The Star in the Pail

The Star in the Pail

TTBB (also available in SSAA and SATB with piano accompaniment)

A setting of six poems of David McCord. Commissioned by the MeistUrsingers chorus of the Tavern Club, Boston, in honor of Elliot Forbes.

Movements:
Earth Song
The Cow Has A Cud
The Starfish
The Star In The Pail
A Thing That I Love
Epitaph For A Waiter

Composed: 2004
Text: David McCord
Duration: 9:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishers distributed by Subito Music Corp.
Catalog Number(s): PTM 471 (TTBB)
PTM 472 (SSAA)
PTM 473 (SATB)


Reviews:

“Two of those regulars were performed on this program, titled “Premiere! American Poetry Settings.” One was Ronald Perera, who was on hand for the New York premiere of “The Star in the Pai,” six songs set to whimsical poems by David McCord. Though the texts are pretty light, Mr. Perera’s pleasure in the fanciful words comes through in his appealing, quirky music, which the choristers sang with rich sound and liveliness.”
The New York Times Review Saturday, May 25, 2013

“Adding a touch of whimsical humor to the first half were Ronald Perera’s “The Star in the Pail,” cleverly imagined settings of six children’s poems by David McCord. Particularly, the perky, percussive “The Cow Has a Cud” and “The Starfish,” with its comical barroom piano vamp, drew chuckles from the audience. A part-time Cape resident, Perera was on hand to provide a brief, insightful commentary.”
Cape Cod Times 2/7/2006

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Audio Excerpt:

Performed by the Chamber singers of the Chatham Chorale. Conducted by Margaret Bossi, director.

Earth Song:
The Cow Has A Cud:
The Starfish:
The Star in the Pail 2017-10-03T00:10:52+00:00

When Music Sounds

When Music Sounds

SATB Chorus with Piano Accompaniment
Commissioned with the assistance of the Fromm Foundation for Thomas F. Kelly’s “First Nights” course of 2015 at Harvard University.

Composed: 2015
Text: Music (Walter de la Mare)
Music When Soft Voices Die (Percy Bysshe Shelley)
Musician Wrestle Everywhere (Emily Dickinson)
Duration: 9:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishers distributed by Subito Music Corp.
Catalog Number(s): 80504011


Reviews:

“A beautiful piece, perfectly suited to its purpose. Thrilling to its first audience, this is a work that shows how beautifully crafted music can have an immediate appeal.”
Thomas Forrest Kelly, Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music, Harvard University

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Audio Excerpts:
Performed by The Harvard University Choir, Director Edward Elwyn Johns; members of Harvard’s Collegium Musicum, DirectorAndrew Clark; Thomas Sheehan, Piano

1. Music

2. Music When Soft Voices Die

When Music Sounds 2017-10-03T00:10:52+00:00

A Soldier’s Carol

A Soldier’s Carol

SATB Chorus unaccompanied
Commissioned by the Harvard University Choir, Edward Jones, Organist and Choirmaster of Harvard Memorial Church, for the 2014 Carol Service. This setting of the well known Christmas poem ‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’ restores some of the language that is commonly left out of most hymnals. This setting restores some of the anguish associated with the Civil War and allows for a tension not often associated with this text. A powerful setting.

“The title of the original Longfellow poem is ‘Christmas Bells.’ Charles Appleton Longfellow was the eldest son of the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Fannie Elizabeth Appleton, who lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In March of 1863, with the Civil War then in its third year, nineteen year old Charley ran away to Washington to join the Union Army. He presented himself for enlistment to the commander of Battery A of the 1st Massachusetts Artillery, who knew the boy. The officer contacted Henry who reluctantly gave his permission for the boy to enlist.

