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Release Date: June 12, 2020
Catalog #: NV6290
Format: Digital & Physical

Transparent Boundaries

SONGS SET TO THE WORDS OF DICKINSON, WHITMAN, AND EMERSON

Lori Laitman composer
Lee Hoiby composer
Andre Previn composer
Ned Rorem composer
Daron Hagen composer
Scott Gendel composer

Jamie-Rose Guarrine soprano
Seth Keeton bass-baritone
Karl Knapp cello
Lara Bolton piano

For centuries, writers have documented the awe brought about by the pristine wilderness and untamed expanses of the American Midwest and West. Three authors in particular—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson—beautifully documented the boundless optimism and sense of opportunity that the country’s vast natural resources inspired and heralded a new era of American thought.

On TRANSPARENT BOUNDARIES, the three visionaries’ words are set to music to give their poetic works musical life. Soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine and bass-baritone Seth Keeton deftly lead the charge on a series of artsongs, accompanied by pianists Lara Bolton and Scott Gendel and cellist Karl Knapp.

Guarrine’s vocal elegance and innate lyricism naturally lend themselves to the vivid simplicity and inward reflection of Dickson, and Keeton’s lower register captures the direct ruggedness of Whitman. To express the duality of Emerson, the pair come together for a duo to capture the author’s ability to view all things at once in a single picture of beauty.

By adding to the repertoire of contemporary artsong, TRANSPARENT BOUNDARIES honors the legacy of historic writings and brings their sentiment back to the foreground of American thought, ushering in a newfound sense of hope and optimism for the 21st century.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Beauty Lori Laitman Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano 4:49
02 One Bee and Revery: No. 1, The Butterfly Upon Lori Laitman Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Lara Bolton, piano 1:22
03 One Bee and Revery: No. 2, Hope Is a Strange Invention Lori Laitman Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Lara Bolton, piano 0:46
04 One Bee and Revery: No. 3, To Make a Prairie Lori Laitman Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Lara Bolton, piano 1:30
05 5 Poems of Walt Whitman "I Was There": No. 1, Beginning My Studies Lee Hoiby Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 1:52
06 5 Poems of Walt Whitman "I Was There": No. 2, I Was There Lee Hoiby Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 3:22
07 5 Poems of Walt Whitman "I Was There": No. 3, A Clear Midnight Lee Hoiby Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 2:46
08 5 Poems of Walt Whitman "I Was There": No. 4, O Captain! My Captain! Lee Hoiby Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 4:53
09 5 Poems of Walt Whitman "I Was There": No. 5, Joy, Shipmate, Joy! Lee Hoiby Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 1:26
10 3 Dickinson Songs: No. 1, As Imperceptibly As Grief André Previn Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Lara Bolton, piano 3:09
11 3 Dickinson Songs: No. 2, Will There Really Be a Morning? André Previn Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Lara Bolton, piano 1:25
12 3 Dickinson Songs: No. 3, Good Morning Midnight André Previn Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Lara Bolton, piano 2:34
13 3 Calamus Poems: No. 1, Of Him I Love Day and Night Ned Rorem Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 4:02
14 3 Calamus Poems: No. 2, I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing Ned Rorem Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 4:39
15 3 Calamus Poems: No. 3, To a Common Prostitute Ned Rorem Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Lara Bolton, piano 2:28
16 On the Beach at Night Daron Hagen Seth Keeton, bass-baritone; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano 11:56
17 To Keep the Dark Away: No. 1, Letter to the World Scott Gendel Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano; Scott Gendel, piano 2:15
18 To Keep the Dark Away: No. 2, The Saddest Noise Scott Gendel Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano; Scott Gendel, piano 3:33
19 To Keep the Dark Away: No. 3, In Vain Scott Gendel Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano; Scott Gendel, piano 1:48
20 To Keep the Dark Away: No. 4, Accustomed to the Dark Scott Gendel Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano; Scott Gendel, piano 4:01
21 To Keep the Dark Away: No. 5, The Crickets Sang Scott Gendel Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano; Scott Gendel, piano 1:38
22 To Keep the Dark Away: No. 6, I Sing to Use the Waiting Scott Gendel Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Karl Knapp, cello; Lara Bolton, piano; Scott Gendel, piano 3:16

