Corey Dargel (born October 19, 1977 in McAllen, Texas) is a composer, lyricist, and singer of electronic art songs that "smartly and impishly blur the boundaries between contemporary classical idioms and pop" (New York Times). Dargel has also sung music by other living composers, including Eve Beglarian, k. terumi shorb, Phil Kline, Nick Brooke, and Pauline Oliveros. Formally trained in music composition, Dargel studied with Oliveros, John Luther Adams, and Brenda Hutchinson, and received a B.M. from Oberlin.
According to Dargel, "The singer-songwriter approach to art song composition is a natural and refreshing alternative to the hegemony of traditional art song and operatic performance." Dargel typically writes both words and music for all of his songs and, in his earlier compositions, he accompanies his own voice with a prepared electronic soundtrack. His debut album, Less Famous Than You, released in May 2006 on Use Your Teeth records, is clearly within the singer-songwriter tradition despite its incorporation of totalist rhythmic relationships. But his follow-up, Other People's Love Songs, released in 2008 on the contemporary classical label New Amsterdam Records, further blurs the lines between indie pop and the conceptual and post-minimalist conceits of downtown contemporary classical music.
In May 2010, New Amsterdam released a follow-up, a 2-CD set entitled Someone Will Take Care of Me, which combines two song-cycles performed by Dargel with live musicians most usually associated with contemporary classical music performance: On Removable Parts, he is joined by pianist Kathleen Supové, and on Thirteen Near-Death Experiences he is joined by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE] and composer/drummer David T. Little. The instrumentation for these two cycles clearly references the classical song cycle tradition; the former voice and piano combination is the original instrumentation for 19th century romantic song cycles (e.g. Franz Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin, Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe, etc.), while the latter's small ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano was introduced by Arnold Schoenberg for his 1912 song cycle Pierrot Lunaire and, with or without the addition of a percussionist, has become a ubiquitous ensemble for the performance of 20th and 21st century classical music and has been also used in countless vocal works including Peter Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King.
- Tommasini, Anthony (17 September 2005). "At the Mercantile Library, Contemporary Classical Performers Lean Perilously Close to Pop". New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
- Dargel, Corey (22 February 2006). "More Song, Less Art(ifice): The New Breed of Art Song". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- Sheridan, Molly (23 October 2008). "Love connection". Time Out New York. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
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