Charley proved himself such an exceptional soldier that he was soon offered a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Artillery. He first saw action at the Battle of Chancellorsville. In June he was briefly invalided home following a bout of typhoid fever and malaria, rejoining his unit in August. Then in November, during the Battle of New Hope Church, Charley was shot through the left shoulder, the bullet just grazing his spine. He narrowly avoided being paralyzed. Henry received word of Charley’s wounding on December 1, and he and a younger son went immediately to Washington, where Charley was in hospital, and brought him home to Cambridge. It was while nursing his son in his slow recovery that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow composed this poem during Christmas, 1863.” -Ronald Perera

Composed: 2014
Text: Christmas Bells (1863) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Duration: 4:40
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 8320


Reviews:

“Ronald Perera’s A SOLDIER’S CAROL was the powerful centerpiece of Harvard University’s 105th Annual Christmas Carol Services in December 2014. Longfellow’s moving poem was a fitting commemoration to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and Perera’s haunting setting memorialized the centenary of the start of World War One in a building that itself commemorates the sacrifice of Harvard’s own in that conflict. It was one of those remarkable occasions when word, music, and environment inform each other to create a beautiful whole.”
Edward Elwyn Jones, Organist and Choirmaster, Harvard Memorial Church





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Performance by Harvard University Choir, Edward Elwyn Jones, conductor.

A Soldier’s Carol 2017-10-03T00:10:52+00:00

North Country


North Country

SATB Chorus with Piano Accompaniment

Commisssioned by the Da Camera Singers of Amherst, MA for their 2011 season. A setting of five early poems by Robert Frost.

Contents:

  • To the Thawing Wind
  • Stars
  • Revelation
  • Fire and Ice
  • Going for Water
Composed: 2010
Text: Robert Frost
Duration: 12:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): PTM 4001


Reviews:

“Ronald Perera set “North Country,” five poems by Robert Frost. Their theme was self-concealment and, in the central poem, revelation. The music was perfectly fitted to the poetry, occasionally dissonant and more often delicate and clear, in keeping with the beautiful conclusion of “Going for Water” (the last poem), “We heard, we knew we heard the brook.” The chorus was the Northfield Mount Hermon Singers, whose young voices and disciplined performance were the musical and emotional highlight of the concert.”

Daily Hampshire Gazette 1/23/2014





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Audio Excerpts:

2. Stars

5. Going for Water

North Country 2017-10-03T00:10:55+00:00

Hildegard Magnificat


Hildegard Magnificat

Available for SSA or SATB choir with Organ Accompaniment

Composed for the 2009 Christmas Vespers concert at Smith College, which featured new music commissioned for the occasion based on chants composed by the 12th-century composer, artist and mystic Hildegard von Bingen. This Magnificat setting is inspired by Hildegard’s Marian antiphon Quia ergo femina. The original SSA version is dedicated to the Smith College Glee Club, Jonathan Hirsh, director.

Composed: 2009
Text inspired by: Hildegard von Bingen’s Marian antiphon Quia ergo femina.
Duration: 4:30
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): SSA Version, 7624
SATB Version, 7625


Reviews:

“The Hildegard Magnificat takes its name from the source of the main musical motif, namely an antiphon by Hildegard von Bingen. This work is probably more at home in a concert setting than at an Evensong, and while it uses the Rite I text, it does not include a Gloria Patri. The Smith College Glee Club commissioned the work, thus the treble version is the original. The mixed choir arrangement simply redistributes the parts without changing a note of the organ. Perera approaches the text atmospherically, creating a sense of exalted mystery. The closing moments resolve the loose E minor tonality with a surprise Picardy third and minor seventh, and this nebulous harmony typifies the evocative effect of the entire setting. The treble version relies on part divisions to fill our harmonies, requiring an ensemble large enough to cover six parts. The mixed choir voicing would be accessible to most volunteer groups.”

The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians November, 2013

Hildegard Magnificat



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SSA Audio Excerpt:
Audio excerpt performed by the Smith College Glee Club, Jonathan Hirsh, director, Grant Moss, organ.

Hildegard Magnificat 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

A Dickinson Set


A Dickinson Set

SATB Chorus A Cappella

A cappella settings of three Emily Dickinson poems including the well known “Wild Nights.” Dedicated to Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers.

