Winter Morning Walks actually contains two song cycles. The title piece takes its text from the poetry of Ted Kooser.
In the piece, soprano Dawn Upshaw performs with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, as well as with some musicians who have been associated with the music of Maria Schneider for years, particularly her jazz compositions. She enjoys what these musicians bring to the piece, saying, “Not everything they played is improvised, but if you hear something that makes you smile or gives you a little shiver, chances are it’s coming from their individual creative voices.”
The other cycle on the album, Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories uses English translations of the Brazilian poet’s work, for which Schneider says she has a great affinity. Dawn Upshaw performs again, this time with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
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