Catalogue p.2 WORKS FOR ORCH WITH VOICE/CHORUS

 SOLO VOICE AND ORCHESTRA

DAUGHTERS' LETTERS (1996) (Anne Stevenson) 22' 
solo sop – perc (1) – str 
Commissioned by Sinfonia 21 with funds from the Arts Council of England and support from Glaxo Wellcome.   Contemporary Music Network Tour, February 1997 

I  Marianne Chandler to her mother in New Orleans  LISTEN
II  Kathy Chattle, to her mother, from the Good Samaritan Hospital, New York LISTEN

1st perf: Valdine Anderson (soprano), Sinfonia 21, Martyn Brabbins (cond), St John’s Smith Square, London, 3 February 1997; 1st broadcast perf: same perfromers, BBC Radio3, 3 Feb, 1997. Contemporary Network Tour, February1997.
Pub. S&B.  Score and parts available for rental, ref. HL326 

To say these poems are poignant understates their absorbing effect, and in setting them to music Samuel has achieved a masterstroke of tracing their fluctuations of tone. They are basically complementary, but within them there are subtle shifts to which the music responds tellingly, and in this performance by the soprano Patricia Rozario they came over as taut, dramatic scenes with a palpable emotional punch.
                                                           Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, 11 February 2001 
                                                                                           
This deftly crafted work is a dramatic scena in contrasting parts, each setting a letter by a young American woman to her mother, as imagined by Anne Stevenson in her verse collection Correspondences. The first part, though musically bright and chattery, is a picture of early-19th-century moral sternness; the second is a disguised portrait of the distressed Sylvia Plath, disconsolate tom-toms here being the dominant percussion. Austin’s players and his impassioned soloist, Patricia Rozario, brought the novel conception vividly to life. 
                                                                           Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 3 June 2001
                                                                                             
 . . .  Daughters’ Letters delivered [sensitive word-setting and tonal and rhythmic variety] in abundance. The flighty ingenuous nature of Marianne Chandler, in the first letter, is immediately fixed in the wayward vocal line, set against the dazzling, excitable backdrop of chattering xylophone and pizzicato strings. The second letter (also fictitious) establishes the anguish of Kathy Chattle, whose brutal honesty about the downside of motherhood has landed her in an institution.                    Barry Millington, The Times, 7 February 1997

 Samuel's two quasi-recitative settings allowed the soprano more space.  The second piece especially, a song of despair from a young psychiatric patient, bulged with invention, yet never overwhelmed the poignant text.  
                                                         Rick Jones, Evening Standard, 2 February 1997 

Billed as the highlight of the festival, this concert didn’t disappoint. At the core was a performance of Rhian Samuel’s Daughters’ Letters. . . It proved a marvellous vehicle for Patricia Rozario. . . . Samuel has an acute sense of the dramatic, to which Rozario added substance with her power and her  flair for drama. 
                                                                 Hampstead and Highgate Express, 1 June, 2001

  

PATH (1995) (Anne Stevenson) 7' 
med voice – str 
Commissioned by Sinfonia 21 with funds from South East Arts 

1st perf: David James, countertenor, Sinfonia 21, Martyn Brabbins, conductor, Michelham Priory, East Sussex, 26 Aug.1995. 
Pub. S&B.  Score and parts available for rental, ref.  HL327 

. . . richly felt and realised. An eloquent line for countertenor soared over the resourceful series of sound images towards a definite ‘event’, sudden hushed fragments of Lully to encapsulate the poet’s evocation of what can never be.              
                                                          Robert Maycock, The Independent, 30 August 1995
  


CLYTEMNESTRA (1994) (after Aeschylus)  27' 
solo sop – 3.3.3.3. – 4.3.3.1. – bass guitar – timp – xyl – vib – mar – hp – perc(2) – st
Commissioned by the BBC

I  The Chain of Flame                                                       V Confession 
II  Lament for his Absence       LISTEN LISTEN           VI Defiance  LISTEN
III  Agamemnon’s Return -- IV The Deed   LISTEN          VII Epilogue: Dirge  

1st perf: Della Jones (soprano), BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Tadaaki Otaka (cond), Cardiff, 12 November 1994; 1st broadcast perf: same p[erfoermers, 5 February 1995 (BBC Radio 3).
Pub. S&B.  Score, vocal score and parts available for rental, ref HL328 

