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Orpheus with his lute

author of text
Henry VIII Act 3, scene 1

It has been my good fortune to know many composers and authors whose works I have sung throughout my career. Many are represented on this disc. William Schuman was a good friend of mine. He was a gentleman of such geniality and warmth that it was always a pleasure to be in his company. His 1945 setting of Shakespeare’s Orpheus with his lute is spellbinding. With spare modal harmonies—‘plucked’, as it were, on the piano—Schuman conjures up the famous musician of myth and the instrument with which he transfixed nature. For me, this piece has a mysterious, other-wordly quality that is unique in twentieth-century song. Schuman was President of the Juilliard School from 1945 to 1962, and the President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts from 1962 to 1969. I was touched when Bill asked me in 1985 to sing for his seventy-fifth birthday celebration at Lincoln Center.

from notes by Robert White © 1997


Sure on this shining night
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Track 4 on CDA66920 [2'00] Last few CD copies remaining

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