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 Amnon Wolman Wing

"Thomas And Beulah" (A Song Cycle by Rita Dove and Amnon Wolman)
Poem by Rita Dove Electronic Music By Amnon Wolman
Review by:
Mountman

First off, for those that donít know, a song cycle is a series of songs that tell a story or have a unifying theme.

Thomas and Beulah is not just a song cycle, but also a theater song cycle. Using Rita Doveís 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning book of poetry of the same name. The book is a collection of 44 poems telling the story of the lives of her grandparents, African-Americans who met and lived in Ohio at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Together with Cynthia Maymon, Soprano, Ursula Oppens, Piano and Amnon Wolman, Electronics, the poems and the lives of Thomas and Beulah are brought to life.

The CD also includes a multi-media enhanced CD. You can see the performance of the song cycle. With this CD you can see exactly as it was performed. It gives you a feel for the actual performance. In watching the multi-media presentation you see that the song-cycle is performed in-the-round. The pianist and the singer are in the center with the light focused on them in the opening. As the song-cycle progresses scrims are brought down between the audiences dividing them into 6 sections. The scrims are lit at different times during the performance making them opaque. This gives the section of the audience the feel that they are the only ones the performance is for them. While the other sections of the audience view the lit section as the backdrop for the section of music. At the same time the speakers are synchronized with the lights to bring music out of the lit section.

Listening to just the CD doesnít do the piece justice. I would love to see the performance itself.

Learn more about the presentation, authors, and getting your own copy at their website!

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