New Vocal Music by Peter Dayton
Music | Liner Notes | Texts | Illustrations | Credits
Following his 2022 release, STORIES OUT OF CHERRY STEMS, this latest collection of vocal music by Baltimore-based composer Peter Dayton reinforces his establishment as a mature and formidable talent in the world of art song. ALL IN THE SOUND captures the heart of the genre: duet between voice and accompaniment. Characteristically and integrally, Dayton’s songs exhibit internal compositional logics of pervasive rhythmic patterns and intervallic relationships that create music that still viscerally satisfies. The album takes listeners on a captivating journey through physical, emotional, and abstract imagery. Triumphantly, Dayton’s music realizes the poignancies possible in the duet that is art song.
Track Listing & Credits
Peter Dayton composer
All in the Sound: Two Songs (2017) [3:43]
Texts by William Carlos Williams
1 I. The Shadow [2:25]
2 II. The Poem [1:18]
Katie Procell soprano Valerie Hsu piano
Just a Leaf: Three Natural Songs (2019) [9:54]
3 I. Invitation Standing (text by Paul Blackburn) [1:40]
4 II. Winter Vocative (text by William Bronk) [3:20]
5 III. Evening (text by William Bronk) [4:54]
Henry Hubbard tenor Valerie Hsu piano
Botticellian Trees (2015) [13:21]
Texts by William Carlos Williams
6 I. The Locust Tree in Flower (first version) [2:58]
7 II. The Botticellian Trees [4:03]
8 III. Winter Trees [2:53]
9 IV. The Locust Tree in Flower (second version) [3:27]
Katie Procell soprano Sarah Jane Thomas violin
If They Delight (2015/2017) [7:23]
Text by Gertrude Stein
10 1. Brightly "Should they may be..." [1:51]
11 2. Spacious "In one direction there is the sun..." [3:34]
12 3. Playfully "Now only think three times roses green and blue..." [1:58]
Arianna Arnold soprano Valerie Hsu piano
13 Beyond Dimension (2018) [1:58]
Text by Vicki Hearne
Katie Procell soprano Erin Baker harp
Hidden Texts (2017): 2 Songs [10:28]
14 1. Hidden Texts (text by John Hollander) [4:58]
15 2. Do Not Be Ashamed (text by Wendell Berry) [5:30]
Henry Hubbard tenor Andrew Weed guitar
16 Like a Red, Red Rose (2020) [2:32]
Text by Robert Burns
Arianna Arnold soprano Erin Baker harp
Wilde Colours (2020) [10:57]
Texts by Oscar Wilde
17 I. Red, White, Yellow, Gold [3:30]
18 II. Grey, Black, Brown [3:38]
19 III. Blue, Gold, Grey, Ochre, Yellow [3:49]
Arianna Arnold soprano Aaron Thacker celesta
20 The Second Coming (2018) [6:41]
Text by W. B. Yeats
Vince Sandroni tenor 1 Ben Hawker tenor 2
Jason Buckwalter baritone John TK Scherch bass
Shona Goldberg-Leopold horn
21 Fresh in the Triumph (2018) [6:41]
Text by Peter Dayton, after Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
Ben Hawker tenor Aaron Thacker piano
Listen to a sample from the album:
If They Delight: 3. Playfully "Now only think three times roses green and blue..."
Stream the album on Spotify
Hot on the heels of his 2021 Stories out of Cherry Stems, this latest vocal music album from Baltimore-based composer Peter Dayton continues to establish him as a mature and formidable talent in the art song world. All in the Sound drills down into the heart of the genre: duet between voice and accompaniment. Dayton’s music realizes the achingly poignant possibilities inherent in this duet.
The work of this album is made all the sweeter given its context. Every piece was recorded in summer 2021, shortly after vaccines for COVID-19 became widely accessible in the United States. For the featured musicians, this album was the first in-person recording project they were able to undertake in over a year. The joy of social reconnection and returning to communal musicmaking is palpable across the album. In addition to the communities established within the recording studio for this project, community resonates across the album in other ways. Many pieces have been commissioned by friends, such as the title song set “All in the Sound,” commissioned by the soprano Katie Procell who performs it; or “Fresh in the Triumph,” commissioned by the husband of a dear friend for his spouse’s birthday. Similarly, Dayton composed “A Red, Red Rose” as a meaningful gift for dear friends – an engaged couple geographically separated for months by the pandemic.
