The Death of the Hired Man

The Death of the Hired Man

Art songs from a mold smasher
Andrew Violette
Andrew Violette
Sherry Zannoth
Brad Cresswell
Catalog Number: 
new classical
solo voice

Brooklyn, NY

Release Date: 
May 4, 2004
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Violette: Death of the Hired ManiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.The Death of the Hired Man52:40
2.The Love Duet22:29
One Sheet: 

Andrew Violette isn't one to save his best tricks for first. Sure, Piano Sonatas, The Manhattan-based composer and pianist's monumental Innova debut, garnered lavish critical praise and established Mr. Violette as one of the most thoroughly original composers working in America today—with good reason. But that was then, back in 2003.

Death of the Hired Man, Andrew Violette's new Innova release, finds the former Benedictine Monk tackling vocal music with Wagnerian gusto—minus the excess—even as he trades last year's austerity for extended displays of pianistic pyrotechnics that complement the album's two compositions to a tee. Granted, he's not the sole spectacle generator this time out. Soprano Sherry Zannoth contributes mightily to the title track, a setting of the Robert Frost poem, and to The Love Duet, a Walt Whitman treatment that finds her sonically intertwined with tenor Brad Cresswell to marvelous effect. Still, now as always, the focus is on Violette's compositions—and his uncanny propensity for creating maximum-scale fireworks with minimum personnel. 


He smashes the mold.

There are no conventional phrases. The singers intone.

The piano is a percussive force;
a fierce combatant
against big voiced singers
who emerge not from a huge stage
but from a space as intimate as a boxing ring
where each side struggles to prevail.

"Life's toughness needs to be reflected in song."
By Andrew Violette


...the composer takes standard musical forms and inherited compositional traditions and turns them on their head in compelling and satisfying ways. Execution of these pieces must be an incredible challenge because of this and because of the sheer endurance factor, and these performances really hit the mark. Diction is excellent and generally exceptionally clear; interpretative skills are likewise outstanding. Like the music, the accompanying tri-fold booklet is minimalist though nonetheless attractive.

By Marvin J. Ward