REFINERSFIRE presents two premieres
at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall
March 3, 2014 8:00 PM
Two song cycles to poems by the contemporary Italian/American Cody Franchetti and the ancient Roman poet Catullus will be premiered at the Weill Recital Hall in New York City’s Carnegie Hall March 3, 2014. The event will also be the first appearance in New York of the French bass-baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer. The songs are the works of Michael Linton, a prize-winning composer based in Tennessee.
Cody Franchetti has established himself as a historian, publishing a number of articles in juried scholarly journals on literary criticism, the philosophy of history, and topics ranging from Frederick the Great to 18th-century oratorio texts. The “Seven Franchetti Songs” is the first public presentation of his highly striking original poetry and translations (from the Italian and ancient Greek).
They will be premiered by tenor H. Stephen Smith, accompanied by David See at the piano. Smith was last in New York when he appeared as Don Jose in the Swedish Folk Opera’s production of “Carmen” at BAM, an insightful characterization the New York Times praised for its “power and finesse.”
Bass-baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer is being called one of the finest singers of his generation. In the 2013-14 season he performs operatic roles in Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Vienna, and Paris, as well as presenting solo recitals in Moscow and at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. His repertory ranges from Rameau, through Rossini and Brahms and to premiers of 21st Century works.
He is accompanied in the Carmina Catulli by pianist Jason Paul Peterson. An American now living in Switzerland, Peterson won the 2006 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition and was the only American finalist in the 2001 Grace Welsh International Prize for Piano. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, the University of Texas at Austin, and received his DMA from Peabody.
Composer Michael Linton’s music is notorious for its emotional ferocity and extraordinary technical difficulty. When shown the score to his 2nd Cantata while he was a student at Yale, soprano Phyllis Curtain doubted anyone would ever be able to perform it. It was premiered by Kathy Shimeta at the Merkin Hall several years later in a program sponsored by New York University. Wendy White’s recording of the piece was released in 2008. The “Seven Franchetti Songs” and the “Carmina Catulli” are typical of Linton’s work in the technical demands the music places on the performers and the breadth of the emotional life they are required to express.
Although sung in Latin, the Catullus texts approach issues of sexuality with a pagan Roman frankness which some of the public might find objectionable. They are intended for mature audiences.