Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Radiant Depth Unfolded: Settings of Rumi Five Songs for Soprano, Baritone, and Piano

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Radiant Depth Unfolded: Settings of Rumi Five Songs for Soprano, Baritone, and Piano

Article excerpt

LeBaron, Anne (b. 1953). Radiant Depth Unfolded: Settings of Rumi. Five songs for soprano, baritone, and piano. Golden Croak Music, 2015. Premiered at Songfest, 2015, commissioned jointly by Songfest and the Sorel Organization, and performed by soprano Melanie Henley Heyn, baritone Jesse Malgieri, and pianist Gloria Kim. Frequent meter and tempo changes; fluid tonality. Soprano range G^sub 3^-B[musical flat]^sub 5^; baritone range F^sub 2^-C[musical flat]^sub 4^, falsetto and Sprechstimme. Tessitura is medium to medium high for both voices. Difficult.

Radiant Depth Unfolded: Settings of Rumi was one of two commissioned pieces for Songfest in the summer of 2015, and was included on the concert, "A Celebration of LA Composers," which featured area composers both more and less well known. That same weekend, Ms. LeBaron's opera LSD: The Opera also was presented across the street at REDCAT. Anne LeBaron, who serves on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts as the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition, has attracted national attention for her groundbreaking compositional approach. Other recent vocal works demonstrating the farreaching experimentalism of the composer's work include Breathtails (13 Songs in 21 Breaths) for baritone, shakuhachi, and string quartet, and the one-woman cyborgopera, Sucktion.

These settings of texts by the extraordinary Persian poet, scholar, and Sufi mystic of the 13th century quite aptly catch the sense of the quotidian and the ecstatic contained in Rumi's poetry. LeBaron calls on the singers to encompass many challenging technical vocal demands, to play cowbell and to drop walnuts, or, says the composer, "something similar, without too much bounce (no ping pong balls! …

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