BEAUTY
text by Ralph Waldo Emerson

ONE BEE AND REVERY
text by Emily Dickinson

I WAS THERE: FIVE POEMS OF WALT WHITMAN
text by Walt Whitman

THREE DICKINSON SONGS
text by Emily Dickinson

THREE CALAMUS POEMS
text by Walt Whitman

ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT
text by Walt Whitman

TO KEEP THE DARK AWAY
text by Emily Dickinson

Recorded July 30 - Aug 3, 2018 at Wild Sound Recording Studio in Minneapolis MN
Recording Session Engineer Steve Kaul

Financial support was provided by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Additional financial support was provided by the University of Utah and the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts.

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Jacob Smith

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Jamie-Rose Guarrine

Soprano

Soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine is acclaimed for her “utterly thrilling, agile voice” and praised for bringing “pathos, beauty, and heartbreaking skill” to her performances. She has performed on the stages of Los Angeles Opera, Minnesota Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Chicago Opera Theater, Austin Opera, Utah Opera, Fort Worth Opera, the Madison Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, The National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, and the Santa Fe Symphony, among many others.

Learn More
Seth Keeton

Seth Keeton

Bass-baritone

Bass-baritone Seth Keeton’s performances have been described by The New York Times as “driven” and “emotionally pointed,” and “stentorian” by Opera News. He has performed roles on opera stages throughout the country and Europe.

In art song and in recital, Keeton’s creative expression takes many forms, and he delights in creating unusual song recitals for himself and his students. As a scholar Keeton has created an online song index, SongHelix, that makes it easy to find related song repertoire. This index is becoming an essential reference, helping singers and pianists find forgotten song repertoire and discover new vocal works, and can be found at songhelix.com. Keeton received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota and is an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Utah School of Music. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Angie and son, Miles. sethkeeton.net

photo: Michael Yeshion

Lara Bolton

Piano

Lara Bolton is a pianist, vocal coach, conductor, and arranger. Her work spans many different genres, including classical, rock, jazz, and musical theater. In addition to maintaining an active concert and recording career, she serves on the faculty at the University of Minnesota.

She has created an innovative aria/soul/jazz synthesis project called Voxspex, which has been produced in Minneapolis and New York and was remounted in February 2020. Other opera and theater affiliations include Mill City Summer Opera, where she was Head of Music, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Quad Cities Symphony, Minnesota Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Out of the Box Opera, West Bay Opera, Opera Colorado, and Amarillo Opera, and the Jungle and Guthrie theaters.

Bolton is a former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and has been a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist for the Washington National Opera. She also helped develop a Young Artist Program for Opera Santa Barbara. In addition to having been a pianist for the Merola Opera Program, she has also worked at the Music Academy of the West, Brevard Music Festival, and Interlochen Arts Camp. As an alumna of Interlochen Arts Academy, she received a Bachelor of Music Theory degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from the University of Maryland-College Park.

Karl Knapp

Cello

Karl Knapp is known not only as a devoted Suzuki educator but also for his solo and chamber music performances. He recently served as Principal Cellist with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the Arctic Chamber Orchestra, and the Juneau Symphony Orchestra. Knapp performs extensively with his band 1200 Horsehairs: A Band of Cellos.

As an active Suzuki educator in Alaska, Knapp helped found the Alaska Cello Intensive. ACI is a two-week summer program which combines intense music study with the similarly intense experience of Alaska’s midnight sun and landscapes. He currently serves as Program Coordinator for Sonido Musica, a music partnership program between the Springfield Public Schools and Community Music School of Springfield MA. Sonido Musica aims to reduce high school drop-out rates through student engagement, leadership, and performance opportunities.

Knapp graduated with his Master and Doctorate of Music degrees from University of Wisconsin - Madison where he was a member of the Hunt Quartet, an educational ensemble which brought classical music into elementary schools in the area. He has performed in the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Madison Opera Orchestra, and Minnesota Opera Orchestra. His primary teachers have been Karl Lavine, Stefan Kartman, Nina Gordon, Uri Vardi, Parry Karp, and the members of the Pro Arte Quartet.