Movements:

  1. Ample Make This Bed
  2. Wild Nights
  3. Bring Me the Sunset In a Cup
Composed: 2009
Text by: Emily Dickinson
Duration: ~5:45
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): 80500491
A Dickinson Set



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Audio Excerpt:

A Dickinson Set 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Why I Wake Early


Why I Wake Early

SATB Chorus with String Quartet & Piano Accompaniment

Settings of eight Poems of Mary Oliver that are highly contrasting in texture and mood, trace a cycle in the natural world from dawn of one day to dawn of the next. This piece was co-commissioned by the Chatham Chorale and the New Amsterdam Singers.

Composed: 2006
Text by: Mary Oliver
Duration: 23:005
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Piano/Vocal Score, 80500482
Full Score, 80500481


Reviews:

Poems by Mary Oliver are the basis of Ronald Perera’s colourful and poignant Why I Wake Early, named for the last of eight sections that move from one morning to the next. Both composers season their essentially tonal language with harmonic spices but what stands out in each score is expressive vocal and instrumental writing that flows from the texts with idiomatic grace and intensity. These are deeply affecting pieces and meaningful additions to the choral repertoire…. In his settings of the Oliver poems, Perera places the chorus in a series of glistening soundscapes in collaboration with string quartet and piano. The final titular poem basks in reflective beauty before taking euphoric wing on the words “I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”

Gramaphone (UK) December 2012

Nature demanded its due on Sunday afternoon, as clocks pushed forward for daylight savings time provided an extra hour of sunlight to observe debris strew by the ferocious windstorm on Saturday night. The New Amsterdam Singers seemed to have planned in advance with “As Nature Wakes,” an enjoyable mix of American and Czech works featuring nature as subject or metaphor, presented that afternoon at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

This adventurous amateur chorus, founded by the conductor, Clara Longstreth in 1968, celebrated its 40th anniversary with the New York premiere of Ronald Perera’s “Why I Wake Early,” jointly commissioned by it and the Chatham Chorale of Cape Cod, Mass. Mr. Perera set eight poems by Mary Oliver, a Cape Cod poet, for mixed chorus, string quartet, and piano.

Ms. Oliver’s poetry, which has drawn comparisons to the work of Emerson and Thoreau, reveals an awestruck regard of nature that verges on the religious: “What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven,” she writes in “I Looked Up,” the fifth poem in Mr. Perera’s cycle. Her work also demonstrates a discerning eye and an ability to render vivid images with a few deft strokes.

Mr. Perera sensitively underscores both attributes in a cycle spanning a day from one dawn to the next, linked by a subtle, recurring four-note motif. His music neatly conjures Ms. Oliver’s rippling pond, wary crows, flitting bats and lazily unspooling snake. At the same time, the work’s dramatic progression, from the shivering anticipation of “Morning at Great Pond” to the radiant affirmation of the concluding title poem, “Why I Wake Early,” does justice to the poet’s more transcendental intents. Enhanced by Mr. Perera’s estimable knack for setting English, this is a substantial addition to the choral canon.

The New York Times, 3/11/2008

Saturday’s Chatham Chorale concert at the Yarmouth Congregational Church gave listeners much to celebrate.


It marked the 20th year of Margaret Bossi’s tenure as director, and the concert became a special evening of Americana through works by composers with Massachusetts origins or connections — Leonard Bernstein, Irving Fine, Aaron Copland and the composer Ronald Perera. Perera’s composition Why I Wake Early, based on eight poems by Cape poet Mary Oliver, was given its world premiere and formed the centerpiece of the program.


In the tradition of the New England Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau, Oliver’s poems are inspired by nature and our relationship to it. Her vision is essentially upbeat without denying the harsh realities of the natural world. She has written: “Every poem is music — a determined, persuasive, reliable, enthusiastic and crafted music.”


Perera, a Northampton resident who taught at Smith College for 30 years, has remarkably and faithfully caught and enunciated the spirit of that statement.


His music is eminently approachable (no hard lessons here in “self-improvement”) and wraps around the music of the poems comfortably and with telling effect.


