FEATURING A READING OF DAVID EAGLEMAN’S STORY THE FOUNDING MOTHERS
Anthony Brandt composer
Libretti by David Eagleman & Neena Beber
Karol Bennett soprano
Liam Bonner baritone
Del Sol String Quartet | Jerry Hou conductor
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra | Alastair Willis conductor
Multi-award-winning composer Anthony Brandt makes his Navona Records debut with MATERNITY / ULYSSES, HOME. The album includes two very distinct compositions with equally distinct inspirations.
Maternity for soprano and chamber orchestra is based on neuroscientist David Eagleman’s short story “The Founding Mothers,” published in Slate Magazine on Mother’s Day, 2010. Eagleman reads the complete story on the album, which traces a maternal line back through history. In the space of seventeen minutes, the composition touches on the lives of twenty-one mothers spread across millions of years of history. Brandt’s setting begins with a fragment of a lullaby sung to a child; as the piece progresses, that lullaby becomes more and more distorted as the evolutionary chain rewinds to early humans, primates, aquatic creatures, and eventually to a single cell.
Ulysses, Home imagines Homer’s story of Ulysses and his return to Penelope after the Trojan War in a more contemporary context, portraying the hero as a modern soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Scored for soprano, baritone and string quartet, and comprised of five continuous scenes, the opera’s opening evokes the ferocity of combat and Ulysses’ many tours of duty. As the couple is reunited, the battle music becomes submerged–but it is never gone entirely. Instead, it hovers in the background, gradually re-emerging as Ulysses struggles to leave the battlefield behind.
Both pieces on MATERNITY / ULYSSES, HOME were recorded live in Houston TX. Riveting, moving, and altogether unforgettable, Brandt’s album covers the multifaceted experiences of human life from its very beginnings all the way to today.