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Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson | Michael Linton: Carmina Catulli

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Michael Linton: Carmina Catulli

by Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson

The furious, erotic, and controversial Roman poetry of Catullus is brought to life by the electrifying performance of world-renowned baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer and pianist Jason Paul Peterson in this new setting by composer Michael Linton.
Genre: Classical: Art songs
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Carmina Catulli: 1. Dianae Sumus in Fide
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
8:31 $1.29
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2. Carmina Catulli: 2. Vivamus Mea Lesbia
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
6:38 $1.29
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3. Carmina Catulli: 3. Passer, Deliciae Mea Puellae
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
4:02 $1.29
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4. Carmina Catulli: 4. Quaeris, Quot Mihi Basiationes
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
3:58 $1.29
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5. Carmina Catulli: 5. Iam Ver Egelidos Refert Tepores
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
3:02 $1.29
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6. Carmina Catulli: 6. Amabo, Mea Dulcis Ipstilla
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
3:05 $1.29
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7. Carmina Catulli: 7. Nulla Potest Mulier
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
5:37 $1.29
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8. Carmina Catulli: 8. Hunc Lucum Tibi Dedico
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
5:26 $1.29
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9. Carmina Catulli: 9. Mellitos Oculos Tuos, Iuuenti
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
4:30 $1.29
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10. Carmina Catulli: 10. O Rem Ridiculam
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
1:54 $1.29
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11. Carmina Catulli: 11. Nulli Se Dicit Mulier
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
1:22 $1.29
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12. Carmina Catulli: 12. Multas Per Gentes
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
5:37 $1.29
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13. Carmina Catulli: 13. Num Te Leanea & Huc Est Mens Deducta
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
3:02 $1.29
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14. Carmina Catulli: 14. Minister Uetuli Puer Falerni
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
2:57 $1.29
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15. Carmina Catulli: 15. Incumdum, Mea Vita
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
3:14 $1.29
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16. Carmina Catulli: 16. Pedicabo Ego Uos Et Irrumabo
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
2:10 $1.29
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17. Carmina Catulli: 17. Odi Et Amo
Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Jason Paul Peterson
4:09 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The furious, erotic, and controversial Roman poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus has been set in a brilliant new song cycle by award-winning composer Michael Linton.

The 17 movement "Carmina Catulli" spans the gamut of human emotion. From the lust driven ‘Vivamus mea Lesbia’ to the tragic "Multas per gentes", the infamous ‘Pedicabo’, and the heart-rending "Odi et amo", these poems are brought to life by the electrifying performance of world-renowned French baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer and American pianist Jason Paul Peterson.

Although sung in Latin, several of the Catullus texts approach issues of sexuality with a pagan Roman frankness which some of the public might find objectionable.  This song cycle is intended for mature audiences.

Gaius Quintus Valerius Catullus was born in Verona around 84 BCE and died in Rome thirty years later. The 116 Latin poems, or carmina, are regarded as some of the most formally elegant, psychologically probing, and sexually explicit poetry ever written and have been admired by poets from Martial (born in Rome roughly two generations after Catullus) to W.B. Yeats.

Linton's Carmina Catulli grew out a set of four Catullus songs premiered by New York mezzo-soprano Kathleen Shimeta at the July 1995 meeting of the National Association of Teachers of Singing convention in Seattle. Those four songs were revised and the set expanded into the present collection in 2011 (Linton recast the set for baritone believing, perhaps quaintly, that the obscene nature of some of the additional songs were inappropriate for a lady singer). The new Carmina Catulli
was premiered by Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Jason Paul Peterson at the Weill Recital Hall at New York's Carnegie Hall on March 3, 2014.

The 18 poems and fragments Linton assembled into his Carmina Catulli are unlike Dichterliebe in that they do not make up a chronological narrative, instead they unfold the character of a Roman who is richly humane: overflowing with the passions of sex and anger, courageous in the face of slander, faithful to a brother, stoic before death, and tender in the arms of a lover yet ultimately racked by life's vortices and helpless before them.

Linton grouped his selections into two parts, each beginning with an invocation. No. 1, "Dianae sumus in fide," is a consecration to the chaste and icy Diana while No. 8, "Hunc lucum tibi," is a paean to the equally unchaste and hot Pirapus. Their bell and drum-like accompaniments are oblique references to I Corinthians 13:1, where many scholars suspect that Paul's ". . . . I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal" is the apostle's deprecatory reference to the sounds of pagan liturgies (although the fortissimo, hammer-chords in No 8 reference the spasms of male organism as well, which is the liturgy of Pirapus) . Both of these invocations are followed by two of Catullus most unabashedly erotic poems: No. 2, "Vivamus mea Lesbia", and "Mellitos oculos tuos Iuenti." "Mellitos" is a tender, post-coital reverie (addressed to a young man) while "Vivamus" finds the poet almost mad with desire (addressed to Lesbia, Catullus' fickle yet intoxicating mistress).

