Opera News on “Sacred Songs”

A review by Joshua Rosenblum of my Sacred Songs album has appeared on the Opera News website. It’s only available for subscribers, so I’ll just offer a few quotes here:

“Primosch’s text-setting instincts are seemingly unerring: his vocal lines always convey the words authentically and honestly, while the instrumental accompaniment provides added depth and drama…”

“Soprano Susan Narucki, who sings three out of the four cycles, has musical intelligence to spare, as well as a clear, ingratiating delivery and sure intonation…”

“Baritone William Sharp uses his resonant, authoritative voice to provide a gripping, inexorable build…” [in the song cycle Dark the Star]

Corde Natus Ex Parentis” from the cycle Four Sacred Songs, has a straightforward, attractively contoured, plainchant-style melody, but the composer adorns it with imaginatively layered instrumental counterpoint in subsequent verses. “Christus Factus Est” has another clearly tonal melody, but the subtly dissonant leanings of the accompaniment form a painfully apt depiction of Christ on the cross.  Narucki’s performance of this quietly devastating number is a delicate marvel.”

“These songs are unfailingly compelling, whether the musical language is complex or seemingly simple… Christopher Kendall skillfully and sensitively leads the 21st Century Consort, which provides superb accompaniment.”

Opera News on Fire-Memory/River-Memory

I just heard about a review in Opera News of the Mendelssohn Club‘s Innova disc called  “Metamorphosis” that includes my Fire-Memory/River-Memory. If you subscribe, you can find it online – it was posted in October. Here is the discussion of F-M/R-M:

The third work, James Primosch’s Fire-Memory/River-Memory, from 1998, sets two poems by the British-born American poet Denise Levertov. Primosch ranges freely and effectively across the tonal spectrum, holding the listener in his emotional grip even when the harmonic language becomes harsh. The first poem, “What Were They Like?”, is a series of rhetorical questions and answers, posed to victims of the Vietnam War. Toward the end, a solo violin emerges from the choral texture with poignant beauty. The second poem, “Of Rivers” builds grandly and evokes nature’s majesty, as well as the divine, metaphoric ability of rivers to “remember.” This makes an effective counterweight to “What Were They Like?”, emphasizing that the horrors of war must not be forgotten.”

Pretty nice, huh? This for a disc that was named Disc of the Week by WQXR when it was released. Read more about the recording here, here and here. Thank you so much to the Mendelssohn Club and Alan Harler.