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“My piano concerto From Noon to Starry Night provides musical commentary on five poems by Walt Whitman. I attempted to amplify the implied meanings present in each poem – and even to create additional associations. This is accomplished in part by the allusion to and quotation of passages from well-known compositions having extra-musical narratives that echo the spirit and content of Whitman’s verses.

Aus Schwanengesang was composed in memory of Peter Worsley, who at the time of his death was president of the board of trustees for the North Carolina Symphony ... I met with Mr. Worsley’s widow, Shirley, to learn as much as I could about the man. During the course of our conversation, a single subject continued to emerge: the sea … I immediately recalled the Heine Lieder from Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang (“Swan Song”). These six poems that comprise the second part of Schubert’s song cycle contain images of the sea … Before my meeting with Mrs. Worsley was over, I had determined that these songs would serve as the point of departure for the commission.”

Claude Baker

BAKER, C.: Piano Concerto, "From Noon to Starry Night" / Aus Schwanengesang
Claude BAKER (b. 1948)
Piano Concerto
‘From Noon to Starry Night’1
Aus Schwanengesang2

Marc-André Hamelin, Piano1
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Gilbert Varga1 • Juanjo Mena2


Award-winning and much decorated composer Claude Baker here entwines his evocative soundworld with the powerful imagery of two great poets. Recorded in its premiere performance with Marc-André Hamelin as soloist, the Piano Concerto ‘From Noon to Starry Night’ draws on and amplifies the structures and meanings of five poems by Walt Whitman, expressing the heroism and darkness of war, exuberant celebrations of nature and a wistful ‘remembrance of things past.’ Aus Schwanengesang is a memorial piece that expands and ‘re-composes’ the poignant Heine Lieder from Schubert’s song cycle with oblique and multi-layered references.

Listen to an extract from Piano Concerto, "From Noon to Starry Night":
V. Ecstatic Ghost (for M-A.H.)

Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast
about this release

BAKER, C.: Glass Bead Game (The) / Awaking the Winds / Shadows / The Mystic Trumpeter
Claude BAKER (b. 1948)
The Glass Bead Game * • Awaking the Winds *
Shadows: Four Dirge-Nocturnes * • The Mystic Trumpeter

St. Louis Symphony
Leonard Slatkin * • Hans Vonk

“Claude Baker has a way of drawing the listener into sonic worlds both intriguing and eloquent. The works on this disc reveal the American composer’s command of dramatic tension, metaphoric imagery and orchestral colour.”

Listen to an extract from Claude Baker's
The Mystic Trumpeter:
The Dalliance of the Eagles

About the Artists
Marc-André Hamelin
Marc-André Hamelin, long known for his exploration of unfamiliar pianistic terrain, is now recognised worldwide for the originality and technical brilliance of his performances of the classic repertoire. In 2006, he was presented with the German Record Critics’ Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2015 he was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame. An Officer of the Order of Canada since 2003 and a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec since 2004, he is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
Gilbert Varga
Gilbert Varga, son of celebrated Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, has conducted many of the world's major orchestras. He has served as principal guest conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra (1997–2000) and music director of the Basque National Symphony Orchestra (1997–2008) leading them on tours across the UK, Germany, Spain and South America. In May 2013 Varga was appointed principal conductor of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Juanjo Mena
Juanjo Mena has served as artistic director and principal conductor of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, chief guest conductor of the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, and principal guest conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He has held the position of chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic since September 2011, with highlights including concerts at the BBC Proms, performances of Mahler and Bruckner symphonies, a Schubert cycle, several acclaimed recordings and a number of worldwide tours.
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Since its founding in 1930, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has emerged as one of America’s top orchestras. Each year, the ISO attracts the finest musicians, guest conductors, and artists from all over the world and presents quality classical, pops, family, and holiday programming to hundreds of thousands of people. The ISO has received national and international acclaim for its radio broadcasts, tours and recordings.
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