Often in reaction to the text he has chosen to set, Dayton begins his compositional process by developing an internal logic for each composition. For example, “Evening,” the third movement from the cycle “Just a Leaf: Three Natural Songs,” rests on a foundation of continual expansion and collapse between the intervals of a fourth and a sixth, most audible in the accompaniment. From the germinative seed of these alternating intervals, the piece grows into an evocative depiction of a winter evening with trees singing in the wind. His approach echoes the way some poets find it easier to expand their creativity by using “restrictive” poetic forms defined by rhyming or metric conventions.
This internal-logic approach also ensures that Dayton stays creatively fresh when composing accompaniment – especially for the piano. Perhaps because of his facility with improvisation, he finds it all too easy to fall into instinctual voicings, hand positions, or registrations when playing piano. In reaction, his compositional approach results in sometimes extremely challenging piano parts. Rejecting musical complacency, he writes for the piano in ways that are at once complex, technically challenging, and musically interesting.
For Dayton, the technique of first establishing a piece’s internal logic is vital for musical success. He notes that he prefers not to compose exclusively using the metric of what he “likes” or what sounds “good” or “natural.” Were he to take this approach, he declares laughingly, his entire output would luxuriate in a “soup” of minor ninth chords. Instead, working within pre-established restrictions facilitates his creative decision-making. Inside the rules he sets for himself, he measures success when a piece also becomes viscerally satisfying to the senses. And this album does not disappoint.
The care and attention that Dayton uses to craft each single movement can also be found in his organization of this album. Listeners will perceive several different trajectories or threads connecting the album together – for example, the trajectory of the poets whose texts Dayton sets. The first six songs and cycles feature American modernist poets, before transitioning in “Like a Red, Red Rose” to poets from the British Isles. Of particular note, Dayton himself wrote the text for the closing piece, “Fresh in the Triumph,” based on Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf’s novel establishes a pessimistic refrain, quoting a funereal song, “Fear no more…” from Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline, embodying the fatalistic notion that only death can be a release from care, toil, and fear. In his own words, Dayton rebuts this sentiment, emphasizing the transcendent quality our passing moments take on. Here, Ben Hawker’s soaring Broadway-style tenor suggests that we can instead survive in those instants forever.
Another trajectory is that of instrumentation. Dayton plays with our expectations as audiences of art song, juxtaposing the “traditional” instrumentation of voice and piano with other instrumentations: voice and violin, voice and harp, voice and guitar, and voice and celesta. Piano accompaniment bookends the album, and the other instrumental accompaniments lie at the album’s heart. The inclusion of the penultimate song cycle “The Second Coming,” a piece for horn and four low voices, augments this contrast. These comparisons collectively reveal the hallmark intimacy and community at the heart of Dayton’s music.
If the poems and the instrumentation form the “warp” and “weft” of the tapestry that is All in the Sound, the route through the texts provides the tapestry with its “color.” For this album, Dayton presents a “color wheel” that contrasts the power, beauty, and rhetorical impact of the poetic imagery. “All in the Sound” and “Just a Leaf” evoke emotion using natural imagery. “Botticellian Trees,” with delicious text painting in the violin, continues in this nature image-based vein, before transitioning to the increasingly abstract “If They Delight” and “Beyond Dimension.” “Like a Red, Red Rose” features an almost perfect Venn diagram of physical, emotional, and abstract imagery. In contrast, the almost constant rhythmic churning of the celesta in “Wilde Colours” marries the physical senses with the emotions, and “The Second Coming” is literally occult. Dayton closes the album with the sharp, poignant, tear-inducing “Fresh in the Triumph,” which uses the language of 1990s folk-pop Broadway musicals to craft a clear counterargument to the fog-filled chromatic harmonies of “The Second Coming.” In this closing piece—and the album as a whole—Dayton has made robust, powerful contributions to the world of art song that will continue to inspire.
-Dr. Ryan A. Koons
Click on the buttons below to read the texts that the works on this album set to music in their original visual presentation and to read the original program notes that I wrote to accompany each of the pieces on the album.
