Recordings: Heaven and Earth

HEAVEN AND EARTH: A Duke Ellington Songbook

HEAVEN AND EARTH
A Duke Ellington Songbook

Int. Release: May 17, 2016

DANIELLE TALAMANTES, vocals
HENRY DEHLINGER, piano

MSR Jazz - 1 CD / Download

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PROGRAM NOTES


Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974) is a colossus among American composers of any genre. With a career spanning more than 50 years, he wrote over one thousand compositions, many of which have become jazz standards as well as precious, irreplaceable gems of the American Songbook. While music historians are wont to view him as a jazz or big band swing composer, Ellington's work reaches far beyond. Many musicologists have neglected the extensive body of sacred music that Ellington produced, four of which are presented in this album. In truth, Ellington did not consider himself a jazz or big band writer and performer. In his words, he wrote and played “the natural feelings of a people.”

Ellington conceived his works differently than others of the big band era. Typical arrangements of that period were written for a rhythm section supporting full sections of saxophones, trumpets and trombones with occasional short, improvised solos for contrast. Ellington was like a playwright, producing more script than manuscript, giving voice to leads within his cast of characters, then supporting the tale they wove with other voices within the cast. He chose his players not only for their musical proficiency, but also for their strong personalities. Unlike classic big band, Ellington encouraged his band to express themselves in their music, to let their individual personalities shine through.

The early works were often released as three-minute instrumental singles, the maximum time possible on the single side of a ten-inch 78 RPM record. Words were added later, sometimes several years later, and by a variety of lyricists, adding another sparkling—sometimes startling —dimension to the captivating saga. Whether an instrumental or vocal arrangement, these pieces carry away the listener with Ellington’s uniquely transcendent, supremely evocative, and unequaled style.

I first learned of Danielle and Henry’s Ellington project at a small gathering of musicians, a soiree of sorts, where artists, including some of Danielle’s most promising pupils from her voice studio, were performing works in progress and experimenting with concepts. When asked how she would follow her debut recording, Canciones españolas, Danielle thought aloud, “Possibly something out of the American Songbook…maybe an Ellington collection.” She and Henry had actually been performing two or three Ellington standards for some time, and they performed Larry Ham’s setting of In a Sentimental Mood for the gathering. Henry then improvised accompaniment for sections of a few other standards. It was obvious at that point that this idea was bound to become a beautiful new recording.

This collection captures the genius of Ellington's compositions and the emotional range of the performers - soprano Danielle Talamantes and pianist Henry Dehlinger. It features settings written by Larry Ham, Caren Levine, Marvin Mills and – in his debut as an arranger - Henry Dehlinger. Danielle and Henry have collaborated extensively on both performance and recording, and Henry wrote his arrangements featured in this album specifically for Danielle’s voice...

During Ellington's lifetime, a chasm existed - or was, at least, perceived - between the disciplines of “serious music” (as orchestral or classical music was called) and jazz music. In a televised interview in 1966, Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington discussed an erosion of this divide. Both were seeing that the aficionados supporting symphony concerts were the same enthusiastic attendees at Ellington performances. Bernstein expressed to Ellington, “You were one of the first people who wrote so-called symphonic jazz. Maybe that's the difference between us. You wrote symphonic jazz, and I wrote jazz symphonies.”

This collection of American music is intelligently conceived, sensitively arranged, and beautifully performed. Duke Ellington once said, quite simply, “If it sounds good, it IS good.” Danielle, Henry and audiences alike can be confident: This collection, indeed, IS good.

