This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
If I had to choose one work of Bernstein's for my Desert Island, it would certainly be Songfest. He combines musical ingenuity with illuminatingly poetic response to each poem - the result is witty and brilliant, intensely beautiful and deeply moving.
If I had to choose one work of Bernstein's for my Desert Island, it would certainly be Songfest, a cycle of 12 American poems which in its sharpness of imagination brings out Bernstein's finest qualities. Rather like Britten in the Nocturne and the Serenade, he combines musical ingenuity with illuminatingly poetic response to each poem. The result is not just witty and brilliant, as you would expect, but often intensely beautiful and deeply moving, as in the haunting
Whitman love poem and the radiant setting for women's trio of Anne Bradstreet's poem ''To my dear and loving husband''. Intended for the American bicentenary in 1976—but delivered late—it was recorded soon after in this near-definitive performance, which on CD is the more vivid, when the voices are so immediately and precisely placed, close in focus but not too aggressively so.
There is plenty of body in the sound, and so there is on the very welcome fill-up that DG provides for the CD. This version of the Chichester Psalms was recorded live as an extra item for the collection of Bernstein's symphonies issued in 1978. The treble soloist from the Vienna Boys Choir in the second movement may be rather fruity for British taste, but the easy warmth and vigour of the piece come over compelling.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [5/1986]
Works on This Recording
Songfest by Leonard Bernstein
Rosalind Elias (Mezzo Soprano),
Donald Gramm (Bass Baritone),
Nancy Williams (Mezzo Soprano),
Neil Rosenshein (Tenor),
John Reardon (Baritone),
Clamma Dale (Soprano)
National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1977; USA
Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,
Vienna Youth Chorus
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1965; USA
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