Leo Smit: Song Cycles
Leo Smit's magnum opus was his The Ecstatic Pilgrimage, settings of 76 Emily Dickinson poems, grouped into 6 cycles. This CD presents the first recording of the two largest cycles, Beyond Circumference (cycle 4) and The Marigold Heart (cycle 3), comprising 33 songs. In addition, one of Smit's last works, Three Poems of Marcia Willieme, is also heard here. Writing about The Ecstatic Pilgrimage, annotator Nils Vigeland says the songs "represent an extraordinary response to the poetry itself but also a declaration of personal affinity by the composer towards the poet. Leo referred to the composing of these songs as the happiest time in his creative life. In listening to them one is struck by their consistency. They get right to the text. It isn't that the words aren't illustrated or inflected, but there is something else pushing the music forward. The songs are about the satisfaction of finding the notes in the words." Marcia Willieme (1936-86) was the daughter of the distinguished philosopher, James Burnham, and met Leo Smit in the 80s. Smit's sensitive settings are alternately ebullient and introspective, reflecting the scope of Willieme's very personal settings. Performed by soprano Georgine Resick and pianist Warren Jones, this disc is the most recent of the duos recordings for BRIDGE.
“Leo Smit’s music deserves greater currency, and it is typical of the enterprising label Bridge Records to do the honors. This disc of song cycles reveals just how skillful a composer Smit really was.” - Fanfare
Cycle 4, Beyond Circumference (1989) (18 Songs about Death, Faith and Immortality) Texts by Emily Dickinson
Cycle 3, The Marigold Heart (1989) (15 Songs about Love, Loss and Renunciation) Texts by Emily Dickinson
Three Poems of Marcia Willieme (1997)
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