Scott Parrish, Raleigh, North Carolina

Soprano Danielle Talamantes is an international recitalist who made her Carnegie Hall debut in a solo recital in 2007. Since then, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore and Nashville Symphony Orchestras, National Philharmonic Chorale and Orchestra, United States Army Chorus, Choralis, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, Trujillo Symphony Orchestra and Seoul Philharmonic. Talamantes joined the Metropolitan Opera roster in the spring of 2011. In 2015, she made her Metropolitan Opera stage debut as Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen. She made her Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall as the soprano soloist in the world premiere of Bob Chilcott’s Requiem and returned to the National Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Choral Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem and Exsultate, jubilate. Other highlights include the soprano lead in the world premiere production of Janice Hamer’s Lost Childhood with the National Philharmonic, Handel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony, and Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Cedar Rapids Opera. She also sings the role of Violetta in La traviata at Cedar Rapids Opera and Finger Lakes Opera, Adina in L’elisir d’amore at Gulf Shore Opera and Mimí in La bohéme at St. Petersburg Opera. Talamantes reprises her role as Frasquita and sings the role of Anna in Nabucco at the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016-17 season.

www.DanielleTalamantes.com

Hailed by London’s Gramophone Magazine for his “exquisite piano-playing” and “vibrantly colorful palette,” Henry Dehlinger is a celebrated pianist, recording artist, composer and arranger. He has appeared on some of the world's leading concert stages from San Francisco's War Memorial and Performing Arts Center to the White House in Washington, D.C. He has appeared as featured soloist with The United States Army Chorus, special guest performer on Washington’s Embassy Row, and in concert for notable public officials, including the President of the United States and the Prince of Wales. ConcertoNet.com calls him "an experienced and versatile soloist." MusicWeb International praises his "delicious piano playing," and Audiophile Audition, his "adroit and sparkling" performances. Born in San Francisco, he quickly earned a reputation as a prodigious talent. By the age of eleven, he was performing with major orchestras under conductors such as Riccardo Chailly and Edo de Waart and operatic legends Luciano Pavarotti, Montserrat Caballé and Georgio Tozzi. Dehlinger is a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, organizer of the GRAMMY Awards. His critically acclaimed recordings on the MSR label are available on Amazon, iTunesArkivMusic, MSR Music, Spotify, and other music stores and streaming services throughout the web.

www.HenryDehlinger.com

CREDITS


Recorded 13 July and 23 November 2015 at Vienna Presbyterian Church, Vienna, Virginia. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence Technology™ recording: Produced by Richard Price; Engineered by Wayne Hileman; Edited and mastered by Richard Price. Executive Producer: Carole Taylor. Piano technician: James R. Davis. Product management: Robert LaPorta. Package design: Tim Schwartz @ Onion Productions.com. Artist photographs: Bill Bramble. ℗&© 2016 Danielle Talamantes and Henry Dehlinger.

TRACK LIST


[1]


COME SUNDAY
Duke Ellington / Duke Ellington [arr. H. Dehlinger]

5:31


[2]


IMAGINE MY FRUSTRATION
Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn and Gerald Wilson [arr. H. Dehlinger]

2:23


[3]


IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD
Duke Ellington / Manny Kurtz and Irving Mills [arr. L. Ham]

3:51


[4]


DO NOTHIN' TILL YOU HEAR FROM ME
Duke Ellington / Bob Russell [arr. L. Ham]

2:23


[5]


PRELUDE TO A KISS
Duke Ellington / Irving Gordon and Irving Mills [arr. L. Ham]

4:15


[6]


DON'T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE
Duke Ellington / Bob Russell [arr. H. Dehlinger]

4:20


[7]


SOPHISTICATED LADY
Duke Ellington / Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish [arr. H. Dehlinger]

3:56

[8]


I'M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT
Duke Ellington, Harry James and Johnny Hodges / Don George [arr. C. Levine]

3:22


[9]


SOLITUDE
Duke Ellington / Eddie Delange and Irving Mills [arr. C. Levine]

5:33


[10]


MEDITATION (piano solo)
Duke Ellington [arr. H. Dehlinger]

4:54


[11]


HEAVEN
Duke Ellington / Duke Ellington [arr. M. Mills]

4:03


[12]


ALMIGHTY GOD HAS THOSE ANGELS
Duke Ellington / Duke Ellington [arr. H. Dehlinger]

4:54



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