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Reference Recordings is proud to present a World Première recording of MASON BATES: Children of Adam, songs of creation—commissioned by the Richmond Symphony—coupled with RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Dona nobis pacem. These pieces both draw inspiration from Walt Whitman’s poetry and this release celebrates his bicentennial (born 1819). Children of Adam is a collection of exuberant celebrations of creation, from American poets to sacred and Native American texts. The title comes from a Whitman poem that appears throughout the work in the form of brief “fanfare intermezzos.” Whitman’s celebrations of sensuality, considered provocative at the time, explore the connection of the body and the soul. Between these choral fanfares, each movement of the work offers a different perspective on creation.
These works are brilliantly performed by the Richmond Symphony conducted by Steven Smith, and the Richmond Symphony Chorus, Erin R. Freeman, Director. Solo performers on the Vaughan Williams are Michelle Areyzaga, soprano, and Kevin Deas, bassbaritone. Recorded live at the Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond Virginia; engineered by Ed Thompson; and produced by Ed Thompson, Victor and Marina A. Ledin.
Recently named the most-performed composer of his generation and the 2018 Composer of the Year by Musical America, Mason Bates serves as the first composerinresidence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Championed by renowned conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leonard Slatkin, his symphonic work has received widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds, and his opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, won a GRAMMY® Award for “Best Opera Recording.” As both a DJ and a curator, he has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his former residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or through his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which transforms commercial clubs into exciting hybrid musical events. He has also composed for films, including Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts.
The Richmond Symphony, conducted by Steven Smith, is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice
Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
|I. Walt Whitman, ''From Pent-Up Aching Rivers'' from Children of Adam|
|II. Psalms 144 & 128|
|III. Walt Whitman, ''I Sing the Body Electric'' from Children of Adam|
|IV. Tolepe Menenak (''Turtle Island''), from the Mataponi Indians of Virginia|
|V. Carl Sandburg ''Prayers of Steel'' & ''Smoke and Steel''|
|VI. from The Book of Genesis|
|VII. Walt Whitman, 'To the Garden, the World' from Children of Adam|
|Beat! beat! drums|
|Dirge for Two Veterans|
|The Angel of Death|
|O man greatly beloved|