Wild Up / Christopher Rountree / Lindsay Kesselman / Theo Bleckmann

Christopher Cerrone: The Pieces That Fall to Earth

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The poetry of James Wright, represented here by the cycle The Branch Will Not Break, has been set to music several times. That of Kay Ryan, despite her status as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010, is perhaps less common, and the Grammy nomination (for Best Chamber Music Performance) garnered in 2019 by this New Amsterdam Recordings release was inspired partly by the fact that setting Ryan's poetry, especially as composer Christopher Cerrone does here, makes such perfect sense. Cerrone's style sets delicate vocal lines against angular, abstract instrumental combinations. It works well enough in The Branch Will Not Break, which uses a small chorus effectively, and in Bill Knott's breakup poems The Naomi Songs. However, in the Ryan poems, with their short, fragmentary lines belying intense emotional content, the style really packs a punch. Ryan's set gains in strength of feeling as it proceeds, and by the time it reaches "Insult," it compels attention. The large chamber group Wild Up is attuned to Cerrone's music, although some of the singers may require you to turn to the texts provided (in the CD version) to attain the all-important text intelligibility here. For Kay Ryan fans, among others, this is a must.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Pieces That Fall to Earth
1 03:56 Amazon
2 01:30 Amazon
3 02:21 Amazon
4 02:33 Amazon
5 00:44 Amazon
6 01:44 Amazon
7 04:43 Amazon
The Naomi Songs
8 01:33 Amazon
9 01:21 Amazon
10 02:04 Amazon
11 02:53 Amazon
The Branch Will Not Break
12 03:16 Amazon
13 02:26 Amazon
14 03:54 Amazon
15 01:19 Amazon
16 03:43 Amazon
17 00:59 Amazon
18 04:54 Amazon
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