George Crumb Edition, Volume 10


These discs present first recordings of two major George Crumb song cycles- his Ives-inspired, The River of Life, and his Appalachian Unto the Hills in its first complete recording. Both of these cycles were written for the composer’s daughter, soprano Ann Crumb, who performs them here with Orchestra 2001. The two cycles are part of Crumb’s magnum opus– his American Songbook series– a group of works that have occupied the composer for the past five years. The River of Life sets some of the most popular and enduring pieces of American folklore, including Amazing Grace, Give Me That Old Time Religion, and Deep River. Using more than 100 percussion instruments, along with amplified piano, The River of Life presents one of Crumb’s most colorful and inventive scores to date. Unto the Hills was released by Bridge on an earlier disc, but, after the composer went on to write three more volumes of his American Songbooks, he returned to the score of Unto the Hills, adding another song to give the cycle its final shape. This song has been added to the earlier recording, and includes the composer himself performing as narrator.


The River of Life (2003): Songs of Joy and Sorrow

A Cycle of Hymns, Spirituals and Revival Tunes for Singer, Percussion Quartet and Amplified Piano [American Songbook I]

*premiere recording

Ann Crumb, soprano

Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor

Unto the Hills: Songs of Sadness, Yearning and Innocence

A Cycle of Appalachian Songs for Voice, Percussion Quartet and Amplified Piano [American Songbook III]

*premiere recording of complete cycle

Ann Crumb, soprano; George Crumb narrator

Orchestra 2001, James Freeman, conductor