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NA 7090

BALADA: Hangman! Hangman! / The Town of Greed

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2011


Pearce, Colman

Anthony McKay


Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble


Kresge Recital Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania

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Total Time - 77:02
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BALADA: Hangman! Hangman! / The Town of Greed



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Hangman! Hangman!

1 Prologue 1:58
2 Introduction 1:18
3 Scene 1: The Sheriff and the Hangman enter 1:03
4 Scene 1: "Wait! Gimme a break..." 4:31
5 Scene 2: Sheriff and Hangman announce entrance of Johnny's Mother 1:40
6 Scene 2: Duet - "Have you brought me silver?" 2:48
7 Scene 2: "Let's get him..." 1:42
8 Scene 3: "Hangman, slack your rope..." 3:38
9 Scene 3: Sheriff, Hangman and Townspeople "Let's check that i'ts not a lie..." 1:21
10 Scene 3: "Sorry sonny Johnny..." 4:13
11 Scene 4: Instrumental section 1:59
12 Scene 4: "Hangman, slack your rope..." 0:34
13 Scene 4: "Wait! I'm his sweetheart..." 2:50
14 Scene 4: "No waiting..." 0:34
15 Scene 4: "I don't ask your forgiveness..." 3:46
16 Finale: "Nonsense..." 1:10
17 Finale: "Viva Johnny!!" 4:43
18 Finale: "What the heck!..." 4:24

The Town of Greed

19 Part I: Prelude 1:10
20 Part I Scene I: "Petting my cigar..." 2:19
21 Part I: Deals - "Hi Mr. Johnny" 3:09
22 Part I: Lento: "In my dreams I rode high..." 1:10
23 Part I: A deal - "I'm Tokopoko" 1:44
24 Part I: "I am your sweetheart..." 3:37
25 Part I: "Sorry sweetheart..." 1:51
26 Part I: Johnny, back in his office with Mother, Father and Sweetheart 5:20
27 Part II: "There is trouble in town..." 2:36
28 Part II: "Let's hang him at once..." 2:54
29 Part II: "Quiet everyone..." 1:57
30 Part II: Lento molto - Finale love duet: "I love you" 1:40
31 Part II: Piu Mosso: "Pull him..." 0:30
32 Part II: Epilogue 2:53
 Anthony McKay Soloist
 Pearce, Colman

Hangman, Hangman! • The Town of Greed (Two "cartoon" Tragic-comic chamber opera)  -  Leonardo Balada

Born in Barcelona on 22nd September, 1933, Leonardo Balada graduated there at the Conservatorio del Liceu and in 1960 at the Juilliard School in New York, studying composition with Vincent Persichetti and Aaron Copland, and conducting with Igor Markevitch. Since 1970 he has taught at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is University Professor of Composition. Some of his best known works were written in a dramatic avant-garde style in the 1960s, including Guernica, María Sabina and Steel Symphony. He is credited with pioneering a blending of ethnic music with avant-garde techniques later, notably in his Sinfonía en Negro-Homage to Martin Luther King of 1968, and Homage to Casals and Sarasate in 1975. Balada’s works are performed by the world’s leading orchestras, under conductors of the highest distinction. He has been commissioned by many outstanding organizations in the United States and Europe, and has composed works for artists like Alicia de Larrocha, the American Brass Quintet, Andrés Segovia, Narciso Yepes, Lucero Tena, and Angel Romero, and has collaborated with artists and writers like Salvador Dalí and the Nobel Prize winner Camilo Jose Cela. Many of his compositions have been recorded by leading record companies, and his compositions, in addition to chamber and symphonic compositions, include cantatas, chamber and full length operas. Leonardo Balada has received several international composition awards.

Composer’s Note:

From my point of view as a composer, the important elements in an opera are the identification by the orchestra of each dramatic moment and the lyricism of the vocal soloists. Given the importance of the latter, it would not have been appropriate for me to compose operas during my avant-garde period, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, when I did not consider melody as part of my style. Instead my interest in musical drama expressed itself in the form of cantatas, where instead of singers there were narrators and the choruses would sing texturally not lyrically. During that period, I composed María Sabina (1969), with a text by the Nobel Prize laureate Camilo José Cela, Las Moradas (1970), based on the book by Saint Teresa of Avila, and No-res (1974), a protest against death, with a text by Jean Paris.

In 1975, while feeling the need for a new direction in my music, I incorporated melody into my language, creating a symbiosis between the far-out techniques of the avant-garde and traditional lines and harmonies, causing disapproval from some quarters in carrying out what nowadays is a very common practice. At that point with the addition of lyrical melodies to my palette, composing operas made sense to me. The cantata Torquemada (1980) was a prelude to Hangman, Hangman! (1982), my first opera. In 1984 Zapata followed, full of Mexican ideas and colours. In 1987 came Christopher Columbus, first performed in 1989 at the Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona with José Carreras and Montserrat Caballé. In 1996 I finished a sequel to that opera, The Death of Columbus. Finally came The Town of Greed, completed in 1997. These are all operas in which abrasive contemporary orchestral sonorities co-exist with highly melodic vocal lines. Leonardo Balada


"...There is moralizing aplenty in the air (people are hypocritical, power corrupts, consumerism is evil), but thanks to Balada’s skillful comic touch, the result is enormously entertaining rather than preachy. Vocal and instrumental performances are on a very high level; the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, under Colman Pearce, plays the difficult score with lots of character and great authority. All in all, an impressive calling card for Carnegie Mellon Opera Theater, as well as for the University’s resident composer."

Joshua Rosenblum - Opera News - January 2005

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