Passages

Michael Murray composer
Genevieve Fulks soprano

Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavřínek conductor
Minju Choi Witte piano
Allison Storochuk clarinet

Release Date: May 27, 2022
Catalog #: NV6427
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Orchestral
Orchestra
Piano
Voice

Composer Michael Murray’s album PASSAGES brings the words of iconic 19th and 20th century poets to life through stirring music for solo soprano and instruments. Murray has selected poetry from the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson, William Butler Yeats, William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Walt Whitman, with poems detailing childhood adventure, hope, and tragedy. Celebrated soprano Genevieve Fulks performs throughout; most of the music heard on the album was written specifically with her voice in mind. Murray’s music has been lauded for its meticulously crafted yet ultimately approachable style. Through familiar themes and time-honored poetry, Murray invites listeners to engage with, and even be challenged by, this collection of thoughtful compositions.

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An Inside Look

Michael Murray’s PASSAGES

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Passage to Nod: Looking-Glass River Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 4:19
02 Passage to Nod: Autumn Fires Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 2:20
03 Passage to Nod: Where Go the Boats? Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 4:10
04 Passage to Nod: Good-night Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 4:01
05 Passage to Nod: Shadow March Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 2:18
06 Passage to Nod: In Port Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 2:47
07 Genevieve’s Cats: The Kitten Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Minju Choi Witte, piano 2:21
08 Genevieve’s Cats: The Cat and the Moon Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Minju Choi Witte, piano 4:02
09 Genevieve’s Cats: To Mrs. Reynolds’s Cat Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Minju Choi Witte, piano 3:17
10 Penny Whistles: From a Railway Carriage Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Allison Storochuk, clarinet; Minju Choi Witte, piano 2:09
11 Penny Whistles: The Land of Nod Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Allison Storochuk, clarinet; Minju Choi Witte, piano 3:09
12 Penny Whistles: Singing Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Allison Storochuk, clarinet; Minju Choi Witte, piano 0:56
13 Penny Whistles: The Moon Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Allison Storochuk, clarinet; Minju Choi Witte, piano 4:06
14 Penny Whistles: Windy Nights Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Allison Storochuk, clarinet; Minju Choi Witte, piano 1:53
15 Penny Whistles: A Good Boy Michael Murray Genevieve Fulks, soprano; Allison Storochuk, clarinet; Minju Choi Witte, piano 3:11
16 The Last Invocation Michael Murray Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavrinek, conductor; Genevieve Fulks, soprano 8:17

Passage to Nod & The Last Invocation
Text by Robert Louis Stevenson & Walt Whitman
Recorded September 6-7, 2021 at Reduta Hall, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Producer, Editing & Mixing Jan Košulič
Engineer Aleš Dvořák

Genevieve’s Cats & Penny Whistles
Text by Robert Louis Stevenson
Recorded April 28-29, 2019 at Futura Productions, Roslindale MA
Producer John Page
Engineer John Weston
Recording Sessions Assistant Emma Terrell
Editing & Mixing Levi Brown, Lucas Paquette

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Mastering Melanie Montgomery

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner

Artist Information

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

Composer

Michael Murray’s music has been described as “well-crafted” and “easy to listen to in the best possible way.” His compositions cover a wide variety of styles and media, but his gift for lyricism is particularly well suited to acoustic music featuring the human voice. Much of his work involves setting the words of classic poets to new music for singers accompanied by various instrumental combinations.

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Minju Choi Witte

Pianist

Lauded for being “positively mesmerizing at the piano” by The Times-Tribune, Korean-American pianist Minju Choi Witte has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician. Witte presented recitals in cities in the U.S. and abroad, including Paris, New York City, Philadelphia, and Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago. She has performed solo concerts in prestigious venues such as David Geffen Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Schola Cantorum in Paris, and Steinway Hall.

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Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra

Orchestra

The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the foremost and oldest symphony orchestras in the Czech Republic. It is based in the historical capital of Moravia, the city of Olomouc, and has been a leader of music activities in the region for the past 70 years. Its artistic development was directly influenced by distinguished figures from the Czech and international music scene.

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Genevieve Fulks

Genevieve Fulks

Soprano

Praised for her “sterling soprano that is a pleasure in and of itself” (Springfield News-Leader) and described as “a powerhouse of talent,” (Chris’ Corner, Travel and Theatre), Genevieve Fulks has established herself as a multifaceted singing actress excelling in opera, musical theatre, and contemporary classical music.

Fulks holds a master’s degree in Opera Performance and is a former Fulbright national scholar finalist.

She has performed roles with Ozarks Lyric Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Andy Williams Moon River Theatre, Knoxville Opera, Opera in the Rock, Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Contemporary Theatre, Delta Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and the Virginia Baroque Performance Academy. Internationally, she has performed with the Sankt Goar International Music Festival and the Krakow Forum Sinfonia of Poland.

Her favorite roles include Cunegonde in Candide, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and Lily in The Secret Garden. She currently performs as principal soprano with Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies and as a principal singer in the internationally-acclaimed Christmas Wonderland.

Allison Storochuk

Allison Storochuk

Clarinet

After studies at Northwestern University and the University of Alberta, clarinetist Allison Storochuk received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University. Her teachers include Russell Dagon, Dennis Prime, and Robert Spring. As a winner of the 1998 Johann Strauss Scholarship, Storochuk studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Alfred Prinz and Alois Brandhofer.

Following two years of teaching at the University of Alberta, Storochuk is currently Professor of Music at Missouri State University. She is principal clarinet of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Ozarks Lyric Opera and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet.

Storochuk has performed throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. She can be heard on the albums: Rhapsody: Chamber Music of Richard Faith (MSR Classics), Dry Heat (PotenzaMusic), BASHAW with Saint Crispin’s Chamber Ensemble (Arktos), Howard Bashaw Form Archimage (Arktos), Glossa (Arktos), and at www.piradia.com with artist/writer/producer Van Roland.

