Morten Johannes Lauridsen born February 27, is an American composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient ,  he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale —  and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout on an isolated tower near Mt. In he received the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, "for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide". In late February , via an update on his Facebook page, Lauridsen revealed he had retired from the Thornton School of Music after having taught classes there for over 50 years. He will still travel to university residencies and concerts worldwide.
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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first. Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages. Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.
The popular cycles Mid-Winter Songs and Les chansons des roses the final number of which, Dirait-on , caused something of a publishing sensation on its first appearance are joined by four premiere recordings: two early Psalm settings, and two new works written during the preparations for this recording.
Performances from Layton and his portfolio of musicians are every bit as polished as we have come to expect. Polyphony is joined by the Britten Sinfonia for the Mid-Winter Songs , Andrew Lucas for the organ-accompanied Psalm, and the composer himself—proving Lauridsen to be a master of sympathetic pianism as well as a digital cymbalist.
Through the study of poetry, Lauridsen continues to expand his aesthetic sensibility and expressive range. Lauridsen meditates on a poem for an extended period before making his initial musical sketches, over which he takes enormous care.
The American composer is a perfectionist who marshals a formidable technique in order to create elegantly finished works of art; Lauridsen steadily hones a work until it radiates with a sense of formal rightness and inevitability. Lauridsen has internalized both chant and early music so deeply that there is never a question of his music slipping into mere pastiche; rather, this repertory is the sure foundation upon which the composer has built the edifice of his style.
Thus the Mid-Winter Songs constitute a five-movement choral symphony that evinces a virtuosic degree of integration: all of the main melodic motives developed throughout this score are announced in the dramatic opening measures. The finale, Intercession in Late October, is a quiet prayer, deeply moving in its evident reluctance to return to coldness, both of weather and of the heart.
Aside from poems written in his native tongue of German, Rilke created a substantial body of French verse. In Dirait-on Lauridsen magically evokes the wistfulness of the chansons populaires immortalized by Edith Piaf. Just as with the Mid-Winter Songs, Les chansons des roses are cast as an arch form.
Thus Dirait-on, written first but placed last, becomes the voluptuous summation of the entire work. Lauridsen brilliantly emphasizes the cumulative quality of Dirait-on—which is filled with elaborate polyphony that flows by as naturally as a stream—by reserving the entry of the piano for this luminous finale.
Unlike the extroverted intensity that characterizes the Mid-Winter Songs, Les chansons des roses are so intimate as to suggest an introspective self-communing. Like the German poet, the American composer has tapped a profound source of inspiration by contemplating the evanescent beauty of a rose. The pure and austere lines of I will lift up mine eyes, an a cappella setting of Psalm , evoke ancient organum and the imitative devices of Medieval polyphony.
Complex chord structures and elaborate canonic procedures give O come, let us sing unto the Lord a sense of inexorable forward momentum. The coruscating organ part further enhances the prevailing mood of joy that pervades this anthem. With the Nocturnes Lauridsen undertook a particularly difficult formal challenge: to compose an integrated choral cycle that was simultaneously a triptych while allowing each of the panels to be performed separately.
Unlike either of the choral cycles featured on his disc, both of which use the work of a single poet, Lauridsen has here anthologized the verse of three twentieth-century poets, each of a different nationality: the German Rainer Maria Rilke, the Chilean Pablo Neruda, and the American James Agee.
To ensure unity of conception amid this poetic diversity, the composer has cannily chosen three poems in which there are shared themes: night, romantic love and pantheistic rapture. In this evocation of the quiet consummation of a summer night—for both the opening and closing movements of the Nocturnes express differing degrees of aestival exultation—the luminous sonorities of the piano surround the intertwining voices with a halo of mellow resonance.
Thus the Nocturnes conclude with a pantheistic benediction, brimful with deep emotion, which serves as a fitting conclusion to this midsummer pilgrimage. Die klaren und strengen Linien von I will lift up mine eyes, eine a-cappella-Vertonung des Psalms, evozieren antikes Organum und imitative Mittel mittelalterlicher Polyphonie. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
Don't show me this message again. Les chanson des roses is a polyphonic delight that strategically delays the entry of the piano until the very end. Performances are excellent. Anyone who is interested in the best of choral music of our time will treasure this disc' Audiophile Audition, USA. For choral—and especially Lauridsen—fans, neglecting this disc is not an option' Classics Today. From a choir as good as Polyphony and wow, is it good in this piece! He is a perfectionist who commands an outstanding technique, and is able to create elegantly-finished works of art that radiate with the glow of what is truly right and inevitable.
The composer's craftsmanship further leads to an amazing balance between the contemporary and the timeless. Doubtless this disc also attests to Lauridsen's superb ability to write for choral voices while creating those atmospheric sounds which bring a feeling of inner peace to even the most unwilling ear. In this recording, the composer uses predominantly secular texts, emphasising most strongly his passionate devotion to poetry and the performances are no less riveting.
Stephen Layton marshals his choral and orchestral forces to telling effect and both singers and players display that austere discipline which is so vital to produce a blended and cohesive sound and do justice to Lauridsen's harmonic language.
Their glorious sound and subtle interpretations do complete justice to Lauridsen's scores, including the Mid-Winter Songs , Les chansons des roses and the brand-new, rapturous Nocturnes, of which this disc is the premiere recording.
The Polyphony performances make it clear why Lauridsen is today's preeminent choral composer; you'll hear every nuance of voicing and harmony, enveloped by a choral sound that is shaped by a masterly hand, with quicksilver changes and contrasts. Yet for all its musical intricacy, the work has a direct and powerful emotional impact—not the impact of a scream, but of an intimate whisper that cuts right through you.
Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first. Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages. Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults. The popular cycles Mid-Winter Songs and Les chansons des roses the final number of which, Dirait-on , caused something of a publishing sensation on its first appearance are joined by four premiere recordings: two early Psalm settings, and two new works written during the preparations for this recording.