In “Entering the Kingdom,” a piece about the poet tentatively entering the alien realm inhabited by crows, the composer used the time-tested techniques of a repeated passage in the bass, extended chords and skipping upward scales aided by dialogue from a skilled string quartet. In “Bats,” with its swooping choral and instrumental word painting and string and piano tremolos, the chorale sang well within itself presenting some of the best ensemble work of the evening.


The eighth and final setting of the work Why I Wake Early concludes the work on an unapologetically optimistic note. This is Perera’s second commission for the chorale, having written in 1991, The Outermost House, based on Henry Beston’s book about his solitary winter on the Cape in the mid-1920s.


Perera writes exceedingly well for the chorale and this work should find a permanent place in the American choral canon.

Cape Cod Times, 11/12/2007

Why I Wake Early



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Audio Excerpt:
Audio excerpt is movement eight of Why I Wake Early. Performed by Con Allegro, David Hodgkins, conductor.

12. Why I Wake Early

Why I Wake Early 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Out of Small Beginnings


Out of Small Beginnings

SATB Chorus with brass quintet, timpani and organ, or organ alone

The second section of The Light Here Kindled. The parent work was commissioned for the 350th anniversary of Harvard University. The moving text of this work is from William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation; it is about how faith can spread “as one small candle can light a thousand.”

Composed: 1986
Text from: William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation
Duration: 5:30
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Choral Score, 80500416
Full Score and Parts, 80500415




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Audio Excerpt:
Audio excerpt performed by the Harvard University Choir with the Cambridge Brass Ensemble, John Ferris, conductor.

Out of Small Beginnings 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

The Crown of Praise


The Crown of Praise

SSATTB Chorus A Cappella

A setting of three of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne.

Composed: 1962
Text by: John Donne
Duration: 11:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): PTM 461
The Crown of Praise



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The Crown of Praise 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

The Garden Hymn


The Garden Hymn

SATB or TBB A Cappella

A Southern Folk-Hymn. Commissioned by the Harvard University Choir.

Composed: 1961
Text by: John Donne
Duration: 3:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): SATB Version, 2715
TBB Version, 6217
The Garden Hymn



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SATB Audio Excerpt:

The Garden Hymn 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Did You Hear the Angels Sing


Did You Hear the Angels Sing

Soprano solo, SATB chorus, and Organ

Commissioned in memory of Samuel H. Miller by the Harvard University Choir for its annual carol service. The text is Christmas Carol by Samuel H. Miller.

Composed: 1968
Text by: Samuel H. Miller
Duration: 6:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 2914


Reviews:

Samuel H. Miller’s poem is dramatically stated by Perera within contemporary sonorities. An independent organ part elevates itself as an equal to the more chordal lines. Organist as well as singers should be experienced in this Christmas work. Recommended for the better adult church choirs.

The Choral Journal 3/75

Did You Hear the Angels Sing



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Did You Hear the Angels Sing 2017-10-03T00:10:56+00:00

Earthsongs


Earthsongs

Soli and SSA/SSAA or SATB chorus with
2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, percussion (one player), harp, strings or piano

A celebration of some of E. E. Cummings’ most vivid nature poetry. Commissioned by the Smith College Glee Club, Theodore Morrison, director.

American Music CD cover Earthsongs is available on American Journey, a CD collection of Unusual choral works in exciting performances. Performed by New Amsterdam Singers, Elizabeth Rodgers, piano, Clara Longstreth, conductor. On Albany Records, Troy108.

Available from Albany Records
Available on iTunes

Movements:

  1. O sweet spontaneous earth
  2. in Just-spring
  3. as is the sea marvelous
  4. All in green went my love riding
  5. when god lets my body be
  6. i thank You God


Reviews:

Composed in 1974, the “Earthsongs” are settings of poems by Sappho (“Alone”), Adelaid Crapsey (“Triad”), and Tzu Yeh (“I am the North Pole”). Together their total duration is about twelve minutes. Though difficult and highly dissonant, the choral parts are not be yond the capacity of a well trained college ensemble; indeed the work is a worthy addition to the twentieth-century repertoire for women’s voices…. College-age singers can and probably should strengthen their musicianship on contemporary compositions such as this.

