New Delos recording, Colors of Feelings, features three song cycles from composer Philip Lasser. Before the release of this new CD, we wanted to give you a brief introduction to each of these works. Feel free to read and listen along via the embedded Spotify player:
In Colors of Feelings (2009)
“In Colors of Feelings” is a song-cycle on four poems by Tennessean poet Wynelle Ann Carson (1959-1996), who died at the young age of 37 after a lifelong struggle with the degenerative disease of muscular dystrophy. Her gifts as a writer and poet were apparent from an early age, and she used them tirelessly throughout her short, but inspiring life to serve both her remarkable literary art and to bring public attention to the plight of the handicapped.
Composer Philip Lasser found her poetry to be a profound revelation. Calling Carson a “modern-day Emily Dickinson,” he further wrote, “There could not be for me a more difficult poetic language to set: short, intense poems flitting rapidly through vivid images, emotional states and tones; each poem traveling exceedingly far in surprisingly few words. Each poem, like a perfume, an intense distillation of a complex life made up of inner optimism, depth and power … The challenge of setting these poems soon became an obsession for me; then a profound learning experience. My musical language slowly transformed itself to adapt to her rhythm, her ‘turn on a dime’ ideas, her voice. I witnessed a change in what I could hear as possible. What a rare and precious experience to discover a new sound to one’s own voice through the power of another’s poetic talent.”
The cycle was written for and commissioned by its performer here, soprano Susanna Phillips, who has personal ties to the Carson family; the listener will thus have the rare opportunity to savor the fruits of a unique and heartfelt collaboration.