piano (2003)
Orpheus a Masque for baritone voice, dancers and chamber ensemble (2003)
Meditation soprano and piano (2001)
My Children Grew soprano and piano (2000)
Interlude soprano & piano (2002)
Echoes baritone and piano (2002)

Louis Karchin, a professor of music at NYU, is one of the few who has managed a compromise between the avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s and the neo-romanticism of the current era. Yet the ecstatic paganism of ‘To the Sun’ and the coruscating colors of Orpheus do not sound like mushy, middle-ground compromises. Rather, they project a strong, confident personality. The harp, wind, and percussion colors of Orpheus, the most ambitious piece here, are beguiling and inviting; the vocal lines in ‘Memory’, ‘Deux Poèmes de Mallarmé’, and ‘To the Sun’ chart a Bergian course between lyricism and atonality. In general one feels a strong underlying tonal center, though it comes and goes. The most charming song, ‘Carmen de Boheme’, is an affectionate homage to Bizet’s Habanera; here too the style recalls Berg in its incorporation of popular rhythms and motifs into complex harmonic structures.

Dominic Inferrera and Elizabeth Farnum are the astute, sensitive singers; the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society Players make elegant, shimmering sounds in Orpheus. The Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase, a superb recording venue, shows these artists off to maximum advantage.

Jack Sullivan, American Record Guide (07/2006)

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