Browse beautiful, inspiring illustrations created by illustrations by Douglas Johnson using India Ink and watercolor. These images were created in real-time during rehearsals and recording sessions for this album. Discover more of Doug's brilliant artistry on his website.
Hailed as “Outstanding” by the Maryland Theater Guide, Arianna Arnold is a Baltimore-based soprano with a passion for both classical and new music. Arianna attended Stetson University for her undergraduate, studying under Mr. Russell Franks and completed her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins studying with Dr. Stanley Cornett. Operatic performance highlights include Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Minerva in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Naomi in Jonathan Bailey Holland’s Naomi in the Living Room and Gertrude Stein in Dayton’s May She/She May. Arianna has also premiered unpublished works from WWI composer Ivor Gurney and worked with local Maryland-based composers Peter Dayton and Garth Baxter to perform exciting new works.Upcoming performances will include a collaborative folk song recital in August 2023 with soprano Katie Procell, featuring works by Vaughan Williams, Britten, Copland, and more.
Erin Baker is a Baltimore based harpist and music educator. She earned her Master’s degree in performance/pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of the late Ruth Inglefield. An accomplished orchestral player, Ms.Baker has played under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, Leon Fleisher, and Marin Alsop amongst others. Erin maintains a busy schedule with a variety of performance and teaching opportunities in and around Baltimore, MD. She currently holds a faculty position as the harp instructor for Baltimore Orchkids and the Baltimore School for the Arts TWIGS program.
Baritone Jason Buckwalter is known for his “super-sized characters” (The Sybaritic Singer) and “theatrical fire.” (Baltimore City Paper) Equally comfortable in opera, musical theater, oratorio, and song repertoire, he has performed with a wide variety of companies including the Washington National Opera, Maryland Opera, Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Chorale, and the Young Victorian Theatre Company. In addition to his performing credits, Jason works as the Executive Assistant for Maryland Opera, helping produce a wide variety of opera programming throughout Maryland. These include mainstage performances, outreach programs in schools and senior centers, and the Maryland Opera Summer Camp for high school students, nurturing the future of opera.
Shona Goldberg-Leopold is an active freelance horn player in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. She performs regularly with the Baltimore Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, and several other orchestras around the country. Shona is also passionate about music education and acts as the Music Coordinator and Horn Teacher for the Baltimore School for the Arts’ TWIGS program, a comprehensive free arts program for elementary and middle school students in Baltimore City. She also maintains a private teaching studio in Baltimore. A native of Philadelphia, Shona received her B.M. from Vanderbilt University and M.M. from Peabody Conservatory. Shona is proud to have completed her main studies with two incredible female hornists, Leslie Norton of the Nashville Symphony and Denise Tryon, formerly of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Hailing from Baltimore, MD, Ben Hawker began his musical training with The Maryland State Boychoir; he sang there for 13 years, including a three year stint as a Conducting Intern. After studying music at Towson University, Ben now works as a professional choral singer in the Baltimore/ DC area. Ben currently sings in the choir at Washington National Cathedral, where as a member of the Professional Choir, he has joined the Girl’s and Boy’s Choirs to sing at events ranging from daily evensong to the state funerals of Colin Powell, Bob Dole, and Madeleine Albright. He formerly sang with the Choir of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, where he recently performed the Evangelist role in Bach’s St. John Passion. He has also recently performed as a chorister and a soloist with The Basilica of the National Shrine Choir, The Schola of the Baltimore Basilica, Mountainside Baroque, The Thirteen, Cathedra, Bridge, Cathedral Choral Society, and The Maryland Choral Society. Outside of classical music, Ben sings with the barbershop quartet Pratt Street Power, which won the 2016 International Youth Barbershop Quartet Contest in 2016, and finished 8th in the world in 2019.
Valerie Hsu is a collaborative pianist based in Baltimore. A Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition semifinalist, Valerie studied at Vanderbilt University with Craig Nies and Melissa Rose, where she was the inaugural recipient of the Gall/Martin Collaborative Arts Award. She has served as rehearsal and performance pianist for local collective Opera Alchemy on multiple productions. Ensemble highlights include a MinEvent performance of the music of John Cage on prepared piano with dancers from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Southeastern United States premiere of George Antheil’s complete and restored Ballet Mècanique, and serving as orchestral pianist on a 10-day performance tour of China.
