Magazine article Gramophone

Averitt: Afro-American Fragments

Magazine article Gramophone

Averitt: Afro-American Fragments

Article excerpt


Afro-American Fragments. The Deepness of the Blue. The Dream Keeper

Lee Thompson, Melissa Loehnig pf

Conservatory Singers / Robert Bode

MSR Classics [F] MS1509 (47' * DDD)

Recorded live at the White Recital Hall, James C Olson Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City, February 24, 2013

William Averitt (b1948) was on the faculty at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia, for almost 40 years, and these three cycles for chorus and piano four hands, to poems and lyrics by Langston Hughes on three different aspects of the American experience, show the soft-spoken flexibility, skill and eloquence such a pedigree bespeaks.

Instead of illustrating Hughes's words with his music, Averitt shapes, modulates and manipulates the underlying pulse and contributions from pianists Lee Thompson and Melissa Loehnig to support the choral lines with ambient schemes of colour and mood. On their own these musical effects might go unnoticed but combined with the powerful imagery of the poetry they conjure up complex, conflicted emotional experiences over which the choral lines lay out like in a dream. …

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