No. 3, "Passier, deliciae meae puella" is one of Catullus' most famous poems and the poet's reference to the sparrow calls for Messiaenish figurations in the piano. While the text is full of sexual double meanings, the setting is light and flirtatious. "Quaeris quot mihi basiatonis", No. 4, returns to the spirit of song No. 2 but without its animalistic, breathless insistence. Because songs Nos. 5 and 7 are tonal and strophic they provide musical respites from the largely through-composed and dissonant movements surrounding them. While ostensibly about spring, "Iam ver egelidos refert tepores" is really about the deep bonds of friendship while "Nulla potest mulier tantum" is a rumination upon a lover's faithlessness.

Nos. 10 and 11 are paired opposites. "O rem ridiculam" is an obscene joke, coarse and vulgar while the following "Nulli se dicit" is elegant and nuanced. Linton takes its harmonic figuration from the final moments of the trezettino "Soave il vento" from the first act of Mozart's Cosi fan tutti. Like that trezettino's final line, sung by the cynical Don Alfonso (and a melody quoted by the singer in the song's final measures), Catullus' poem speaks of the fickleness of women.

Many writers have commented on the depth of feeling in "Multas per gentes", No. 12, where Catullus recounts his journey to honor his brother's grave. Linton sets the text above a chaconne with the baritone's line becoming increasingly florid and sorrowful with each repetition of the chaconne that, like fate and death itself, is inflexible and inviolate. The song culminates in a desperate scream of grief ("frater!"), which is answered by prolonged silence. Collecting himself, the singer offers his final, stoic respects in the face of the existential void. No 13 is made of two abutted fragments, "Nun te leanea montibus Libystinis" and "Huc est mens deducta tue mea," two songs that are increasingly bitter denunciations of both Lesbia's coldness and the poet's pathological obsession with her. They are followed immediately by the drinking song "Minister uetuli puer Falerni" (No. 14).

No 15, "Incumdum, mea vita" is a repetition of the music of No.7, but transposed down a step, darkening the sound. Erotic love can mature into friendship (what Aristotle calls "one mind, two bodies"), and the poet here hopes that his love can grow into that kind of "eternal" relationship. Yet the character of the setting is ironic, the hope is there but the reality isn't.

No. 16, "Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo," is infamous as perhaps the most obscene poem in any language yet instead of focusing on Catullus' obscenities Linton's setting emphasizes the ferocity of the poet's defense of his life as an artist. It is a artist's anthem of volcanic defiance before beastial detractors. The melody
is one of the most memorial tunes in the Carmina, Linton echoing Catullus' brutal invective by setting it to a tune that is seared on his hearers' memories.

No. 17, "Odi et amo", is one of the most famous poems in classical literature. Here it serves as a précis of the poet's condition: deeply humane, passionate, seeking to fully taste all the pleasures and sorrows of life but utterly bifurcated, split, and broken. He loves, he hates, and his life (in A.Z. Foreman's translation) a crucifixion. Linton's song is more layered than the simple homophonic and lyric setting initially suggests. Its opening, both in melodic content and texture, references the central portion of his Second Cantata's last movement ("Christmas") where the melody carries the text by Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), "One born in a manager." This in turn references the final movement of Messiaen's 1941 "Quartet for the End of Time", Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus. These cascading references act as a sibyllic commentary on the Carmina, suggesting a transcendence that hovers, waiting, outside of poet's world.