Notes

PASSAGES presents music for solo soprano and various instrumental accompaniments composed between 2015-2019 and performed by Genevieve Fulks. Most of these songs were written specifically for Fulks.

Much of the music appearing on this album was made possible through the generous support of the creative residency programs at Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences in Rabun Gap GA, and Osage Arts Community in Belle MO.

— Michael Murray

Passage to Nod (2019) is a set of six songs with words from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885). Although the poetry is presented from a child’s perspective, the subject matter appeals equally to adults and children. The progression of the six songs follows a day in the life of a child, from morning play through arriving safe in bed at night.

— Michael Murray

The three poems of Genevieve’s Cats (2017) feature cats at different stages of their lives, from William Wordsworth’s kitten through William Butler Yeats’s adult cat to John Keats’s older cat. Features distinctive to the feline species are common to all.

— Michael Murray

Penny Whistles (2015) is an earlier set of six songs from A Child’s Garden of Verses. Just as in Passage to Nod, a great variety of a child’s moods and journeys, both real and imagined, are portrayed. And once again, our protagonist arrives safe in bed at the end of day.

— Michael Murray

The Last Invocation (2016) is a setting of Walt Whitman’s poem and is dedicated to the memory of my brother, Alan Murray (1958-2016). This piece was written in response to the ending of a life and expresses a sense of release and lightness overcoming fear and darkness.

— Michael Murray

The Last Invocation
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

At the last, tenderly,
From the walls of the powerful fortress’d house,
From the clasp of the knitted locks, from the keep of the well-closed doors,
Let me be wafted.

Let me glide noiselessly forth;
With the key of softness unlock the locks – with a whisper,
Set ope the doors O soul.

Tenderly – be not impatient,
(Strong is your hold O mortal flesh,
Strong is your hold O love.)

Texts

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885)

1. Looking-Glass River

SMOOTH it slides upon its travel,
Here a wimple, there a gleam –
O the clean gravel!
O the smooth stream!

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,
Paven pools as clear as air –
How a child wishes
To live down there!

We can see our coloured faces
Floating in the shaken pool
Down in cool places,
Dim and very cool;

Till a wind or water wrinkle.
Dipping marten, plumping trout,
Spreads in a twinkle
And blots all out.

See the rings pursue each other;
All below grows black as night,
Just as if mother
Had blown out the light!

Patience, children, just a minute –
See the spreading circles die;
The stream and all in it
Will clear by-and-by.

2. Autumn Fires

IN the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

3. Where Go the Boats?

DARK brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating –
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

4. Good-night

When the bright lamp is carried in,
The sunless hours again begin;
O’er all without, in field and lane,
The haunted night returns again.

Now we behold the embers flee
About the firelit hearth; and see
Our faces painted as we pass,
Like pictures, on the window-glass.

Must we to bed indeed? Well then,
Let us arise and go like men,
And face with an undaunted tread
The long black passage up to bed.

Farewell, O brother, sister, sire!
O pleasant party round the fire!
The songs you sing, the tales you tell,
Till far to-morrow, fare ye well!

5. Shadow March

All round the house is the jet-black night;
It stares through the window-pane;
It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,
And it moves with the moving flame.

Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,
With the breath of the Bogie in my hair;
And all round the candle the crooked shadows come,
And go marching along up the stair.

The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,
The shadow of the child that goes to bed –
All the wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp,
With the black night overhead.

6. In Port

Last, to the chamber where I lie
My fearful footsteps patter nigh,
And come from out of the cold and gloom
Into my warm and cheerful room.

There, safe arrived, we turn about
To keep the coming shadows out,
And close the happy door at last
On all the perils that we past.

Then, when mamma goes by to bed,
She shall come in with tip-toe tread,
And see me lying warm and fast
And in the Land of Nod at last.

1. The Kitten
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
(from “The Kitten and the Falling Leaves”)

See the kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves—one—two—and three—
From the lofty elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair . . .
—But the kitten, how she starts;
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!

First at one, and then its fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now—now one—
Now they stop and there are none.
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjuror;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.

2. The Cat and the Moon
W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

THE CAT went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

3. To Mrs Reynolds’s Cat
John Keats (1795–1821)

Cat! who hast passed thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroyed? How many tit-bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears—but prithee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me, and up-raise
Thy gentle mew, and tell me all thy frays
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists—
For all thy wheezy asthma, and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nicked off, and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
In youth thou enteredst on glass-bottled wall.

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885)

1. From a Railway Carriage

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

2. The Land of Nod

From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay;
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the Land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do—-
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the Land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

3. Singing

Of speckled eggs the birdie sings
And nests among the trees;
The sailor sings of ropes and things
In ships upon the seas.

The children sing in far Japan,
The children sing in Spain;
The organ and the organ man
Is singing in the rain.

4. The Moon

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

5. Windy Nights

Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.

6. A Good Boy

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes,

But slumber hold me tightly till I awaken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

Walt Whitman (1819-92)

At the last, tenderly,
From the walls of the powerful fortress’d house,
From the clasp of the knitted locks, from the keep of the well-closed doors,
Let me be wafted.

Let me glide noiselessly forth;
With the key of softness unlock the locks – with a whisper,
Set ope the doors O soul.

Tenderly – be not impatient,
(Strong is your hold O mortal flesh,
Strong is your hold O love.)

Scores

Passage to Nod

Michael Murray

View Score

Genevieve’s Cats

Michael Murray

View Score

Penny Whistles

Michael Murray

View Score

The Last Invocation

Michael Murray

View Score