The music of Marga Richter performed by William George, tenor and Andrea Lodge, piano
It could be said that Marga Richter is one of American music’s “unsung heroes”: she boasts an impressive catalogue of orchestral recordings, including those by ensembles as illustrious as the London Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony, but her vast and rich catalogue of songs has, until now, remained relatively neglected. Dew-drops on a Lotus Leaf is the first album dedicated exclusively to her vocal music, championed here by tenor William George and pianist Andrea Lodge. A sense of melancholy permeates these songs, from the elegiac civil war letter “Sarah do not mourn me dead” to the despairing resignation of “Sonnet 71” of Shakespeare. But the tour-de-force of this recording is the titular 45-minute, 39-song cycle, where the listener is taken on an epic journey through the five seasons of life (as told by the Japanese Zen Poet/Monk Ryokan). Throughout the cycle, George’s voice soars effortlessly between tenor and countertenor ranges, creating sound worlds that are at once soothing and demanding, ethereal and intense. George and Lodge give benchmark performances of these virtuosic and important contributions to 20th and 21st century American song writing.
Composer: Marga Richter
Performers: William George, tenor; Andrea Lodge, piano
Producers: Marga Richter
Engineer: Branic Howard
Digital Editing: Branic Howard
Mastering: Don Harder
Recorded at: Staller Center for the Arts Recital Hall, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, August 27-30, 2013
Graphic Design: William George
“Marga Richter is an American composer that needs to be re-evaluated, performed more often, appreciated.” – Classical Modern
“Marga Richter’s work is soft, surprising, touching, melancholic; especially remarkable is the lyrical quality of her melodies. Both the pianist Andrea Lodge and tenor William George go beyond what is purely melodic and dissonant to provide precise brushstrokes that are an ideal complement to the poetic-musical proposal of Richter. The end result is pure magic that arises from the aesthetic and spiritual communion of the great masters. We recommend you know the music of this composer.” Translated from Catalan. Text: Martial Borotau – Sonograma magazine, Spain
1. Sarah do not mourn me dead
2.-3. Two Chinese Songs
4. Wild Moon
5.-6. Two Shakespeare Sonnets
7.-45. Dew-drops on a Lotus Leaf
TK435 © 2014 Redshift Music
A Mid-Westerner (WI,MN), Marga Richter earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in composition from The Juilliard School. She has written over 160 works encompassing virtually every genre. Her orchestral music has been played by over fifty orchestras, including the Atlanta and Milwaukee Symphonies and the Minnesota Orchestra and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, among others. Soloists who have presented her music include Jessye Norman, Menahem Pressler, William Masselos, Natalie Hinderas and Daniel Heifetz.
A comprehensive biography, Marga Richter, by Sharon Mirchandani (University of Illinois Press) was published in 2012. Richter’s website, http://margarichter.com, includes complete list of works, discography, reviews, sound clips, live interviews, publishers and contact information.
This CD is the first of three projected volumes of Richter’s music for solo voice and piano. In addition to Dew-Drops on a Lotus Leaf (a 45-minute, 39-song cycle), it includes settings of excerpts from a letter Major Sullivan Ballou sent to his wife a week before he was killed in the American Civil War, two Shakespeare Sonnets, two ancient Chinese poems and one by contemporary poet, Phyllis Latimer Roberts (1923-2013).