Danielle Woerner Sings Luening and Starer

Danielle Woerner Sings the Songs of Luening and StarerNotes from the Artist about “She Walks in Beauty”:

This CD was a joy to conceive and produce: the fruit of many years’ planning and close musical association with the two composers whose work is represented. Most of it is previously unrecorded, or has long been out of print.

The album takes its title from one of the songs of Otto Luening, who is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking electronic music work in the 1950s, his flute pieces, and his short orchestral works. Otto has been under-represented as a marvelous composer of songs and chamber music including the voice. He was a friend and mentor to me for some 16 years, until his death in 1996, and we collaborated on many musical projects together. All the Luening repertoire on this CD was coached and/or performed with him at one time or another, and he helped us choose the pieces for this recording. One of the Blake songs, “Ah! Sun-flower,” was written for me in 1984.

Robert Starer and I have collaborated on performances of his music since 1991; his performances as pianist on this disk in “Images of Man” (a major song cycle for soprano, flute, cello & piano) and “The Ideal Self” are the composer’s first recorded performances in several decades. Robert wrote “Letter to a Composer” for me as an orchestral piece in 1995, and re-scored it for chamber ensemble for this recording.

There are poetic connections as well as musical ones to the program — songs to poems of William Blake by both composers; pieces featuring voice with flute by both; vocalises as well as the songs WITH words; and the attention which both composers have paid to their poetic texts by Blake, Byron, Emily Dickinson, Gail Godwin, and others.

The recording includes performances by a couple of internationally-renowned wind players — Pat Spencer and Jean Kopperud — as well as some of the best instrumentalists in NY’s Hudson Valley. We recorded it at Grammy Award-winning engineer Tom Mark’s studio in West Shokan, NY — recording in analog to keep the warmth of a small concert-hall setting, and editing in digital. Composer Baikida Carroll was music producer.

A Sampling of Press Accolades:

“Danielle Woerner’s Thrilling Contemporary Disk”
… a uniquely gifted artist in her glorious prime. …. Her voice is pure and sweet across an incredibly wide compass. Her use of it conveys innocence with a guileless directness of expression. Her superb musicianship and the soundness of her vocal method enable her to execute the odd intervals with perfect intonation and strike clean attacks on the highest notes with no strain whatsoever. While singing with absolute instrumental purity of tone and rhythm, she speaks the words in a totally intelligible, directly conversational manner…. Having all of these qualities present in one interpreter must be beyond gratifying for her composers. It certainly is for the listener… Don’t miss this one.” — Freeman Günter, Classical Singer, April 2001

“Soprano of considerable technique along with perfect diction…All of the singing is quite lovely.” — Fanfare, recording review.

“Danielle Woerner has the kind of voice that sends shivers down your spine with its trueness and variety. She’s equally at home in opera, Gilbert and Sullivan, and concerts.” — Times Herald-Record, Middletown, NY.

“A fresh, agile voice of ingratiating sweetness; artful singing, intelligent and idiomatic in several repertoires.” (formal New York recital debut) — The New York Times

“Fine singing” — New York Daily News

“Major kudos to Danielle Woerner, whose towering performance as Sharon Graham [in Terrence McNally’s play “Master Class”] glows musically and dramatically. One longed to hear more from Woerner [as Verdi’s Lady MacBeth].” — Poughkeepsie Journal

“Treated her capacity audience to excerpts from operatic standards with all the aplomb of a staged performance…. Her voice is not only robust and resonant, but graceful and sensitive…. She drew from the arias all the joy and pain that Monteverdi and Mozart created, radiating happiness through body language as well as in the ease with which she floated through florid lines of melody.” — Times Herald-Record, Middletown, NY.

“Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate, K.165, was written for castrato, but hearing Woerner sing it, one feels that Mozart had her in mind when he wrote it…. fine music-making…. [Robert Starer’s Letter to a Composer] was beautifully sung by Woerner. Her soprano voice is brilliant and warm, and her singing was appropriately dramatic.” — Woodstock (NY) Times

“Woodstock diva Danielle Woerner, with classic professional roots in Manhattan and the concert halls of the Hudson Valley, sings the soulful waitress Rosabella (in Loesser’s Most Happy Fella). Lyric as Deanna Durbin, she melds in duos [with her leading man] to an intimate tenderness that kindles the show past “professional” to the realer-than-life center that is its potential heart.” — Daily Freeman, Kingston, NY

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