Henry Hubbard is a versatile tenor with experience in opera, art song, and contemporary music. As a performer, Henry has portrayed over 12 operatic roles in the United States, Canada, and Italy. He currently serves as a Vocal Fellow for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society (BCAS), and was featured as a soloist at the historic Berliner Philarmonie and Vienna Konzerthaus as part of the BCAS EuroTour 2022. Henry holds dual Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance & Pedagogy and Musicology from Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with tenor Stanley Cornett. He also received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from James Madison University, where he studied with baritone Kevin McMillan.
“Fearless, versatile young soprano” Katie Procell (Opera News) is a singer of operatic and new music based in the Baltimore area. Past opera credits include Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro; Peach State Opera cover & Le nozze di Figaro; Peabody Conservatory), various roles in a collection of six new chamber operas Elevator (ENA Ensemble); Lisa (La sonnambula; Opera Alchemy); Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi; Alchemy); Krysia (cover Out of Darkness; Baltimore Theatre Project); Phyllis (Iolanthe; Luray Opera Theater); Patience (Patience; JMU); Despina (Così fan tutte; Alchemy & Luray). She trained at Peabody Conservatory (MM '18) and James Madison University (BM '16) and as an apprentice artist with Opera Roanoke. In 2022, her debut recording “Stories Out of Cherry Stems” (Navona Records) was released. She also works closely with composer Garth Baxter and premiered the title role in the film premiere of his opera Lily in conjunction with Fraimework Productions.
Vince Sandroni Vincent Sandroni began his musical career with 15 years in the Maryland State Boychoir, serving as a chorister and conducting intern. He graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor's of Science in Music Education. Vincent has been the chorus teacher at Cockeysville Middle School in Baltimore County for the past nine years. In addition, he is an avid performer around Baltimore City and Washington, DC. Vincent sings tenor in the 2016 Youth International Barbershop Champion and 2019 International 8th Place Quartet, Pratt Street Power. He is the musical director of the current International 4th Place Barbershop Chorus, Parkside Harmony. Outside of his normal commitments, Vincent has served as a guest clinician for youth events, private vocal coach, quartet coach, and teacher mentor.
Philadelphian bass John T.K. Scherch has received acclaim from Opera News for his "outstanding, resonant bass," from DC Metro Theater Arts for his "sepulchral and frightening" tone, and from The Washington Post, for his contribution to their #1 performance of 2018, Viva V.E.R.D.I. (a staging of the Requiem) with IN Series that resides on Anne Midgette's "best-ever" list. John is equally at home on the concert and opera stages, with several performances of the music of J.S. Bach, as well as appearances as the bass soloist in Handel's Messiah, the Verdi Requiem, and the Mozart Requiem, among others. His most-performed operatic role is Sarastro, from Mozart's The Magic Flute; he has also appeared as Sobakin in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Vanuzzi in Richard Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau, and the Man from the City in the world premiere of Frances Pollock and Robert Misbin's Briscula, among others. John sings with Opera on Tap Philadelphia and with the choruses of Opera Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and is also a public radio host, weekday mornings on WRTI, Philadelphia's classical and jazz station. | johntkbass.com
Aaron Thacker is an accomplished pianist who has performed extensively in the realm of Opera. He has served as rehearsal pianist for North Carolina Opera, Baltimore Lyric Opera, Peabody Conservatory, and The Ford's Theatre. He has appeared on NPR with famous tenor Noah Stewart and played for many other of the greatest and most sought-after opera singers in the country, including Christine Goerke, Anthony Dean Griffey, Nathan Gunn, Soloman Howard, Denyce Graves, and Steven LaBrie. He currently is full-time faculty at specialty high school, George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, in Towson, MD.
Violinist Sarah Thomas is a performer and educator who strives to create an environment for performers and audience members to share the experience of loving music together. A member of the Bergamot Quartet, Sarah has performed in venues and series including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Greene Space, and Boulanger Initiative’s WoCo Fest. Sarah has collaborated with a variety of ensembles and musicians including Alarm Will Sound, Sō Percussion, arx duo, Ensemble Klang, Claire Chase, Dan Trueman, Courtney Orlando, and Terry Sweeney. As an educator, Sarah teaches with Bergamot in settings ranging from elementary schools to doctoral programs, is an Adjunct Lecturer at Peabody Conservatory, and is on staff at Peabody LAUNCHPad. Sarah holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Violaine Melançon, and a Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes School of Music, where Bergamot Quartet studied with the JACK Quartet.