Music Library Association, NOTES 3/80

Ronald Perera, born in 1941, excels in choral music, and Clara Longstreth is doing a great service in bringing his work to the public. On the present disc we hear his Earthsongs (1983) on texts by e.e. cummings. These are sublime pieces, and immediately advance to the front rank of cummings’settings. “In Just-spring” and “as is the sea marvelous” are particularly fine, but in fact I like all six pieces.

Fanfare Magazine, Winter 1994 (review of Albany CD, Troy 108)

Earthsongs



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SSA/SSAA Version Audio Excerpts:

No. 1 O sweet spontaneous earth

No. 2 In Just-spring

No. 3 As is the sea marvelous

No. 4 All in green went my love riding

No. 5 When God lets my body be

No. 6 I thank You God

SATB Version Audio Excerpts:

No. 1 O sweet spontaneous earth

No. 2 In Just-spring

No. 3 As is the sea marvelous

No. 4 All in green went my love riding

No. 5 When God lets my body be

No. 6 I thank You God

Earthsongs 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

The Canticle of the Sun


The Canticle of the Sun

Narrator, SATB chorus, Synthesized accompaniment (CD) or Keyboard

A dramatic cantata in which the narrator sets forth, in English, events from the life of St. Francis, and the chorus sings, in Italian, the sections of his famous poem. Commissioned for the 100th anniversary of Groton School. St. Francis of Assisi’s poetry praises the creation of the sun, moon, earth, wind, water, fire. Very appealing synthesized accompaniment, excellent historical/performance notes. (Italian text in Umbrian dialect.)

The Outermost House CD cover The Outermost House: The late Robert Lurtsema narrates these colorful, melodic works. Includes Robert Perera’s The Outermost House performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Nancy Armstrong, soprano, Robert J. Lurtsema, narrator and The Canticle of the Sun performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Robert J. Lurtsema, narratorand .

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Movements:

  1. Processional
  2. Reading No. 1
  3. Chorus, “Altissimu omnipotente bon signore”
  4. Reading No. 2
  5. Chorus, “Laudatu sie, mi signore”
  6. Reading No. 3
  7. Chorus, “Laudato si’, mi signore, per quelli che perdonano”
  8. Reading No. 4
  9. Chorus, “Laudato si’, mi signore, per sora nostra morte corporale”
  10. Reading No. 5
  11. Hymn, “Laudate et benedicite mi signore”
  12. Recessional
Composed: 1984
Text by: St. Francis of Assisi
Duration: 21:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Complete Choral Score, 4280
Electronic Media, 4280A

Mvt. 5 Laudato sie, mi signore available separately:
Choral Score, 4084
Electronic Media, 4084A
The Canticle of the Sun



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Reviews:

Perera’s ability to set text to memorable music is very much in evidence but, perhaps influenced by both his principal text being in Latin as well as his chosen accompaniment, there is a feeling of pastiche, albeit one of very high quality, that comes into play. There is, if you will, a Monteverdi-meets-Philip Glass sensibility about a lot of the music. Still, there are beautiful moments, such as the entire ninth movement, set for unaccompanied choir.

John Story, Fanfare Magazine, May/June 1999 (review of Albany Troy CD 314)

The Canticle of the Sun 2017-10-03T00:54:28+00:00

The Light Here Kindled


The Light Here Kindled

Solo Baritone and SATB chorus with Brass Quintet, Timpani and Organ

Commissioned for the 350th anniversay of Harvard University. The text of the piece is from William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation. Following an opening solo baritone setting of Governor Bradford’s thanksgiving text, the chorus develops a motet out of a moving passage that starts “out of small beginnings.”

Composed: 1986
Duration: 8:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Full Score, PTM 411
Piano/Vocal Score, PTM 411a
The Light Here Kindled



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The Light Here Kindled 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

The Outermost House


The Outermost House

Narrator, Soprano solo, SATB chorus with Flute (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling english horn), 2 horns, piano, percussion (one player), 2 cellos, contrabass

Based on The Outermost House by Henry Beston, which recounts the experience of living for a year in a two-room cottage on the beach in Eastham, Cape Cod. With one exception, the odd-number movements are for the narrator, while the even numbers are usually for the chorus with and without the soprano.

