Rustling Flights of Wings

Rustling Flights of Wings

Soaring through song
Stanley Grill
Nancy Allen Lundy
Stephen Gosling
Ralph Farris
Catalog Number: 
#1 019
new classical
solo voice

Haworth, NJ

Release Date: 
Nov 16, 2018
Liner Notes: 
1 CD

Rustling Flights of Wings

One Sheet: 

RUSTLING FLIGHTS OF WINGS introduces the vocal music of Stanley Grill.  His work springs out of the centuries long tradition of classical art songs and epitomizes the composer’s life-long fascination with the intersection between words and music.  About his many settings of poetry to music, Grill writes that “dating back into pre-history, poets and musicians have always been the ones to lift humanity up from the mundane and connect us with the deepest part of ourselves.  I have always found the connection between words that go beyond words and music to be an inspiration.  My favorite poets write words that seem to sing off the page and so setting their words to music is a necessary and natural response.”  In this album, the words and notes on the page spring into life with the commanding artistry of soprano Nancy Allen Lundy, pianist Stephen Gosling and violinist Ralph Farris.  

Raised in New York City, Stanley Grill has spent a life-time composing music as an act of translation, trying to understand the world and convey that understanding in musical terms.  Translating the words of his favorite poets into music has always been an integral part of that effort. 

Critically acclaimed for her unique vocal beauty, skillful musicianship and theatrical prowess in a variety of classical and contemporary styles, Nancy Allen Lundy has the perfect voice for Stan Grill’s lyrical, expressive songs.  The poignancy of her singing is paralleled by the accompaniment of pianist Stephen Gosling. A ubiquitous presence on the New York music scene, Steve Gosling’s playing has been hailed by the NY Times as “brilliant,” “electric,” and “luminous and poised.”  Ralph Farris, a multi-faceted, multi-instrumentalist – and founder of the genre-bending string quatet Ethel - not only performs the violin songs on the album with passionate intensity but also brought his enormous talent, energy and experience to producing the album.

There is a story behind A Collection of Songs to the Poems of C.F. Cilliers.  Living in a world governed by incidental collisions, greatly multiplied by the technology of the internet, a composer sitting in his attic writing music in New Jersey crossed paths via Facebook with an extraordinary poet living in South Africa  - and the two began to share their work.  This cycle is the first setting of Charl Cillier’s poignent and profound poetry to music – but not the last. 

The inspiration for The Violin Sings in a Common Languagestarted years ago, with the composition of the first song in the cycle, Rilke’s Der Nachbar for the violinist and soprano Ursula Fiedler.  Years later, having found other poems, all in different languages, which employ the violin as a central image, it seemed that combining these in a song cycle with violin conveyed something important about the nature of music as a shared language that can bond people together, despite our many differences.  We may speak in different languages, but the music we create speaks to our common humanity.    

A unique and pivotal figure in American modern poetry, Hart Crane’s mysterious and highly evocative imagery always seems as ethereal as music.  Four Songs to Poems by Hart Crane focuses on several of his most powerful miniatures - At Melville’s Tomb, Interior, Exile and A Name for All. 

The album closes with 6 Songssetting poems by W.B. Yeats.  Unlike the other songs on the album which are relatively recent works, these songs are among the composer’s earliest songs, written during a period when Yeats’ collected works was constantly at hand.  Of all poets writing in the English language, it is perhaps true that Yeats is the most musical.  His words seem to sing from the page and demand music.