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Marilyn Ziffrin: Songs & Arias / Fortunato, Lifchitz, Et Al


Release Date: 12/27/2005 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1041   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna FortunatoMax LifchitzLiuh-Wen Ting
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The name Marilyn Ziffrin (b. 1926) seemed familiar to me, and then I remembered that she is the author of the sole biography of the composer Carl Ruggles (University of Illinois Press), and as such has performed an important service to American music. I’m afraid I have to report I can’t be similarly enthusiastic about this disc. The music is not poor, and it has some real virtues. Ziffrin has a good sense of motive, and several of the songs have memorable “hooks” to them that create strong formal connections whenever they appear. Among the most successful this way is the 1991 Three Songs of the Trobairitz, which projects both interesting detail and clearly articulated larger-scale form. She also has a lyric temperament; the sense of a Read more strong line for the voice is always present.

On the minus side, tempos are moderato, and the rhythmic vocabulary, while not foursquare, still feels a little chunky. Things plod too much for my taste. Add to this the fact that the entire program is for mezzo-soprano, and a certain heaviness starts to set in. I do not mean this is the result of D’Anna Fortunato’s work, as she has excellent intonation and truly superb diction. The composer gets every bit of commitment and interpretive intelligence from her singer that she could desire. Indeed, I think I liked the 2003 Three Songs for D’Anna best of the entire program—for their concision and for the composer’s apparent deep understanding of this soloist. Since this is the most recent work on the program (the earliest is 1957), it suggests Ziffrin has continued to refine her practice to good effect.

Finally, there are two arias from an unproduced opera, Captain Kidd (“If Only There Were Someone” and “So a Man Must Die”). While in some ways the most simple of all the music on the program, I still found them satisfying, because of their directness, and a real sense of tragedy (Kidd’s wife sings both, lamenting her powerlessness to prevent his execution). They stick with you, and if they’re a little “naïve,” then it’s all to the good.

FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

1.
Songs (3) of the Trobairitz by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), D'Anna Fortunato (Mezzo Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 10 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
2.
Songs (3) for D'Anna by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), D'Anna Fortunato (Mezzo Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
3.
Captain Kidd: If Only There Were Someone by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), Liuh-Wen Ting (Viola), D'Anna Fortunato (Mezzo Soprano),
Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
4.
Captain Kidd: So a Man Must Die by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), D'Anna Fortunato (Mezzo Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 7 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
5.
Songs (2) for Voice, Viola and Piano by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), Liuh-Wen Ting (Viola), Max Lifchitz (Piano),
D'Anna Fortunato (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 7 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
6.
Songs (3) Woman's Voice by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004)
Composition written: USA (1955 - 1957). 
7.
Haiku (13): Lovers on a bridge by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Harpsichord), Liuh-Wen Ting (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
8.
Haiku (13): Asleep in the train by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  Liuh-Wen Ting (Viola), D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Harpsichord)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 
9.
Haiku (13): Wind and cloud unite by Marilyn J. Ziffrin
Performer:  D'Anna Fortunato (Soprano), Max Lifchitz (Harpsichord), Liuh-Wen Ting (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
Venue:  Recital Hall, SUNY Albany 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Recital Hall, SUNY Albany (05/23/2004 - 05/25/2004) 

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