Music

Earth and Paradise: Prospice

by William Kersten

Released 2017
Released 2017
"Earth and Paradise" is a cycle of six songs, composed to the passionate Victorian poems of Christina Rossetti, Anne Bronte, Thomas Beddoes and Thomas Hood.
NOTES
The music was performed by the acclaimed soprano Lori Trustman with a full orchestral accompaniment. The entire cycle forms a changing picture of earthly joys, sorrow and death leading to the mystical evocation of Rossetti's "Paradise."

"Of special interest was the world premiere of American composer William Kersten's "Earth and Paradise." Kersten's music, always interesting and provocative, has become a rarity in a culture obsessed with copycat success: it has shed any hints of being derivative, and has stepped, by virture of its originality and freshness, across an important threshold into the realm of elegantly crafted, inspired art. Kersten's "Earth and Paradise," a song cycle of six rapturously constructed songs set to the poems of Christina Rossetti, Anne Bronte, Thomas Hood and Thomas Beddoes, touchingly, dramatically, movingly underscores the breadth, the elegance, the sweetness of the poems. It is stunning orchestral and vocal writing, clearly entrenched - as the poems are - in a lush romantic ambience which ebbs and flows with the rush of ideas and words describing the mysteries of life, death and paradise, much as Debussy's "La Mer" ebbs and flows putting the morality of man against the immortal mysteries of the sea. Soprano Lori Trustman is the perfect vocal and artistic match for Kersten's songs. Her personal style, never an affectation for its own purposes, carefully intertwines singer with song while establishing a purity of pitch and tone, and an unstressed sensuality that allows vocal flights of elation to float dramatically and hauntingly over Kersten's detailed, poetic orchestral descriptions.... these are highly dramatic songs. The trick is to combine Kersten's orchestral concepts with a vocal line which is at times the center of attention, but which at other times becomes one with the orchestra - literally a part of the orchestration. The singer of these songs cannot merely perform as a soloist with an unusually rich accompaniment, but must perform as a compatriot in an integrated concerto for voice and oorhcestra. The cycle is musically exquisite and was marvelously brought off."
- from the Reno Gazette Journal review of the premiere performance of "Earth and Paradise", Jan. 27, 1992

SMP Press Sheet Music

Vienna Symphonic Library

Production Music Online