Henry Purcell was one of England’s greatest song writers of the 17th century. This recording is a veritable potpourri for the listener with two dozen songs, some rarely recorded, offering a wide range of expression. Reviews have praised this recording for its beauty.
“Seldom have these songs of Purcell been given such thoughtful renditions by both singer and harpsichordist… a gorgeous voice, extraordinary continuo playing.”
American Record Guide.
“If you love beautiful soprano voices, communicative singing or great Purcell songs, I recommend this disc.”
“Ohhh Henry! joyfully transcends… Of the three new soprano collections Morris has the richest imagination in both the selection and interpretation of the music.”
Washington Post Donsuemor DSM 20601
When Susan and harpsichordist Phebe Craig met and performed with renown Scottish fiddle Alasdair Fraser, they discovered the songs of Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet. Few people know that Burns collected his native tunes and songs and created poetry to many of the wonderful fiddle tunes he loved. Featured on National Public Radio on Robert Burns birthday, it includes the original version of Auld Lang Syne, which has been played on public radio on New Year’s Eve. “This wonderful performance engendered more response that just about any recording we can remember, in this or any other year” said Martin Goldsmith of Performance Today of NPR. “Hauntingly beautiful renditions, skilled, loving, exquisite.” Washington Post Donsuemor DSM 40601
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“Among the Lasses” is the second in the trio collection of the beloved songs of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. Soprano Susan Rode Morris and harpsichordist Phebe Craig offer a look at one way Burns heard his songs played. They have gone back to the original tunes and have created their own bass lines and arrangements based on their knowledge of 18th century music. The poetry and tunes are delightful and refreshing. Burns was not a composer, but a great collector of his national music. He took existing songs that were only partly remembered and rewrote the verses to “mend them” as he wrote. He set his poetry to his favorite fiddle or bagpipe tunes. Reviews include American Record Guide’s comments: “Morris sings with wonderful abandon, never losing control of tone or intonation. She has a lovely lilting voice, sometimes changing her tome quality to a surprising degree as she finds the right timbre for a special moment.” “Morris and Craig approach the world of 18th century music making in a most profound way.” Donsuemor DSM 51201
This recording is the most recent from Donsuemor. It contains the heartmelting songs and rousing fiddle tunes from the “Celebration of Robert Burns”, a highly successful performance piece based on the life of Scotland’s National Poet, who lived in the 18th century, and wrote poetry that was expressive and captured the spirit of the human heart, so that he is called the Bard of Humanity. Shira Kammen’s amazing fiddling shouldn’t be missed!Includes cellist David Morris and harpsichordist Phebe Craig. Includes liner notes and the poetry, with translation of the Scot’s dialect. Features such songs as “My Love is like a red, red rose”, ‘Bonny Wee Thing”, ”Flow Gently Sweet Afton”, and lots of traditional jigs and reels. Donsuemor DSM 21005
“Visions and Miracles” is the first recording from the American medieval group Ensemble Alcatraz. This recording features selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria and Las Huelgas manuscript of 13th century Spain, and instrumental pieces. The Cantigas are wonderful miracle tales collected by King Alfonso El Sabio. Performers include Susan Rode Morris soprano, Shira Kammen vielle, Kit Higginson recorder and psaltery, Cheryl Ann Fulton medieval harp, and Peter Maund percussion. This recording created Ensemble Alcatraz’s reputation for innovative and compelling performance of medieval music, with the most lively and imaginative arrangements. Reviews include:” these pieces are marvelously tuneful with rhythmic inflections that show the profound influence of the Moors in Spain.” “Lively, committed performances. The style is flamboyant in the best sense, conveying a real excitement and fervor about the material. Vocal and instrumental execution is superb. We don’t have a lot of medieval specialists in this country, and for a debut album, this is a spectacular success.” “Lovers of sensual and exultant lead female vocals will rejoice at the dynamic performances of Susan Rode Morris.”
“Danse Royale” is Ensemble Alcatraz’s second recording of medieval French songs and instrumental pieces. The songs are sung in medieval French and Anglo Norman. This recording features music that is proudly secular, celebrating the delights of courtly love. The performances vary depending on the subject matter of the songs and the style of the poetry. Ensemble Alcatraz’s performances of medieval music blend scholarship, musicianship with intuition to bring to life these pieces from the past. “Susan Rode Morris is the group’s vocalist, a vivid performer and master of many languages. the instrumentalists are just as expert, but never indulge in the kind of oversell that seemed to be obligatory in medieval music a generation ago.” The San Francisco Examiner wrote” Thanks to the sterling performances, this ancient music leaps seven centuries with uncommon eloquence. The verse is both florid and earthy, and the emotive content matters more than sheer sonority. Highlights Susan Rode Morris, a soprano with a voluptuous voice and an intensely focused delivery. In her own corner of the musical world, she’s a superstar. Her singing is pure pleasure.”
Cantigas de Amigo, songs of a friend, is Ensemble Alcatraz’s third album with guest artists Kitka joining them in 13th century Galician Portuguese songs and dances of love, longing and devotion. The CD includes the stunning collection of songs by Martim Codax, as well as poems set to tunes composed by Ensemble Alcatraz. This is a wonderful album of beautiful songs and the expressive singing of Susan with the powerful choral singing of Kitka. Dorian Recordings DOR – 90285
Susan particularly enjoys singing with a consort of viols, whose sound is warm and sonorous. She joins Sex Chordae Consort of Viols, directed by John Dornenburg, and tenor Scott Whitaker in music from the Renaissance. Includes songs of Josquin Des Prez, Heinrich Isaac, Jacob Obrecht, and Ludwig Senfl. This ensemble performed this program to rave reviews in the early music festival in Regensburg, Germany. Centaur Records CRC 2548
“Music for a Winter’s Eve” is a collection of traditional, Renaissance and medieval songs and dances to celebrate midwinter and the changing of the season, to bring light to the darkness. Performers include Susan, Shira Kammen, violin and alto voice, Eileen Hadidian, recorder and baroque flute, Maureen Brennan, Celtic harp, and Julie Jeffrey, viola da gamba. The recording was produced by Healing Muses, an organization that brings music to hospitals and hospice organizations to help soothe patients who are ill. Healing Muses Productions HM 0903
Also featured of these recording of Shira Kammen: Castle of the Holly King (Bright Angel Records), Almanac (Bright Angel Records) www.shirakammen.com , and 20th Anniversary recording compilation disc of the San Francisco Revels, and DisContinuo on Katastrophe Records.