Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert

To Wake the Dead
Symphony RiverRun
Flower of the Mountain
Sun's Heat
Ecce puer

Stephen Albert (1941-1992)
In 1992, one of America's most promising young composers was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize in music for his Symphony RiverRun, Stephen Albert was an immenselly talented artist, a Romantic whose lyricism was often driven by a robust energy that looked to the works of Sibelius, Stravinsky and Ives. He drew upon Joyce for much of his inspiration, completing a half-dozen works based on Finnegans Wake and Ulysses.

To Wake The Dead -- (1978) This is a cycle of six songs and one instrumental interlude, with lyrics pulled from the text of Finnegans Wake.

TreeStone -- (1982) Another song cycle form Finnegans Wake, based loosely on the Tristan and Iseult legend.

Symphony RiverRun -- (1983) A symphony in four movements, its overall musical theme taking Finnegans Wake as its source of inspiration. It shares material and is related with TreeStone. This piece -- which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 -- is one of my favorite works of music, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Distant Hills -- (1987-89) For tenor, soprano & orchestra. Based on texts from Ulysses, this two-piece suite contains Sun's Heat and Flower of the Mountain.

Ecce puer -- (1992) For soprano and chamber ensemble. A setting of the Joyce poem of the same name. It has not been commercially recorded.

Links/CDs/Sound Samples

You can read more about Stephen Albert at the G. Schirmer Albert Page.

A small article on Albert's death and the premiere of his Symphony No. 2 may be found here on Time Magazine's Web site.

You may listen to sound samples and/or purchase Stephen Albert CDs online from below:

Albert: Violin Concerto, TreeStone
Stephen Albert / Audio CD / Released 1989

Albert: Symphony RiverRun, To Wake the Dead
Stephen Albert / Audio CD / Released 1989

Yo-Yo Ma - The New York Album: Albert's Cello Concerto
Stephen Albert (Composer), et al / Audio CD / Released 1994
(No Joyce content! Just a great Cello Concerto!)

--A. Ruch
14 December 2000
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