Release Date: April 13, 2018
Catalog #: NV6153
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Vocal Music
Piano
Voice

The Life Before Us

Allan Crossman composer
John G. Bilotta composer

Cass Panuska soprano
Megan Stetson mezzo-soprano
Justin Marsh tenor
Andrew R. White baritone
Richard Mix bass
Allan Crossman piano
Hadley McCarroll piano
Karolina Rojahn piano
Keisuke Nakagoshi piano

Bearing musical witness to the versatile talents of two acclaimed northern California-based composers, THE LIFE BEFORE US combines works from John G. Bilotta and Allan Crossman.

Bilotta’s cycle of Yeats Songs, performed by baritone Andrew R. White, highlights five of the poet’s shorter lyrics in predominantly bi-tonal or atonal settings. His collection of Renaissance Songs is based on the work of several Elizabethan poets, including John Donne and Thomas Lodge (whose poem “Rosalynde” was the source of Shakespeare’s As You Like It). They’re brilliantly delivered by tenor Justin Marsh.

Bilotta draws on two American poets, Carl Sandburg and Edna St. Vincent Millay, for “Lost” and “Prayer to Persephone,” two songs united by a single poetic theme and elegantly performed by soprano Cass Panuska accompanied by pianist Hadley McCarroll, who are also featured on The Hippocampus’ Monologue, the closing aria from the first act of Bilotta’s opera Rosetta’s Stone.

Allan Crossman’s ten songs on THE LIFE BEFORE US include four inspired by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca and an international array of others: from Ireland (James Joyce), Germany (Hermann Claudius and Ricarda Huch), Russia (Alexander Scriabin), and America (Louis Phillips), performed by mezzo-soprano Megan Stetson and bass Richard Mix, with the composer himself at the piano.

Crossman’s three-movement Sonata fLux, with pianist Keisuke Nakagoshi, flows from the energetic “Moto Atlantico” through the vibrating “fLight of the Firefly” to the swirling fluidity of “Rondo a Pollock” – inspired, as its title suggests, by Jackson Pollock’s ‘action painting’ technique – and brings the eclectic program to an impressive conclusion.

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Artist Information

Allan Crossman

Composer

Allan Crossman has had the great pleasure to write for soloists and ensembles worldwide, including many commissions and awards. Millennium Overture appeared on the eponymous GRAMMY-nominated album from North/South Consonance; Music for Human Choir shared Top Honors at the Waging Peace Through Singing Festival in Oregon; Flyer, for cello solo and string orchestra, was written in 2003 for the centenary of the first Wright Brothers flight and premiered/recorded by the North/South Chamber Orchestra (NYC) under Max Lifchitz, with cellist Nina Flyer.

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John G. Bilotta

Composer

John G. Bilotta was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, but has spent most his life in the San Francisco Bay Area having attended the University of California at Berkeley and, later, the San Francisco Music and Arts Institute where he studied composition with Frederick Saunders.

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Karolina Rojahn

Pianist

Karolina Rojahn is a Los Angeles based pianist who has dedicated the last decade of her career to premiering and recording contemporary music repertoire. She has premiered over a hundred new works and collaborated with various classical music labels, most notably Naxos, having released over 43 recordings of chamber and solo piano music, including 5 piano concertos written specifically for her.

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