Andre Previn

Andre Previn

Composer

photo:  Lillian Birnbaum, Deutche Gramaphone

Daron Hagen

Daron Hagen

Composer

photo: Karen Pearson

daronhagen.com

Lee Hoiby

Lee Hoiby

Composer

photo: The estate of Lee Hoiby at LeeHoiby.net

LeeHoiby.net

Lori Laitman

Lori Laitman

Composer

photo:  Christian Steiner

artsongs.com

Ned Rorem

Ned Rorem

Composer

Notes

In 1844 the United States shimmered with possibility. Vast expanses of the American Midwest and West were completely untouched by European hands, unseen by explorers’ eyes. The land was in its natural state, and the great majority of our young country provided the magnificence that we experience today in our national parks. A boundless optimism pervaded the American psyche, and this sense of optimism and opportunity was in large part due to the natural bounty and vastness the continent afforded.

It was this year that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay entitled The Poet, a paper and lecture that would have a profound influence on American poetry and American thought. In it, he called for a new American voice of poetry befitting the greatness of the vast landscape. As Dan Chiasson writes in The New Yorker, “He provided, for the wild synaptic activity of his protégés, the framework.”

In answer to The Poet, Walt Whitman began his literary relationship with Emerson by mailing him a copy of Leaves of Grass in 1855. And in parallel, the teenager Emily Dickinson was forming friendships and accruing life experience that would mold her relationship to life and poetry. Their poetry has been an inspiration for dozens of composers of art songs throughout the years, and continues to be a source of inspiration in the 21st Century. Whitman in his directness of language that is at once rugged, sensual, cosmic, and direct; and Dickinson in her interiority, simplicity, vividness, and immediacy.

The inspiration for this project was a desire for each singer to perform the words of Dickinson and Whitman, with Jamie-Rose’s elegance and lyricism matching Dickinson’s poetry and Seth’s declamatory directness for Whitman’s. We added to the canon of art song by commissioning works by modern composers Scott Gendel and Daron Hagen on the words of Dickinson and Whitman. To bring unity to the program we commissioned a vocal duet by Lori Laitman for performance by all of the musicians on words from Emerson’s essay.

With the crushing daily news about climate change, rainforest deforestation, and the exploitation of natural resources, those of us who are artistically-minded frequently turn to artists’ celebrations of nature. The words of Emerson that Lori Laitman set resonate hope in times like these: “Wherever snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever is danger, and awe, and love, there is Beauty….”

Texts

by Lori Laitman
text by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Wherever snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever day and night meet in twilight, wherever the blue heaven is hung by clouds, or sown with stars, wherever are forms with transparent boundaries, wherever are outlets into celestial space, wherever is danger, and awe, and love, there is Beauty, plenteous as rain, shed for thee, and though thou shouldest walk the world over, thou shalt not be able to find a condition inopportune or ignoble.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, from The Poet, published in Essays: Second Series in 1844.

by Lori Laitman
text by Emily Dickinson

The Butterfly Upon

The Butterfly upon the Sky,
That doesn't know its Name
And hasn't any tax to pay
And hasn't any Home
Is just as high as you and I,
And higher, I believe,
So soar away and never sigh
And that's the way to grieve —

Hope is a strange invention

Hope is a strange invention—
A Patent of the Heart—
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out—

Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own—

To make a prairie

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

by Lee Hoiby
text by Walt Whitman

Beginning my studies

Beginning my studies the first step pleas'd me so much,
The mere fact consciousness, these forms, the power of motion,
The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,
The first step I say awed me and pleas'd me so much,
I have hardly gone and hardly wish'd to go any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs.

I was there

I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times;
How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the
steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,
How he knuckled tight, and gave not back an inch,
and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,
And chalk'd in large letters, on a board,
Be of good cheer, we will not desert you:
How he follow'd with them, and tack'd with them three days
and would not give it up;
How he saved the drifting company at last:
How the lank loose-gown'd women look'd when
boated from the side of their prepared graves;
How the silent old-faced infants, and the lifted sick,
and the sharp-lipp'd unshaved men:
All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,
I am the man, I suffer'd, I was there.

