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To The Soul - Poetry Of Walt Whitman / Thomas Hampson


Release Date: 06/06/2006 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 58239   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ned RoremFrank BridgeRalph Vaughan WilliamsRobert Strassburg,   ... 
Performer:  Thomas HampsonCraig Rutenberg
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The performances throughout are exceptionally fine, intimately and subtly expressive but opening out nobly to expressions of passionate idealism.

For a song recital to be devoted to settings of a single poet he must preferably be capable of inspiring music of widely differing types. This splendidly planned collection certainly demonstrates that to be true of Whitman, indeed it is proved by the two Vaughan Williams items. A clear nndniglmt is serene and visionary epigram; Joy, shipmate, joy!, though shorter still, is robustly vigorous, a big song lasting no more than 122". A glance through the names of the other composers represented reveals so many obscure figures (of one of them, Philip Dalmas, not even his date
Read more of birth is known) that you might unworthily suspect that Hampson's enthusiasm for Whitman has tempted him into barrel-scraping. Not a bit of it: apparently he has traced no fewer than 400 Whitman settings for voice and piano, and all his choices are at least interesting; some are real discoveries -Dalmas, for example, who takes the huge risk of setting four sombre lines from Whispers of Heavenly Death over a tolling monotone, like a passing bell, but succeeds most strikingly. Before hearing Henry Thacker Burleigh's setting of Ethiopia saluting the colours I was regretful that Hampson had not chosen Charles Wood's moving song on this text, but quite apart from the appropriateness of selecting for this of all poems the first African-American to receive professional training as a composer (Dvoák was Burleigh's first teacher), his use of jazzy syncopation (in 1915!) and Ives-like quotation of Civil War melodies is vividly original. Speaking of Ives, it is he who most succinctly sketches a portrait of Whitman: in 46 seconds he looms before us, grand as Rodin's Balzac.

Elsewhere Stanford demonstrates that Whitman is accessible to Brahnisian gravity and eloquence while Ernst Bacon, with moving sunplicity, sets three lines on human brotherhood to a melody like a chapel hymn. Kurt Weill effectively treats the Dirge Jhr Two Veterans in his Broadway manner and in "Sing on there in the Swamp" Hindemith beautifully evokes the falling star of Memories oJ Lincoln with two coolly shining chords that generate a lyrical counterpoint to the vocal line. Ned Rorem, surely the most consistently fine living composer of concert songs, is represented by four, all characteristically subtle and refined. Two of them, and four or five others here, choose lines in which Whitman's homosexuality is overtly expressed. They are none of them 'g!iy anthems', but Leonard Bernstein's "To what you said" (his transcription of one number from Songfest) is among his finest songs, serious, moving and beautiful, while Michael Tilson Thomas's We two boys together clinging begins with a catchy swing and builds finely to its proud concluding gestures. Indeed, there is not a weak song here; even William H. Neidlinger's cavalier extraction of a few isolated lines from Memories of Lincoln, setting the result as something between a parlour ballad and one of Henry Clay Work's narrative songs (he who wrote My Granc( at her's Clock and Who shall rule this American nation?) is oddly affecting.

The performances throughout are exceptionally fine, intimately and subtly expressive but opening out nobly to expressions of passionate idealism. Hampson's readings are just that: they are pleasingly unhistrionic, not in the least bit acted, but they effectively frame the songs with his obvious commitment to Whitman. A most enterprising, absorbing and magnificently sung recital.

-- Gramophone [10/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1. As Adam early in the morning by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Craig Rutenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
2. The Last Invocation, H 136 by Frank Bridge
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918-1919; England 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
3. Poems (3) by Walt Whitman: no 2, A Clear Midnight by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1925; England 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
4. Poems (3) by Walt Whitman: no 3, Joy, Shipmate, Joy! by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Craig Rutenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1925; England 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
5. Prayer of Columbus by Robert Strassburg
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Craig Rutenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
6. One thought ever at the fore by Ernst Bacon
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
7. As I watch'd the ploughman ploughing by Philip Dalmas
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1928 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
8. English Songs (9): no 8, Sing on there in the Swamp by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
9. Look down fair moon by Charles Naginski
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
10. Memories of Lincoln by William H. Neidlinger
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
11. Look down, fair moon by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
12. Ethiopia Saluting the Colors by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
13. Walt Whitman Songs (4): Dirge for two veterans by Kurt Weill
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942-1947; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
14. Walt Whitman by Charles Ives
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 0 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
15. Behold this swarthy face by Gerald Busby
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
16. We Two by Elinor Remick Warren
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
17. Among the multitude by Craig Urquhart
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
18. Sometimes with the one I love by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
19. We two boys together clinging by Michael Tilson Thomas
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Craig Rutenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
20. That shadow, my likeness by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Craig Rutenberg (Piano), Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
21. Songfest: To What You Said by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Craig Rutenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; USA 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 
22. Songs of Faith, Op. 97: no 4, To the Soul by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Craig Rutenberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; England 
Venue:  London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: London, England (1993 - 1994) 

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