June 24, 2022
Today marks the release of The Paper Lined Shack on Supertrain Records. The album features Leonard Slatkin conducting the Eastman Philharmonia and soprano Hila Plitmann in Jeff Beal’s song cycle inspired by the diary of Beal’s great-grandmother Della, a widow who raised her family on a ten-acre farm in Idaho.
Beal’s composition was commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony in honor of Slatkin’s 50-year anniversary with the orchestra and was premiered on May 3, 2019, under Slatkin’s direction. “I’d like to think Della would be pleased to have her story brought to life by one of our very finest American orchestras, and their dedicated and visionary conductor, Leonard Slatkin,” Beal wrote in his composer note accompanying the score.
“If you look up the word ‘versatility,’” Slatkin said, “there will be a picture of Jeff Beal. Whether performing as a trumpet player or conductor, establishing educational programs, or composing in all genres, Jeff possesses the incredible talent to do everything well. It was my honor to lead the world premiere of The Paper Lined Shack in St. Louis and subsequently record it for this album. In this most personal of compositions, he shows us many of the facets that have made him one of the most sought-after musicians of our time.”