BERLIOZ: LES NUITS D'ÉTÉ, PALEJ: THE POET AND THE WAR

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Shannon joins Toronto's group of twenty-seven (g27) chamber orchestra and conductor Eric Paetkau in a program for Centaur Records featuring Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été and Norbert Palej’s two works, The Poet and the War, and Rorate Coeli.

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Shannon Mercer, soprano
group of twenty-seven
Eric Paetkau, conductor

Release date: February 2013 Centaur Records
Album ID: CE 3239

Track Listing

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7

1.     I Villanelle
2.     II Le Spectre de la rose
3.     III Sur les lagunes
4.     IV Absence
5.     V Au cimetiere
6.     VI L'Ile inconnue

Norbert Palej (1977-)
The Poet and the War

7.     I From Here…
8.     II Sparrows
9.     III Dark Lullaby
10.   IV Hangmen's Ballad
11.   V White Magic

Norbert Palej (1977-)
Rorate Coeli

12.     Allegro Feroce

"This is a fantastic debut album by one of Toronto classical treasures, soprano Shannon Mercer, teaming up with one of the city's greatest secrets, the Group of 27 chamber orchestra. Made up of some of our best players, this group can only get together when everyone is free at the same time, which isn't often. Their conductor, Eric Paetkau, leads a warm and luminous reading of Hector Berlioz's six-song cycle Les Nuits d'été (Summer Nights), orchestrated in 1856. Mercer shapes long, arching melodies with the unforced ease of someone sipping their second Long Island iced tea. This is a pool of song one wants to swim around in for hours." (Toronto Star, 25 February 2013)

"I was immediately captivated by Mercer's singing and could not stop listening or write a single word of comment until the entire cycle was finished. Yes, she's that good... Mercer does so much in the way of shading and dynamics that you wait with bated breath to hear how she will sing the next phrase, and the next, and the one after that. Despite having a small lyric voice and a very pure tone, Mercer constantly shades and colors her timbre like a master painter. I have not heard singing on this high a level of subtlety in expression since the days of Rita Streich... Every phrase is caressed so lovingly, the music emerging from her throat with a pearl-like shimmer and the dynamics changes so tastefully and subtly applied, that she makes of each song a special event. Sometimes her sound is strong and ringing, but more often it is fragile or wistful, and in this consistent metamorphosis of vocal timbre and color lies an entire universe of sound. You keep waiting for the spell to break, but it never does. This is the work of a master artist." (Fanfare, February 2013)