ORPHEUS WITH HIS LUTE MADE TREES
On the fourth offering in Navona Records’ The Shakespeare Concerts Series, ORPHEUS WITH HIS LUTE MADE TREES, executive director and composer Joseph Summer presents original works and pieces by composers from the 18th through the 21st centuries that celebrate the myth of Orpheus.
A character whose fame goes back to Ovid’s The Metamorphoses, a collection that dramatically influenced Shakespeare’s writing, Orpheus is a representation of the poet, composer, and performer. More than settings of texts about the Greek mythological character, these works illustrate the connection between the three aspects of Orpheus. Summer’s Sonata for Violin and Voice is, as the composer states, “about itself, about the musicians, and about the composer” while his On the Death of Phillips mourns the passing of a 16th-century lutenist by his beloved instrument.
Highlighting the relationship between the performer and the instrument, Karol Szymanowski’s Mythes is an early 20th-century work that explores previously underutilized aspects of the violin’s capabilities, while presenting imagery from Greek mythology. Not only do the works of Summer, Thomas Chilcot, and Ralph Vaughan Williams set the text of Shakespeare’s poem Orpheus with his lute made trees, this collection shows how music brings into unison the performer, poet, composer, and listener.
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