Composers Richard McCandless and Lewis Nielson present two highly dramatic chamber works crossing the boundaries of musical performance and music theater. Richard McCandless's composition, Childhood, written in 1983, is one of the true ground-breaking works for speaking percussionist. Mr. McCandless recites the dramatic text of Childhood (by Arthur Rimbaud) while playing an array of percussion instruments. The vivid imagery of the text interweaves with the percussion in ways that are at times wild and bombastic, and at others quiet and reflective.One of the finest and most appropriate settings of Rimbaud's poetry, the musico-theatrical elements are shockingly effective and affectively shocking. Once heard it stays in the memory.The Washington Post said of the work, "McCandless showed himself a master of sounds - subtle, emphatic, expertly shaped and richly expressive."Il Romanticismo di Cesare e Lucrezia was composed in 2015 by Lewis Nielson for the remarkable singer/dancer/actress Sara Perez and double bass virtuoso Matthew Kline. These artists play, sing, speak, and dance in a work that addresses the life and times of one of the most licentious families of the late Renaissance, the Borgias. Using poetry from the period (including texts by Lucrezia Borgia herself, as well as Lorenzo de Medici and Michelangelo, among others), the lives of Lucrezia and her brother Cesare play out in a combination of musical embodiment and studied pageant, ending with their tragic but predictable deaths.