Mille vote il di moro…A thousand times a day I die…
Correte, amanti, a prova…Hurry up, lovers, see for yourselves…
Itene, o miei sospiri precipitate’l volo…Oh, my sighs go swiftly to her…
Tu m’uccidi, o crudele…Oh cruel one, you are killing me…
Languisce a fin chi de la vita parte…One languishes at the end who departs from life…
“Mercè!” grido piangendo…”Mercy! I scream crying…
Voci dell’Ombra (Voices from the Shadow) The madrigals of the Renaissance composer, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, have interested me for some time with their articulate mode of expression and their rich and mysterious musical textures. I have chosen six madrigals from the composer’s fifth book of madrigals to set for piano and solo soprano voice. Above all, my goal was to capture the expression and drama of text found in Gesualdo’s five-part vocal writing, selecting freely from each of the voices to construct my recomposition of the music for a single voice. I also desired to create a piano accompaniment that orchestrated the harmonic and rhythmic contrasts that are so prevalent in these Madrigals. The end result, stylistically, spans the pre-renaissance and post-renaissance periods of music with my own predilection for complex textures and sonorities found in my own original music. These pieces were composed in collaboration with mezzo-soprano Ayana Sambuu Zandraa who will be creating a dramatic production for their premiere. In studying these interpretations of the Gesualdo madrigals, Ayana has discovered the profound drama of the lyrics and the mysterious beauty of the music and words. We are planning a dramatic production of these settings enhanced with light and costume design that would present a meaningful experience for contemporary audiences.
I would also like to acknowledge the Italian soprano Angela Nisi was so generous with her comments regarding the setting of the Italian words and vocal technique required to perform the pieces. Finally, I am appreciative of Nick Ceramella for his translations of the texts into English and his assistance in interpreting the meaning of the Italian words. WGN
William Grosvenor Neil In the 1980’s Neil was appointed as the first composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the first residency of its kind with a major American opera company. His opera, The Guilt of Lillian Sloan was premiered by Lyric in June of 1986. He then went on to produce award-winning concerts and events at the New Music Chicago Spring Festival for several years. The Rome Prize and the Charles Ives Award are among his honors and his work has been recognized through grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, and the American Symphony Orchestra League, and awards from ASCAP and BMI. In 2008 he served as the McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum for the city of Winona, MN. Most recently, clarinetist, Fàtima Boix Canto’ premiered Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA, Duo Sureno premiered Love Poem with a Knife at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC. Recent CD releases have featured his music including Out of Darkness Into Light on Ravello Records, Spiritual Adaptation to Higher Altitudes on Mark Masters Recordings, and Six Preludes for piano on PnOVA Recordings. His music was featured on several live broadcasts on WFMT radio in Chicago in 2019 including his Six Preludes for piano solo by pianist Martin Jones. In the fall of 2020, Neil served as an Artist in Residence at Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Most recently, his Sacrum Creature will be premiered by the Artaria String Quartet at the 2021 Springwood Chamber Music Festival in Lanesboro, MN.
The coloratura mezzo-soprano of international fame Ayana Sambuu Zandraa was born in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, into the family of famous film director Zandraa Tseveenii, founder of the professional Cinematographic Art in Mongolia. She demonstrated an interest in art and music since she was a child, and was mentored by her grandfather who generously shared his creative knowledge as a filmmaker. After having won several national-level singing competitions in Mongolia and completing her advanced degrees in music and languages, she moved to Italy for further study, and to pursue degrees in opera. Upon the invitation of Maestro Paolo Montarsolo, she continued her study of grand opera roles. Her repertoire includes operas by Rossini, Mozart, Bellini, and other composers and a vast program of Baroque arias, Italian, Russian, French, Spanish arias, romance songs and lieds. Her most acclaimed roles are from Rossini’s operas such as Cenerentola (La Cenerentola) and Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
She has been invited as a special guest to numerous TV programs in Italy, Mongolia, and Russia and opera singing festivals in Italy, Spain and Mongolia. Recently she was featured on the soundtrack for the documentary film “Bernini tells Bernini”, about the life of the Italian great sculptor Lorenzo Bernini, directed by Andrés Arce Maldonado. She has performed in opera houses and in prestigious concert halls in Italy, Mongolia, Great Britain, Spain, Greece, San Marino, France, China, and Hong Kong.
Currently, as the founder and the President of the Cultural Association NEW OPERA DIMENSIONS, Rome, ITALY, she organizes music events, involving young international opera singers. She has served as a collaborator at the prestigious ROMA International Opera Competition founded by great Italian pianist Marcella Crudeli, the Fryderyk Chopin Cultural Association that organises the ROMA International Piano Competiton, and the Vincerò World Opera Competition.
The range of sonic experiences is astounding but always illuminates the music and the drama.” SOUNDBOARD MAGAZINE.
William Neil’s compositions present the listener with an intense brilliant effect. FANFARE MAGAZINE
His music represents contemporary writing at its most intellectual probing. CHICAGO TRIBUNE
His extremely characteristic harmonic world is fundamental to the unfolding of his music. CLASSICAL CD REVIEW
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