The movements' generic descriptions are Linton's additions. They are mostly forms of the troubadours and trouvères and while certainly not directly related to Catullus' poetry they both testify to the continuing nature of the Roman's themes and illuminate some of the ways Linton set them. A "sequidilla" (No. 3) is an ancient Castillian dance, typically in triple meter (perhaps the most famous is in Act I of Carmen, where Carmen sings it in an attempt to seduce Don Jose. Here it is a similar song of seduction). A "canso" (No.4) was the troubadour's most popular form of love song and the "roundel" (or "rondeau") one of the most important 12/13th Century forms (No. 5). A "salut d'amour" is an Occitan lyric poem in the form of a letter from one lover to another (No.15). A "serena" (No.2) is a the song of a lover waiting impatiently for the evening when he can consummate his love while an"alba" is a troubadour parting song, dealing with the arrival of the dawn and the painful separation it imposes upon lovers (No.9). A "maldid-comiat" is a troubadour or Catalan song complaining about a lady's behavior and character (Nos. 7 & 13). A "tenso" is a troubadour song in the form of a debate (No.11). A "gap" (No.16) is a troubadour-boasting song, frequently presented as a challenge while a "planh" is a troubadour lament, usually on the death of an important figure (No. 12). An "envoi" is a troubadour short poem, usually just one stanza, that stands at the close of a longer work and comments on it (No.17).

The Carmina Catulli is dedicated to Cody Franchetti.

Bass-baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer is being called one of the finest singers of his generation. He has sung with the DNO in Amsterdam, (as Albert in La Juive by Fromental Halevy) and the Opéra Comique in Paris (as Claudio in Béatrice et Bénédict by Hector Berlioz). He also appeared as Schaunard in La Bohème at the Komische Oper in Berlin, a part which he had already played in the course of the 2008-2009 season. In the 2010-2011season he made his Paris Opera stage debut by appearing as Harlekin in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at the Opéra Bastille, where he is already re-engaged for roles in future seasons in Arabella, The Merry Widow and Carmen. He sang the role of Figaro in Nozze di Figaro in Los Angeles under direction of Gustavo Dudamel. In 2012 he created the role of Rousseau in the premiere of Philippe Fénelon's opera JJR citoyen de Genève, a work commissioned in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the philosopher's birth and in 2013 he sang the role of Dandini in La Cenerentola in Strasbourg. He performed the role of Jupiter in Rameau's Platée at the Opéra Comique. During Glyndebourne's 2014 season he performed the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni. After having attended the Conservatory in Clermont-Ferrand (as a prize winning clarinetist), Crossley-Mercer went on to the rigorous three-year program at the Center for Baroque Music at Versailles (a program that included extensive training in baroque dance as well as music) and then to the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He maintains residences in both Paris and Berlin.


American pianist Jason Paul Peterson has captivated audiences around the world in solo and collaborative performances in Germany, France, Austria, Mexico, England, Slovenia, and the United States. The Leipziger Volkszeitung in Germany referred to a recent recital as "a piano concert of a completely special sort... absolutely an exquisite experience." The Milwaukee Journal described Peterson as "a national phenomenon" and Polonaise Magazine praised him as a musician of "technical brilliancy who conveyed all the nuances in performance." Dr. Peterson was awarded a grant from the Chopin Foundation of the United States, Inc., and subsequently became the first-ever four-time recipient of the award. He is the winner of the 2006 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, the only American finalist in the 2001 Grace Welsh International Prize for Piano, and in 2007 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for study at the Franz Liszt Academy in Weimar, Germany. Most recently, he has been awarded grants from the Aargauer Kuratorium, the Peter Mieg Foundation, the Werner Wehrli Foundation, and the cities of Ennetbaden and Baden for the performance of Swiss piano music (in 2015 he will return to Weill Hall to perform Swiss piano music in a recital sponsored by the Swiss government). His latest CD was released December 2011 on the Sospiro label. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Music degree with high distinction from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Peabody Conservatory, where he held an assistantship in piano teaching. Principal teachers include Natalya Antonova, Anton Nel, Alexander Shtarkman, and Grigory Gruzman. He currently resides near Zurich, Switzerland.

Composer Michael Linton teaches music theory (and some occasional history) to first and second year students at Middle Tennessee State University. Before coming to MTSU Linton taught at universities in Connecticut and Minnesota and received his training at Wheaton College (Illinois), the University of Cincinnati, Yale, and New York University, having studied with composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Lukas Foss, John Gilbert, T. Scott Huston and Bruce MacCombie. Linton, whose writings have appeared in the journal First Things, The Weekly Standard, and The Wall Street Journal, has twice held fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is one of the founding members of Refinersfire, LLC and much of his music as well as many of his writings can be found on the company's web site. The Carmina Catulli is the centerpiece of a triptych of works devoted to the greatest poets of the Latin, English, and Near Eastern worlds, the first being a setting of 21 of Shakespeare's sonnets for unaccompanied soprano and the third a setting of ghazals of Hafiz for baritone, soprano and orchestra, translated from the Persian by Reza Ordoubadian. A native of California, Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with his wife Janet, their three daughters and miscellaneous stay animals.

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