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Every Matter Under Heaven CD2

Every Matter Under Heaven: An Oratorio for Humanity

Every Matter Under Heaven: An Oratorio for Humanity

Label: CCn'C Records
Media type: CD
Genre: Contemporary Music
Article No.: 03062
Year of release: 2007
Copyright © 2007 Lee Johnson Music Publishing

Track Listing

01. A Time to Start (5:15)
02. A Time to Build (3:54)
03. A Time to Die (3:58)
04. A Time to Toil (2:50)
05. A Time to Speak (9:09)
06. A Time to Laugh (2:45)
07. A Time to Seek (3:58)
08. A Time for War (4:11)
09. A Time to Heal (4:33)
10. A Time to Hate (3:49)
11. A Time to Weep (5:40)
12. A Time for Peace (4:33)
13. Circle (6:28)
14. A Time to Finish (4:20)

Total time 65:28


Russian National Orchestra
Lee Johnson - Conductor
Spiritual Renaissance Concert Choir
Lev Kontorovich - director
Leonid Yanovskiy - Violin
Rebecca Beasely - Soprano
Jenny Beckman - Mezzo Soprano
Alexander Bumpas - Tenor
Mark McCrory - Bass

DZZ Studios, Moscow, Russia

EVERY MATTER UNDER HEAVEN: A Vote for Life and Peace

"Every Matter Under Heaven" is a work of lush and colorful orchestration and invincible full-blooded pan-diatonicism adapting speeches from JFK, NASA, Truman, atomic scientists, military leaders, a.o.., to illustrate the ancient Hebrew book of Ecclesiastes' unapologetic manner of explaining virtually "a time for everything". The chosen subject matter helps us recognize that a successful life is usually demonstrated best by one's ability to balance the commonplace.

The scope of Lee Johnson's new work is truly staggering: he aims and succeeds at nothing less than a discussion of everything in the universe, from the cosmology of the Big Bang down to family matters in the Midwest, and all that lies between.

Several musical devices reappear throughout the work, providing a sense of unity that complements the remarkable diversity of other elements. Perhaps the most important of these unifiers, both orchestrally and dramatically, is the solo violin. Lee. Johnson writes extremely well for this instrument; its lyric statements suggest the presence of an individual who comments on and reacts to events in an uncommonly sensitive manner. Perhaps the solo violin could be considered the soul of the work itself. Just before the end, it gets a long, unaccompanied cadenza that recapitulates themes and organizational motives from every preceding movement. Entitled "Circle," this cadenza reminds us that the universe of tasks and events in each of our lives will recur time and again, its endless cycle providing reassurance and tragedy, hope and heartbreak, for every generation.

The clarity of its tonal idiom hypnotizes and charms the listener - hence its undeniable popular appeal. The music of the oratorio emits positive spiritual energy in the traditions of American art.

It's very American to cherish one's family and freedoms more than any grand national project. By recognizing that, Lee Johnson has created a most American oratorio. His music is also robustly American musically, resounding with rhythms and tune types we remember from Copland and Barber and Bernstein, not to mention John Adams. But none of it sounds derivative. Johnson possesses an insider's knowledge of the music that sounds like home to us, and he uses it without apology. The result is a work of art that communicates immediately: „from the heart to the heart," as Beethoven liked to say.



Historical film cuts and texts of speeches from JFK, NASA, Truman, atomic scientists, military leaders polarize with the colorful orchestration and vocals. A vote for life and peace.


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