Commissioned by the Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, director, in honor of its founder, Marjorie Bennett Morley.

The Outermost House CD cover The Outermost House: The late Robert Lurtsema narrates these colorful, melodic works. Includes Robert Perera’s The Outermost House performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Nancy Armstrong, soprano, Robert J. Lurtsema, narrator and The Canticle of the Sun performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Robert J. Lurtsema, narratorand .

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Movements:
1. East of America
2. My Western Windows
3. A New Sound on the Beach
4. The Sea Has Many Voices
5. Now Come the Sea Fowl
6. Glorious White Birds
7. A Year Indoors
8. That Multiplicity of Insect Tracks
9. The Wreck of the Montclair
10. Night on the Great Beach
11. It Was Still Night
12. My Year Upon the Beach
13. Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth

Composed: 1991
Duration: 40:00
Publisher: Music Associates of New York
Catalog Number(s): Vocal Score, MANY 001
Conductor’s score and parts available on rental.
Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth available separately:
SATB Version, MANY002MX
SSAA Version, MANY 002SA
TTBB Version MANY 002TB


Reviews:

Inspired by the 1927 writing of Henry Beston when he spent a year in virtual solitude at Eastham Beach, “The Outermost House” is a remarkable composition that possesses the musical power to reveal and communicate the many faces of nature when sea, land, sky, wind, and sand collide together in one expansive area. The Saturday night performance was breathtaking, the audience seemingly held spellbound by the unfolding musical drama.

Cape Cod Times 10/16/95

The final piece was “The Outermost House,” for chorus, soprano soloist, narrator and small instrumental ensemble, by Ronald Perera. This lovely work is a setting of the glowing prose of Henry Beston, from his book which recounts the year spent by the author dwelling in a small Cape Cod beach house. The book is a masterpiece of highly evocative nature writing, full of wonderful word pictures and impressions, which Perera beautifully enhanced with his music.

William Warfield, hale and ever-impressive at 81, narrated with dignity and feeling. Alison Chaney’s lovely soprano was a delight. The net effect was that of a masterful tone-painting in praise of one of the world’s very special places.

The Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, 6/3/01

When he is on form, Ronald Perera is among the finest living combiners of words and music alive. The major work here, The Outermost House, is as fine as the best pieces on the CRI disc. Writing on a commission from the Chatham Chorale of Cape Cod, Perera was persuaded to take as his text excerpts from The Outermost House by Henry Beston, which recounts the experience of living for a year in a two-room cottage on the barrier beach in 1925-26. Perera sets his excerptsfor narrator, soprano, chorus, and a small orchestra. With one exception, the odd-number movements are for the narrator (again the very musical Robert J. Lurtsema) while the even numbers are usually for the chorus with and without the soprano (the radiant Nancy Armstrong). As I mentioned in my earlier review, as Perera entered the 90s his idiom was becoming progressively more tonal in orientation. This is also to be found here. The music is simply lovely. Perera’s exquisite ability to set English words is everywhere in evidence as well as his extreme sensitivity to instrumental and vocal color put to service in a text. This is a major addition to the choral repertoire. For choirs able to field the modest additional forces required it should become something of a staple of their repertoire. Albany has put us in their considerable debt by making this marvelous music available to the larger CD-buying public in such a fine performance and recording.

John Story, Fanfare Magazine, May/June 1999 (review of Albany Troy CD 314)

Elegantly crafted, musically appealing, and stirring to the imagination as well as to the heart… Perera has created a musical setting that is more than just worthy of Beston’s masterpiece. It is a work that deserves to be heard often and not just on Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Times 11/18/91

Perera’s music supported graceful vocal writing with warm, embracing sonorities, vibrant rhythms, and (often a distinctive feature of his composition) effectively pictorial use of percussion. The succession of scenes hung together by virtue of returning motives or accompaniment figures which provided clear musical links between sections. The variety in its modes of expression always provided engagement for the ear. Perera had constructed a musical setting perfectly conceived for the diaristic nature of his chosen text, reflecting a barrage of stimuli being interpreted, ordered, and set forth by a single intellect.

