Paul Barker ‘Turquoise Swans’


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This is a magical collection of piano and voice songs written by UK composer Paul Barker and sung by virtuoso soprano Sarah Leonard (Michael Nyman's 'Prospero's Books' and 'The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover' soundtracks and numerous other 20th century operas). Inspired by Silvia Plath's writings and Aztec poetry, the songs are finely crafted miniatures of emotional insight and a perfect vehicle for Leonard's extraordinary vocal talent. Also included are three arias from one of Barker's many chamber operas. Barker and Leonard first met when they were students in London. As he accompanied her lessons, he was bewitched by her unique sound and artistry. Many years intervened before they worked together, when Barker wrote Three Songs for Sylvia (on poems by Sylvia Plath) for her and the London Festival Orchestra in 1994. By an extraordinary coincidence, one of the orchestral players who chatted enthusiastically to them after the premiere, was Sylvia's own son. A few years later, Barker, together with Chris Newell, wrote a satyrical opera called Dirty Tricks echoing the prolonged and gargantuan media and legal battles between international airlines, BA and Virgin. The opera featured Sarah Leonard, playing the role of airhostess. The Thief of Songs are musical settings of Aztec poetry where dreams, in their pre-Freudian innocence, were considered at least as important as what we would call reality. All in all, a special treat. Credits: Paul Barker: piano - Sarah Leonard: soprano Recorded at Hear No Evil Studios, London. Mixed by Mike Willox at Loungescape, London TRACK LIST: THREE SONGS FOR SYLVIA PLATH 1. ONE: A Great Event (6:20) 2. TWO: Lullaby (3:35) 3. THREE: A Thing So Clear (3:55) SOME DIRTY TRICKS 4. ARIA 1: she sings and comforts them (2:35) 5. SONNET 5 FOR PIANO (1:20) 6. ARIA 2: she sings and disciplines them (2:05) 7. SONNET 6 FOR PIANO (1:20) 8. ARIA 3: she sings and seduces them (3:00) THE THIEF OF SONGS III 9. THE DREAM (2:05) 10. THE THIEF OF SONGS (2:10) 11. SONG TO EASE BIRTH (3:05) Also available as downloads: Barker: Turquoise Swans - Paul Barker & Sarah Leonard