This is thy hour

This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing,
pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death, and the stars.

O Captain! my Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Joy, shipmate, joy!

Joy, shipmate, joy!
(Pleas'd to my soul at death I cry,)
Our life is closed, our life begins,
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last, she leaps!
She swiftly courses from the shore,
Joy, shipmate, joy.

by André Previn
text by Emily Dickinson

As imperceptibly as Grief

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away —
Too imperceptible, at last
To seem like Perfidy —

A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon —

The Dusk drew earlier in —
The Morning foreign shone —
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace
As Guest that would be gone —

And thus without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful

Will there really be a Morning

Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!

Good Morning - Midnight

Good Morning — Midnight
I'm coming Home
Day — got tired of Me
How could I — of Him?

Sunshine was a sweet place
I liked to stay
But Morn — didn't want me — now
So — Goodnight — Day!

I can look — can't I
When the East is Red?
The Hills — have a way — then
That puts the Heart — abroad

You — are not so fair — Midnight
I chose — Day
But — please take a little Girl
He turned away!

by Ned Rorem
text by Walt Whitman

Of him I love day and night

Of him I love day and night I dream'd I heard he was dead,
And I dream'd I went where they had buried him I love, but he was not in that place,
And I dream'd I wander'd searching among burial-places to find him,
And I found that every place was a burial place;
The houses full of life were equally full of death, (this house is now),
The streets, the shipping, the places of amusement,
the Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, the Manahatta, were as full of the dead as of the living,
And fuller, O vastly fuller of the dead than of the living;
And what I dream'd I will henceforth tell to every person and age,
And I stand henceforth bound to what I dream'd,
And now I am willing to disregard burial-places and dispense with them,
And if the memorials of the dead were put up indifferently everywhere,
even in the room where I eat or sleep, I should be satisfied,
And if the corpse of any one I love, or if my own corpse,
be duly render'd to powder and pour'd in the sea, I shall be satisfied.

I saw in Louisiana

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the branches;
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself;
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves, standing alone there,
without its friend, its lover near -- for I knew I could not;
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it,
and twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away -- and I have placed it in sight in my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them;)
Yet it remains to me a curious token -- it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana,
solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a lover, near,
I know very well I could not.

To a common prostitute

Be composed - be at ease with me - I am Walt Whitman, liberal and lusty as Nature,
Not till the sun excludes you do I exclude you,
Not till the waters refuse to glisten for you and the leaves to rustle for you,
do my words refuse to glisten and rustle for you.
My girl I appoint with you an appointment, and I charge you that you make preparation
to be worthy to meet me,
And I charge you that you be patient and perfect till I come.
Till then I salute you with a significant look that you do not forget me.

by Daron Hagen
text by Walt Whitman

On the beach at night,
Stands a child with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate sisters the Pleiades.

From the beach the child holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears,
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in apparition,
Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they endure,
The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring pensive moons shall again shine.

Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter
Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades.

by Scott Gendel
text by Emily Dickinson

Letter to the World

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,--
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

The saddest noise

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,
The maddest noise that grows,—
The birds, they make it in the spring,
At night’s delicious close.

Between the March and April line—
That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead
That sauntered with us here,
By separation’s sorcery
Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,
And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
Would go and sing no more.

An ear can break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.

In Vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Accustomed to the Dark

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye -

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.

The crickets sang

The crickets sang,
And set the sun,
And workmen finished, one by one,
Their seam the day upon.

The low grass loaded with the dew,
The twilight stood as strangers do
With hat in hand, polite and new,
To stay as if, or go.

A vastness, as a neighbor, came,--
A wisdom without face or name,
A peace, as hemispheres at home,--
And so the night became.

I sing to use the Waiting

I sing to use the Waiting
My Bonnet but to tie
And shut the Door unto my House
No more to do have I

Till His best step approaching
We journey to the Day
And tell each other how We sung
To Keep the Dark away.