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Scott Wheeler’s Songs Recorded For Naxos

August 6, 2009

Scott Wheeler
Recently, pianist Donald Berman joined a number of singers to record songs by American composer Scott Wheeler. Grammy® Award-winning producer Adam Abeshouse wrote of the recording sessions:

‘The recording of Scott Wheeler’s songs strikes me as real musical news. He has come up with a fresh approach to American art song by going back to the basics—clearly set, communicative poetry with appealingly direct vocal lines and smart, idiomatic accompaniments. You can tell that Scott studied with American vocal-music master Virgil Thomson. You can also tell that he has spent many years performing the American musical theater repertoire. His songs have quite an expressive range, but all of them speak clearly, especially in the outstanding performances by Susannah Phillips, Krista River, Joseph Kaiser and William Sharp. Each singer is a major artist and each is experienced singing Scott’s music. The pianist Donald Berman has also performed and recorded Scott’s music; Don’s work adds another dimension to a vocal disc in which he is never merely an accompanist but always a full musical partner. This should be a knockout of a disc.’

Scott Wheeler’s acclaimed opera The Construction of Boston has been released on Naxos 8.669018:

WHEELER The Construction of Boston
Elizabeth Anker, contralto
Charles Blandy, tenor
Marcus DeLoach, baritone
William Hite, tenor
Sharla Nafziger, soprano
Christòpheren Nomura, baritone
Krista River, mezzo-soprano
Christine Swistro, soprano
The Boston Cecilia Chorus & Orchestra
Donald Teeters, conductor


‘The music is accessible, edgily tonal most of the time, with a feeling of Bernstein-style Broadway in some of the choruses. The vocal writing is idiomatic and the words come through very clearly. Wheeler’s rhythmic style is beat-oriented but also free and striking. His orchestration is inventive—bright and arresting. The vocal performances are solid to excellent, with standout performances by tenor William Hite (as “The Opera” and Jean Tinguely), soprano Sharla Nafziger (as Niki de St Phalle), and baritone Christòpheren Nomura (as Robert Rauschenberg; I told you it was an allegory). The chorus and orchestra of The Boston Cecilia, led by Donald Teeters, give very good accountings of themselves. The sound in this concert performance is very good. Everything is audible and the balance is as good as you would find in a studio recording.’ (Sequenza21)


Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group