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Kara Cornell & Michael Clement | Someday Silk: The Music of Frederic Sharaf

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Someday Silk: The Music of Frederic Sharaf

by Kara Cornell & Michael Clement

Frederic Sharaf's moving love ballads and art songs are presented here in an expert interpretation. This intimate live recording includes the world premieres of seven of Sharaf's works, as well as his settings of the poetry of Robert Lowell.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Anniversary
8:08 $0.99
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2. Give Me Time to Pray for Peace
6:38 $0.99
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3. Three Settings from Imitations By Robert Lowell: 1. "The Injured Moon"
2:05 $0.99
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4. Three Settings from Imitations By Robert Lowell: 2. "The Voyage"
2:09 $0.99
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5. Three Settings from Imitations By Robert Lowell: 3. "Meditation"
2:34 $0.99
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6. Love Songs: Senseless Time
1:44 $0.99
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7. Love Songs: Whatcha Gonna Do Tomorrow?
2:22 $0.99
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8. Love Songs: Forgotten Sounds
2:45 $0.99
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9. Love Songs: Waitin' Low
2:14 $0.99
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10. Love Songs: Coming Back to You
2:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mezzo-soprano Kara Cornell and pianist Michael Clement offer a lively interpretation of Frederic Sharaf's music in this intimate recital, shortly following the composer's 80th birthday. The recital includes the world premieres of seven of Sharaf's works: "The Anniversary," "Give Me Time to Pray for Peace," and the five Love Songs. In addition, Cornell and Clement present Sharaf's "Three Settings from Imitations by Robert Lowell" with nuanced and exciting attention to the poetry.

Notes on the individual works:

The Anniversary (text by John Donne)
John Donne may be most widely recognized today as the author who furnished Ernest Hemingway with the title for a novel: “...and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The line occurs in a religious “Meditation” Donne wrote in 1623 when he was an Anglican Priest and Dean of St. Paul’s cathedral in London.
Many years before he became a priest, however, Donne (1572–1631) was well known in literary and fashionable circles in London as a brilliant and ambitious young man-about-town, the author of witty and strikingly new poetry on love and other subjects, a law student, a foreign traveller, and a participant in military expeditions under the Earl of Essex. Donne had fine prospects for a career at court or as a diplomat when, in the late 1590s, he was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal.

Among those Donne met in the rarified social circle to which he now belonged was Anne More, a niece of Lady Egerton’s and daughter of the Lieutenant of the Tower of London. John and Anne fell in love and were secretly married in December of 1601. As the couple must have anticipated, since Donne’s family, though well-off, were not aristocratic and the young man had already run through the considerable fortune inherited from his father, Anne’s family were furious when they learned of the marriage. They even had Donne jailed for a brief period. Until 1609, Anne’s father refused to pay her dowry, and, in the interim, Donne’s fast-growing family got by on some legal work he did and, mainly, thanks to support from a cousin of Anne’s. In 1615, Donne was ordained as a priest.

Despite all the worldly difficulties at the time when it was written, “The Anniversary” leaves no room for doubt that the Donnes found great joy in one another. The poem celebrates the completion of their first year of marriage and looks forward to many more. Acknowledging the fact that someday death must part them as a couple, it anticipates an ultimate reunion in heaven. The music describes their love as a celebration for the status of kings, a counterpoint blessing to be designed in heaven. This composition has used long-phrased rhapsodic vocal lines, punctuated with occasional dissonance to emphasize poetic meaning.

This piece is dedicated to Joan L. Muellner.


Give Me Time to Pray for Peace
Inspired as a memorial to those who tragically lost their lives, their loved ones, and those who were injured at the Boston Marathon in April 2013, this piece honors the best qualities of humankind and expresses hope for a better future. It is amply described in the Confiteor of the Requiem Mass, “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” [Grant them eternal rest O Lord] and “Ideo precor te, ora pro me” [Therefore, I beseech you, pray for me].

A young woman, as she prepares to die, asks God for time to pray, not only for those good souls who offered their supplications for her recovery, and for the other victims of this brutal and senseless crime, but also for mercy for the perpetrators, that anger and revenge should not add to the Earth's burden of suffering and sorrow. This is a tribute to her courage and compassion and a fervent plea for peace in a troubled world.


Three Settings from "Imitations" by Robert Lowell
Robert Lowell was an American poet of singular achievement, who through interpretations and translations created a broad spectrum of inspired work. Three of his more compelling poems, "The Injured Moon," "The Voyage," and "Mediation," reflect Lowell's search for his inner self, the need to resolve his chaotic and troubled existence. The mid-centruy zeitgeist commonly produced poets who used non-English writers as a medium for their own work, e.g. Baudelaire, Pasternak, and Heine. As an interpreter of foreign poets, Lowell put little stress on literal meaning, as it obscured the real "tone" of poetry. These settings are atonal musically, but frequent appoggiaturas suggest the resolution of inner conflict in Lowell's life.


Love Songs
A tribute to my wife, in memoriam, and to all those who have helped me to express my innermost feelings through music. — F.S.


Frederic Sharaf studied pianoforte with Luise Vosgerchian at Harvard. Later, he received his B.A. from Cornell, where he studied composition with Karel Husa, and his M.A. in composition at Stanford, where he studied with Humphrey Searle. He also received special instruction in species counterpoint from Hugo Norden in Boston, and studied further composition techniques with Ludmila Ulehla at the Manhattan School of Music.

Frederic's work has been performed at the Loeb Theatre at Harvard, his 2nd String Quartet at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his 1st String Quartet at Cornell and Stanford. His publisher, Carl Fischer, LLC, recently released his “Three Settings from Imitations by Robert Lowell.” His wife, Jane, premiered these settings in 1971. As a result, she was the recipient of a competitive award that allowed her to study at Yale in a summer program. Other works of his are slated to be published this year.

He has received significant tutelage and encouragement throughout the years from Olga Koussevitzky, Morton Gould, Robert Russell Bennett, and many others. Frederic extends his thanks to all those who have nurtured him in his music career.

This live recording was made on July 12, 2014 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Albany, NY.

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