Clytemnestra has its roots in the emotional coflict of Greek drama, whose spirit it captures in a mode of address  that is forthright and suggests the narration of epic events. . . .  A large orchestra is employed, with a widespread and busy percussion section imaginatively used. . . . The work impresses by its informing practicality. Despite the  large instrumental forces, important words are rarely smothered by either volume or texture. . . . Samuel exhibits keen judgement of how far dynamics can be pushed without loss of impact. In the Lament it all becomes personal, perhaps the most effective stroke in the score.                              
                                                              Kenneth Loveland, Musical Opinion, Winter 1994
                                                                               
 . . . nothing less than a major work. . . .  There is high drama, brilliant orchestration, sustained intensity. The BBC NOW under Tadaaki Otaka produced a well-prepared account and the singing of soloist Della Jones brought this wonderful piece to vivid life.
                                                                         South Wales Echo, November 1994 

. . . a rich, substantial piece from a composer plainly at ease with both her material and her own voice. . . . the orchestra here in Bangor clearly relished its strong, colouristic writing and expressionist contours. In seven scenes, the vocal narrative and orchestral support alike were deftly succinct in portraying the agony, violence and grief of Aeschylus’ wronged yet ambivalent heroine. . . .  This was word-setting of the first order – and a vivid, powerful way to end a concert celebrating women whose creative endeavours would have been seen as a challenge to society itself not so very long ago.       
                                                          Steph Power, Wales Arts Review, 8 March, 2016



THE WHITE AMARYLLIS (1991) (May Sarton) 23' 
med voice – 3.3.3.2. – 4.3.3.1. – timp – perc (3) – str 
(No. 3, ‘Before Dawn’ was a winner in the National Orchestral Association [USA] Call for Scores, 1989)

I. Celebration – II The Snow Light  --  III Before Dawn LISTEN

1st perf, Mvt III only: Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano, National Orchestral Association (USA), Jorge Mester, cond, New York, 25 February 1989; 1st British perf, Mvt III: Jane Manning, soprano, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, Grant Llewelyn, cond, 21 February 1991 (BBC Radio 3); 1st perf, complete cycle: Jane Manning, soprano, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Mogrelia, cond, 17 August 1992 (BBC Radio 3).
Pub. S&B. Score, vocal score and parts available for rental, ref HL325 

[Before Dawn] is a more gently textured work, but a more emotionally powerful one. It traces the feeling of loss from numb disbelief to searing pain. The vocal setting is straightforward and melodic . . . The real power, though, is in the orchestral part, which reflects the shifting emotions with stark clarity. 
                                                   Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, 27 February 1989



INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY (1978) (William Wordsworth) 8' 
Solo ten, solo vln, ob, cl, hn, timp, str
Commissioned by the Missouri Music Teachers’ Association, USA, 1978 

1st USA perf: Willard Cobb, tenor, St Louis Conservatory Orchestra, Joel Revzen, cond, Branson, Missouri, 28 October 1978; 1st UK perf: Kenneth Woollam, tenor, University of Reading Symphony Orch, cond. Philip Hesketh, Reading University Great Hall, 1 December, 1993.
Pub. S&B. Score, vocal score and parts available for rental,  ref HL324 



4. CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA


A SONG FOR THE DIVINE MISS C (1986) (A.D. Hope et al) 15' 
SATB with solo sop & ten, orch. 5.2.2.2.-2.2.2.0.-timp-str. 

1st perf: Penelope Walmsley-Clark (soprano), Julian Pike (tenor), Reading University Choir and Orchestra conducted by the composer, Reading Universtiy Great Hall, 14 March 1987.  
Score and parts available for rental, S&B ref. HL329 

Samuel’s work opens with a colourful, almost cinematic, orchestral introduction and a whispered spoken chorus . . Penelope Walmsley-Clark and Julian Pike gave convincing renditions of the disturbing words, while the orchestra coped excellently with the adventurous modern sounds of the composer.  This was an excellent work, skilfully crafted and fascinatingly scored.  It deserves regular performance. . . . 
                                                                     Reading Evening Post, 18 March 1987



LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI (1982, rev. 1987) (John Keats) 14' 
SATB with orch. 2.2.2.2. – 2.0.0.0. – timp – cel – perc(2) – hp – str 
Joint winner, Rudolph Nissim Award, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, 1983 

1st USA perf: St Louis Conservatory of Music Chorus and Orchestra, Richard Holmes (cond), St Louis Conservatory of Music, St Louis, Missouri, April 1983; 1st UK perf (rev. version): Reading University Choir and Symphony Orchestra, cond. the composer, 9 March, 1991.
Score, vocal scores and parts available for rental, S&B ref HL321 

This is well-integrated, well-shaped music, sensitively tuned to the atmosphere of the poetry that inspired it.
                                 James Wierzbicki, St Louis Globe-Democrat, 2 May 1983