Transparent Boundaries

Transparent Boundaries features songs set to the words of Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, by composers Lee Hoiby, André Previn, Ned Rorem, Daron Hagen, Scott Gendel and myself. In addition to a beautiful rendition of my Dickinson cycle One Bee and Revery (performed by Jamie-Rose and Lara), the CD includes the premiere recording of Beauty (commissioned by the artists), which sets an excerpt from Emerson’s essay “The Poet” — scored for soprano, bass-baritone, cello and piano.

The CD was released on June 12, 2020 by Navona Records. For more information, please click here.

The Journal of Singing, January/February 2021

This is an utterly absorbing collection of superb art songs from a truly impressive sextet of composers: Ned Rorem, André Previn, Lori Laitman, Lee Hoiby, Daron Hagen, and Scott Gendel. But for all the excellent music contained herein, what elevates this project to exceptional greatness are the texts of the three poets whom it honors: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman…Emerson’s representation is limited to the opening track of the release, but it is perhaps the most gorgeous music heard here. Lori Laitman’s Beauty is a lush, heartfelt setting of a text from Emerson’s The Poet that is breathtakingly beautiful even without music: 

Wherever snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever day and night meet in twilight, wherever the blue heaven is hung by clouds, or sown with stars, wherever are forms with transparent boundaries, wherever are outlets into celestial space, wherever is danger, and awe, and love, there is Beauty, plenteous as rain, shed for thee, and though thou shouldest walk the world over, thou shalt not be able to find a condition inopportune or ignoble. 

The song is scored for soprano, baritone, cello, and piano, and Laitman demonstrates an uncanny ability to balance these elements with seamless grace…Laitman’s other contribution to the disc is a set of three Dickinson songs, One Bee and Revery, that perfectly encompass the uncommon graces of the poet. Guarrine sings these with clarity and warmth. 

From Gramophone Magazine, August 2020

“This fascinating collection focuses on the two American poets set (probably) more often than any others, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Ironically, however, it opens with Emerson, set by Lori Laitman (b1955) in ‘Beauty’ (2018), a duet for soprano and baritone accompanied by cello and piano. Laitman is a distinguished composer of vocal music (including opera) and ‘Beauty’ as well as her charming trio of Dickinson settings for soprano and piano, One Bee and Revery (2003), showcase her gift for lyricism. “