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Marc Neikrug

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Canta-Concerto (2014)
Marc Neikrug Music
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
Solo Instrument(s)
Programme Note
Marc Neikrug Canta-Concerto (2014)
Composer Note:

The Canta-Concerto was composed with a specific thought in mind. Instrumental students are always told by their teachers that the voice is the most natural and beautiful instrument and should be imitated. But it struck me that with the exception of a concerto by Glière, there are no concertos for voice.

Since vocalists are very tied to "the word," they are always choosing a middle ground between diction and pure sound production. I wanted to write a piece where the sound production dominates and the range of emotional context was that of a concerto for an instrument. The piece is in four movements: a dramatic first movement, a scherzo-like interlude, a slow movement, and a finale that owes more than a bit to jazz.

— Marc Neikrug

Singers in all styles of music must find a balance between producing beautiful sounds and projecting words expressively, making them matter.

But in “Canta-Concerto” the American composer Marc Neikrug intentionally upends this expectation. The piece, which was given its premiere on Thursday evening by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert at David Geffen Hall, is in effect a 25-minute concerto for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. To allow the soloist maximum freedom to focus on expressive vocal sounds, Mr. Neikrug liberates the vocal part from text: The mezzo-soprano sings phonetic syllables, like “ah,” “oh,” “da” and such.

The brilliant soloist was the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. That you could make no sense of what she sang was the whole point of this skillfully written piece...
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times,02/10/2015
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