Release Date: April 14, 2015
Catalog #: NV5996
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music

Full Fathom Five

Joseph Summer composer

Arcadia Players | Ian Watson conductor
Emily Jaworski mezzo-soprano; Andrea Chenoweth soprano; Lisa Perry soprano;
Neal Ferreira tenor; Justin Vickers tenor; Katarzyna Bryla viola; Peter Kibbe cello;
Stephanie Ray flute; Gleb Kanasevich clarinet; Stephen Hammer oboe;
R. Kent Cook harpsichord; Victor Cayres de Mendonça piano; Miroslav Sekera piano

FULL FATHOM FIVE, the fifth offering in Navona Records’ The Shakespeare Concerts Series, takes the story of The Tempest, from the shipwrecked crew and magical spirits to the imprisoned servants and their questions of identity, and presents a variety of works from the 18th to the 21st centuries that set texts and depict themes from Shakespeare’s play.

Regarding this collection, executive director and composer Joseph Summer says, “We are able to hear The Tempest from the very different perspective of six very different composers. As we do, we can hear their reflection on that sinking ship, on sojourners transformed from men to coral.” From the intense and dramatic imagery of Beethoven’s The Tempest to the angular arias of Stravinsky’s Three Songs from William Shakespeare to the sorrowful and swaying sounds of Ives’ A Sea Dirge, these works show the significant influence of The Tempest on composers of the past.

The contemporary works by Summer, from his collection of Shakespearean-themed music, Oxford Songs, explore themes about Ariel, the aerial spirit, as well as the self-conscious characters of Miranda and Caliban. Pieces by Summer, Tippett, Ives, and Stravinsky set text from Ariel’s famed “Full Fathom Five,” a lyrical and ironic song that acknowledges the sea-changes and turbulent themes present in The Tempest.


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Artist Information

Joseph Summer


Joseph Summer began playing French horn at the age of 7. While attending the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina at age 14 he studied composition with the eminent Czech composer Karel Husa. At age 15 he was accepted at Oberlin Conservatory, studied with Richard Hoffmann, Schönberg’s amanuensis, and graduated with a B.M. in Music Composition in 1976. Recruited by Robert Page, Dean of the Music Department at Carnegie Mellon University, Summer taught music theory at CMU before leaving to pursue composition full time.