- Format: CD
Doreen Taylor-Claxton is mesmerizing and Valerie Dueck sparkles in The Spinning Wheel. Having charmed Ottawa audiences with their engaging performances this piano vocal duo, will captivate with works by Schubert, Bizet, Kennedy-Fraser and more. The quiet, rhythmic and repetitive task of spinning allowed women of the past precious moments for private reflection. Their musings on love, it's pains and joys coupled with the rhythmic sounds of the wheel, proved to be a source of inspiration for the poets and composers whose songs begin and end this CD. The three Schubert lieder are based on texts by Goethe; two from Goethe's Faust. In Der König in Thule, Gretchen a simple peasant girl, having just met Faust, sings a ballad of the faithful King of Thule. Gretchen am Spinnrade is generally considered Schubert's first masterpiece. A declaration of desire, the incessant rhythmic motive, shifting harmonic colours and mounting dynamic intensity portray Gretchen's breached mind and shattered soul. The strophic structure of Die Spinnerin, spins a story much like Gretchen's with transparent simplicity. The songs by Bizet evoke a similarly hypnotic mood and the theme of love, hopeful, passionate and lost continues. Canadian composer Oskar Morawetz, known for his rhythmic vitality and unusual coloration, varies repetitive rhythms over changing meters creating an interrupted and sporadic effect as a lovesick girl laments, "Mother, I cannot mind my wheel." Marjory Kennedy Fraser's Spinning Song reveals her sensitive respect for the songs she transcribed from the rich tradition of the Hebridean Isles. Her arrangement delicately illuminates and supports this one-time work song. The melody of Sir J.F. Waller's ballad The Spinning Wheel is sometimes attributed to Delia Murphy who recorded the song in 1939. The charm of this folk classic has ensured it's enduring appeal.