Thursday, 21 June 2018


Pre-order available: Decca
This Friday, June 22, fans of American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein will be able to get their hands on the world premiere recording of Garth Edwin Sunderland's chamber adaptation of the late maestro's 1983 opera "A Quiet Place," recorded live last March at the Maison symphonique de Montréal with the OSM performing under the baton of director Kent Nagano.

Much like it's title, Bernstein's last work written for the stage has remained but a quiet murmur among the icon's compositional repertoire. Penned as a sequel to his only other opera* "Trouble in Tahiti," A Quiet Place was roundly panned at its 1983 Houston premiere. It would undergo several revisions by the composer and librettist Stephen Wadsworth before finally earning praise - under a 2010 production staged by revisionist director Christopher Alden.

"Interdisciplinary artist" Garth Edwin Sunderland's chamber adaption of the relatively obscure opera will prove to be the latest "revision." Sunderland had previously authored new editions and performing versions of Bernstein's music, including Songfest and West Side Story. Currently serving as Senior Music Editor for the Leonard Bernstein Office, his CV can be found here.

From the OSM Press Release (link to the full release in the footnotes):


Decca Classics and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal are proud to present the world premiere recording of the chamber version of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘A Quiet Place’, adapted by Garth Edwin Sunderland. It is conducted by Kent Nagano and will be released on 22nd June, ahead of the Bernstein centenary on 25th August 2018.

Premiered in 1983, Bernstein’s opera ‘A Quiet Place’ was the composer’s last work written for the stage and remains one of his lesser known large-scale compositions. The concert-version presented on the new album features a chamber orchestra and was recorded live at the Maison symphonique de Montréal in May 2017. Garth Edwin Sunderland’s adaptation offers a compact presentation of the three-act opera which places equal focus on librettist Stephen Wadsworth’s dramatic narrative and Bernstein’s complex and highly developed late musical style.

Kent Nagano was introduced to Bernstein by Seiji Ozawa in 1984 and studied with him until his death in 1990. Nagano says, “For Bernstein music was life – the two were synonymous, inseparable. He never stopped exploring and pushing his own compositional language. The goal in this particular adaptation is to allow the spirited brilliance and poetic depth of the work to shine through – including dance rhythms and elements of American folklore. Our hope is that the timeless and universal quality of the piece and the genius of the composition are laid bare in this new recording.”

Joining Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal on this new album is an outstanding group of young singers featuring soprano Claudia Boyle as Dede and tenor Joseph Kaiser as François. The cast also includes: baritones Gordon Bintner, Lucas Meachem and Daniel Belcher; tenors Rupert Charlesworth and John Tessier; mezzo-sopranos Annie Rosen and Maija Skille; and bass Steven Humes; as well as the OSM Chorus led by chorus master Andrew Megill.

‘A Quiet Place’ is an audacious musical-dramatic exploration of the changing face of American society. As Garth Edwin Sunderland, Senior Music Editor at the Leonard Bernstein Office, said of the composer’s late opera, “It’s such a brilliant work, the culmination of what he accomplished and the culmination of his gifts as a composer. Creating this adaptation was a deeply powerful experience for me, and it is my hope that it will provide audiences with a similar experience of this great American opera.”

Pre-ordering is currently available: A Quiet Place - Nagano

Listen below to the Prelude from "A Quiet Place," conducted by its composer:

*not including Bernstein's 1953 operetta, Candide.
External links:
Press Release - OSM
 - Rose.

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