CD: The Great Deep–Songs of Transition by Frank Wallace
Duo LiveOak (Nancy Knowles, mezzo-soprano, Frank Wallace, ten-string guitar)
Frank Wallace is the most prolific writer of works for classical guitar and voice working today. Duo LiveOak’s first CD of his songs, Woman of the Water, received glowing reviews for both performance and composition in songs for six-string classical guitar and lute: “In over 25 years of writing about music on recordings and in concerts, I have rarely been as captivated and enchanted by any item as this new CD from Duo LiveOak… This is a first-rate chamber music duo…” –John W. Lambert, Classical Voice North Carolina. Their 2010 CD, The Great Deep, showcases the 10-string classical guitar and its potential both in ensemble with the voice and as a solo instrument. Wallace’s rich contrapuntal compositions delight in this new palette that shows off both his wizardry on the guitar and Knowles’ mezzo-soprano voice.
Speaking of wizards, it is Merlin who is the inspiration behind the name of the CD, which is taken from Tennyson’s setting of his riddle about youth and age*. The riddle ends The Great Deep song cycle, Wallace’s newest––eight songs pondering life’s final journey. For this group, he turns to well-known texts by Turner, Donne, Pope, Shelley, Rossetti, Shakespeare, and Tennyson. The CD also features a song cycle about youth on the verge, Speak Love, set to passionate poetry written in San Francisco a hundred years ago by a young woman who was then 18. A short set in Spanish includes two pieces written for an Emerson College production of Federico García Lorca’s play, La Casa de Bernarda Alba––a guitar solo depicting a wild, sexy horseback ride and a dramatic setting of the grandmother María Josefa’s “mad song”, Ovejita. Nancy Knowles’ poetic contribution to the CD is a tribute to the beautiful city of Arequipa, Peru and its many–layered cultural history. The CD ends with The Chimes, a group of songs drawn from Dickens’ short story celebrating the passing of the old year and the birth of the new, in which Wallace rings out the changes on all ten strings.
Purchase the CD at gyremusic.com
photograph (Venice) © 2009 Nancy B. Knowles