Narucki and Berman at Tufts

43-231708452f2b1da7481ac1d67e2aecf6I just got word that the fabulous duo of soprano Susan Narucki and pianist Donald Berman is giving a program at Tufts this coming Sunday that will include my setting of a Kathleen Norris text, Who Do You Say That I Am?, and two songs from my set of Three Folk Hymns – the ones based on Be Thou My Vision and What Wondrous Love is This? The concert is at 3 pm at the Distler Performance Hall in the Granoff Music Center at Tufts University in Medford, MA – more info here. The program is an attractive one. Susan and Donald are calling it: “Stop Endings: Intimate Songs on Nature, Loss, and Spirituality”. Besides my own material there will be music of Schumann, Zemlinsky, and Kurtág. (Susan coached with the famously demanding Kurtág.)

There’s lots of great stuff from Susan on YouTube, including Carter, Crumb, Davidovsky, Vivier, etc. For a start, here’s her Bridge recording of the third song in my Rilke cycle From a Book of Hours for chamber ensemble and soprano (the piece also exists in the original orchestral version). Christopher Kendall conducts the 21st Century Consort. There’s a perusal score of the chamber version below and the orchestral version is here.  You can hear Donald play piano music of Scott Wheeler here; lots of Ives from Donald on YouTube as well.

(photo credit: Richard Bowditch)


New Kathleen Norris Song

Though best known for her wonderful non-fiction books such as Dakota and The Cloister Walk, author Kathleen Norris is also a poet. I came upon the poem “Who Do You Say That I Am?” in her collection Journey: New and Selected Poems 1969-1999, and recently completed a setting of it for soprano and piano. I’ve posted the first page of the song on the score excerpts page.

The poem is a catalog of responses to a question Jesus posed to his disciples. But the answers here are different from those in the bible story, instead offering images drawn in part from nature, but not in a naturalistic way (“nova of blossom, star in the apple”). The poem moves toward the ecstatic, ending:

the end of the spectrum,
beginning of light.

Like several other of my other individual songs that are not published by Theodore Presser, I’ll be selling PDFs of the song myself. Take a look at the opening of the piece and if you are intrigued, send me an e-mail to order the score: <jamesprimosch at gmail dot com>. Shadow Memory (audio here), Waltzing the Spheres, and my arrangements of How Can I Keep From Singing? and Be Thou My Vision are also available directly from me. Find sample pages from all of these on the score excerpts page as well.