Springfield (MA) Union-News 2/18/92

Although wisps of Samuel Barber, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Vincent Persichetti can be heard, Perera’s compositional style is fluent and singular… The last chorus, “Hold Out Your Hands over the Earth,” is a real tour de force. More tonal than the other movements, its universal theme makes it performable as a fine independent work.

Choral Journal 3/94

Perera’s emphasis on the essential elements of melody and harmony — the stuff of which all truly affecting music is made — provides the ideal chamber for the artistic amplification of Beston’s eloquent reflections on nature, compiled during a year spent alone on a Cape Cod beach. While the music is not based strictly on functional principles (standard chord progressions contained within a given key), it is woven persuasively out of the fabric of traditional triadic harmony and unified through the recurrence of seminal motives and key centers. The product is a persuasive marriage of form and content.

Milwaukee Sentinel 2/28/94

The combination of narrative and musical effects make “The Wreck of the Montclair” portion of “Outermost House” a truly powerful experience. Listeners last weekend actually felt the impact of the huge waves and the terror of their fury through Mr. Lurtsema’s dramatic reading of the events that took place in 1927 on a lone stretch of Atlantic beach. We were transported back in time to watch helplessly as the tragedy unfolded. We felt the terror of the sailors caught in an inescapable death trap as the ship was pounded to pieces in the tumultuous surf.

“The Outermost House” remains as a sort of lone witness to both the power and inscrutability of nature. After the tempest, Mr. Perera brought us back to the gentle ebb and flow of life at the beach, and the chorale gave a sublime rendering of the final “Hold Out Your Hands.” We were left with a wonderful sense of acceptance and peace.

The Cape Codder 10/17/95

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The Outermost House 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth


Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth

SATB, SSAA, or TTBB and Piano

The final movement of The Outermost House.

The Outermost House CD cover The Outermost House: The late Robert Lurtsema narrates these colorful, melodic works. Includes Robert Perera’s The Outermost House performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Nancy Armstrong, soprano, Robert J. Lurtsema, narrator and The Canticle of the Sun performed by Chatham Chorale, Margaret Bossi, conductor, Robert J. Lurtsema, narratorand .

Available on:
Albany Records
iTunes

Composed: 1991
Duration: 4:00
Publisher: Music Associates of New York
Catalog Number(s): SATB Version, MANY002MX
SSAA Version, MANY 002SA
TTBB Version MANY 002TB
Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth



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Hold Out Your Hands Over the Earth 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Psalm 126


Psalm 126

SATB and Brass quintet, timpani and organ

Composed for the 100th anniversary of St. John’s Church, Northampton, MA.

Composed: 1992
Based on: Psalms 126
Duration: 4:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 5187


Reviews:

This sophisticated setting will require solid brass players. Their music is well crafted and included for optional use by the organ in the absence of brass. The choir parts are challenging, but have been structured so that exposed lines occur in two unison parts, making them easier. Excellent music for advanced choirs. Brass parts are available separately from the publisher.

The Diapason, November 1998

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Psalm 126



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Psalm 126 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00

Three Love Lyrics


Three Love Lyrics

SA, SA, SATB (three choir version); SATB; SSAA with Six trumpets, two trombones (three choir version) or keyboard only (SATB and SSAA versions)

Commissioned by Five Colleges, Inc. for the 2000 Five College Choral Festival. It is available in several versions, including for three choirs (SA, SA, and SATB) and brass ensemble, for SSAA chorus and keyboard, and for SATB chorus and keyboard. The text is from The Song of Solomon.

Movements:
1. Behold, thou art fair
2. Rise up, my love
3. Set me as a seal

Composed: 1999
Duration: 5:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): Three Choirs (SA, SA, SATB) Version Choral Score, PMT 441
Brass Ensemble Parts, PMT 441A
SATB Chorus and Keyboard Version, PMT 442
SSAA Chorus and Keyboard Version, PMT 443
Three Love Lyrics 2017-10-03T00:10:57+00:00