Jake Gardner | Musgrave’s ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’
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Owl Creek Bridge

Musgrave’s ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’

Posted by Julie in News, Recording Release 18 Apr 2011

Recording Release—April 18, 2011

“Jake Gardner speaks a few lines too, but when he sings he is transformed, both by the music and by his own remarkable talent, into an eloquent, passionate man whose character we can believe in and whose story moves and inspires us.”
—William Hedley, Music Web International

Thea Musgrave: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1981)
(2007) and Wild Winter I (1993)
Released: 18 April 2011
Catalog Num: NMC D167 

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was commissioned by the BBC as an “opera for radio”, based on the short story of the same name written in the late 19th century by Ambrose Bierce. This is the BBC recording of the first performance (20 December 1981) performed by baritone Jake Gardner, narrator Gayle Hunnicutt and speakers David Healey and Ed Bishop with the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Thea Musgrave.

“Taking place during the American Civil War, it is the tragic story of Peyton Farquar, a planter from the South, who falls foul of the Yankee forces. Contemporary composers of opera are frequently criticized, often with some justification, for their apparent inability to spin out a memorable vocal line that both moves the action forward and evokes character, leaving the orchestra to do the work instead. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Thea Musgrave is not totally immune from such criticism, yet there is no doubt that such sung passages of this remarkable work achieve real lyricism, expressiveness and a most moving intensity…”

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