Andrew Weed is the director of orchestras and guitar ensembles at North Stafford High School in Stafford, Virginia. He has previously studied the guitar under Dr. Robert Trent, Keith Stevens, and Dr. Kevin Vigil. Andrew holds a masters’ degree in guitar performance from Radford University, and a bachelor’s in music education from James Madison University. Andrew has performed all over the eastern United States, as well as the Saigon International Guitar Festival in Vietnam, and Prince Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2016, he was a semi-finalist in the annual Wilson International Guitar Competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Andrew has also performed in masterclasses for notable artists, including Marcin Dylla, Adam Holzman, Julian Gray, Jason Vieaux, Xuefei Yang, Marco Tomayo, and Denis Azabagic.
Ryan Koons is an ethnomusicologist, archivist, performer, and arts administrator. Based in the mid-Atlantic, he has performed music on three continents and across a range of traditions. He holds a doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a Certified Archivist. Ryan has taught, presented, and published on topics in archives, culture, history, and performance.
All in the Sound: New Vocal Music by Peter Dayton
Recorded at Roland Park Community Center in Baltimore, MD
Tracks 1-5, 10-12, 21
Recorded August 28, 2021 at Roland Park Community Center in Baltimore MD
Producer Christian Amonson
Recording Session Engineers Robert Armstrong, Jason Powers
Tracks 6-9, 17-20
Recorded August 21, 2021 at Roland Park Community Center in Baltimore MD
Producer Christian Amonson
Recording Session Engineers Robert Armstrong, Lara Mitofsky Neuss
Recorded July 16 & 19, 2021 at Roland Park Community Center in Baltimore MD
Producer Christian Amonson
Recording Session Engineer Robert Armstrong
Mastering Melanie Montgomery
All in the Sound, for Soprano & Piano (2017)
The Shadow by William Carlos Williams, from THE COLLECTED POEMS: VOLUME I, 1909-1939, copyright ©1938 by New Directions Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
The Poem (It’s all in) by William Carlos Williams, from THE COLLECTED POEMS: VOLUME II, 1939-1962, copyright ©1953 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Just a Leaf: Three Natural Songs, for High Voice & Piano (2019)
Invitation Standing by Paul Blackburn, Invitation Standing used by permission of Joan Blackburn.
Winter Vocative and To Praise the Music by William Bronk, used with permission of the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.
Botticellian Trees, for Soprano & Violin (2015)
Text by William Carlos Williams, from THE COLLECTED POEMS: VOLUME I, 1909-1939, copyright ©1938 by New Directions Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
If They Delight, for Soprano & Piano (2015/2017)
Text by Gertrude Stein, Stanza XV from Stanzas in Meditation and Other Poems (Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1994). Reprinted with the permission of Mr. Stanford Gann Jr., Levin & Gann, P.A., Literary Executor of the Estate of Gertrude Stein. All Rights Reserved.
Beyond Dimension, for Soprano & Harp (2018)
Text from an unpublished fragment by Vicki Hearne, used with permission by the Literary Estate of Vicki Hearne.
Hidden Texts, for Tenor & Guitar (2017)
Reflections on Espionage by John Hollander. Copyright © 1999 by Yale University. Used by permission of Yale University Press.
Text by by Wendell Berry, Copyright © 2012, from New Collected Poems. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press. All Rights Reserved.
Like a Red, Red Rose, for High Voice & Harp (2020)
Like a Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns (1794). This a poem in the public domain.
Wilde Colours, for Soprano & Celesta (2020)
Le Reveillon, Impressions du Matin, and Les Silhouettes by Oscar Wilde. These poems are in the public domain.
The Second Coming, for Vocal Quartet & Horn (2018)
The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats (1920). This poem is in the public domain.
Fresh in the Triumph, for Tenor & Piano (2018)
Original text by Peter Dayton. After Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway"
Illustrations by Douglas Johnson
Executive Producer Bob Lord Executive A&R Brandon MacNeil A&R Chris Robinson VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette VP, Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber Publicity Patrick Niland