Jacqueline Woodley, soprano
Michele Bogdanowicz, mezzo
Lawrence Wiliford, tenor
Peter McGillivray, baritone
Steven Philcox, piano
Norbert Palej, composer

In this first recording exclusively devoted to the music of Polish-born Canadian composer Norbert Palej, CLOUD LIGHT immerses listeners in music that actively grapples with the modern understanding of art song and demonstrates that it is still a genre capable of the most profound musical expression and innovation. Featuring new songs written for and premiered by mezzo-soprano Michèle Bogdanowicz, baritone Peter McGillivray, tenor Lawrence Wiliford, soprano Jacqueline Woodley and pianist Steven Philcox, this exploration of 21st – century Canadian art song presents four works: Three Norwegian Songs (2011) for baritone and piano, Four Lyrical Moments (2013) for mezzo-soprano and piano, Cloud Light: Fourteen Small Songs (2012) performed by soprano, tenor and piano and The Demise of Argus Panoptes (2015) for SATB quartet and piano. In his settings of Canadian, Polish, Norwegian (translated into English) and classical Latin poetry, Palej demonstrates his interest and skill in working with a wide palette of vocal and instrumental colours intimately to depict narrative and animate text.

1. – 3. Three Norwegian Songs 6:15
4. – 7. Four Lyrical Moments 7:47
8. – 21. Cloud Light 33:46
22. The Demise of Argus Panopetes 11:41
Total Time: 59:29

Review: Schmopera

“The first tracks of Cloud Light are Three Norwegian Songs, performed by Peter McGillivray and Steven Philcox. The two expert musicians create a nebulous sound that feels primordial; McGillivray is well-suited to the composer’s chant-like immediacy of the set text, and Philcox finds ringing overtones in the undulating piano part. It’s difficult to describe the qualities that come with Scandinavian art song, almost as difficut as describing a sound that is clearly Canadian; yet these qualities are all clear in the Norwegian Songs. Like much of the music featured on Cloud Light, Palej uses open octaves and fifths, and a free, parlando-style delivery of the text; the effect is an ancient sound, free from geography or period of time.”
– Jenna Douglas

Review: Musical Toronto

“Soprano Jacqueline Woodley, mezzo Michele Bogdanowicz, tenor Lawrence Wiliford and bass-baritone Peter McGillivray do a remarkable job of bringing these new (all written in the past five years) works to life in compelling ways, expertly accompanied by pianist Steven Philcox…It all starts with the Three Norwegian Songs, where McGillivray launches from quasi-spoken narrative into a flight of falsetto rhapsodizing in the short and sweet With a Rose. The bass-baritone gets to dig deeply in the third of these songs, a compelling setting of Henrik Ibsen’s Moonlight Stroll After a Ball.”
– John Terauds,