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American Songs - Hoiby, Larsen, Etc / Michaels, Buccheri


Release Date: 09/26/2006 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 91   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Lee HoibyLaurie AltmanH. Leslie Adams
Performer:  Patrice MichaelsElizabeth Buccheri
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



AMERICAN SONGS Patrice Michaels (sop); Elizabeth Buccheri (pn); Matthew Duvall (perc) 1 ÇEDILLE 90000 091 (73:36 & )


HOIBY An Immortality. What If. The Message. The Shepherd. The Wand of the Wind. ALTMAN O del mio dolce ardor—a reimagining. ADAMS Branch by Branch. Read more Homesick Blues. The Wider View. GRIER Who Has Seen the Wind. LARSEN Perineo. PEARSON THOMAS Amarilli, mia bella. 1 CARL Beginning My Studies. MUSTO Dove sta amore. EWAZEN 3 Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay. TUCKER Mots d’heures: Gousses, Rames. BOWKER Bingo. HARMON Light Feet


If your knowledge of American art song is like mine, in that it stops after Copland, Ives, and Bernstein, then this disc could be worth investigating. Not the kind of repertoire I would normally review, but being sent a copy marked “top priority” makes one fairly intrigued. No doubt I was sent it because the Editor wanted a view from the other side of the Atlantic. With 12 living composers represented and a clutch of world premiere recordings among the tracks on this unique and generously filled disc, the chances were that something would please. All of the songs stick firmly within the bounds of tonality.


Five songs by Lee Hoiby open proceedings with settings of Pound, Blake, Coleridge, and Donne. Their means are concise, yet they create a luxuriant atmosphere through the accompaniments particularly. There is a fondness for long, soaring vocal lines. Laurie Altman’s sole example is based freely upon Gluck, and is “a reimagining” in the true sense: enough of the Italianate opera aria is maintained in both vocal line composition and performance, though to a lesser extent in the accompaniment. Leslie Adams favors reflective and philosophical lyrics. His music, too, is suitably questing and wistful, containing gentle Gallic perfumes alongside a pleasing blues influence. Lita Grier brings a touch of piquancy to proceedings with her single song, though the mood of the text follows Adams’s Grenville setting well in the overall program.


Libby Larsen’s lengthy song mixes the Spanish and English languages, often to telling effect in the vocal ranges employed: uniform sotto voce, a hint of pure speech, and much in between. Pearson Thomas’s single song is amongst the most immediately ear catching of all that are on this disc. With long, floated vocal lines of the utmost sensuality and evenness, Michaels here has a bravura opportunity to display her formidable technique. The accompaniment, too, is worthy of comment: a piano played most delicately with mallets, to create a barely perceptible aura of echoes in this raga-infused piece.


A song drawn from a cycle by Fanfare colleague Robert Carl follows. Whitman’s mixture of short and longer lines is handled with grace and feeling. Carl often pares down voice and accompaniment to echo musically the lyrical suggestion: a pity that no more of the cycle was included to make more of an impression. Three complete cycles are included, John Musto’s being the first and the longest. His idiom ranges from the loosely jazz-imbued to the more prosaic. Eric Ewazen’s writing seems grounded much firmer in European tradition, while maintaining rich rolling accompaniments. Dan Tucker captures fun in the brevity of his “bad” French songs, as does Robert Bowker in the innuendo of his song. Michaels signs off with an accompanied vocalise written for her by John Harmon.


Patrice Michaels’s soprano is not the shy and retiring type. She is expressive with words and generally clear in enunciation; though the texts are as welcome in the booklet as the brief composer biographies. In fortissimo passages Michaels’s tone becomes a little pressed, and one could wish that she were not placed so forwardly in the recording. Elizabeth Buccheri’s piano is also amply full of tone and her playing suggests appropriate moods and colors throughout the highly varied repertoire. Overall, most enjoyable.


FANFARE: Evan Dickerson
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Works on This Recording

1.
An immortality by Lee Hoiby
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
2.
What if... by Lee Hoiby
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; USA 
3.
The Message by Lee Hoiby
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Two songs of innocence: no 2, The Shepherd by Lee Hoiby
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
5.
Songs (6) for Leontyne: no 5, In the Wand of the Wind by Lee Hoiby
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
O del mio dolce ardor — A Reimagining by Laurie Altman
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7.
Millay Songs (5): no 2, Branch by branch by H. Leslie Adams
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USA 
8.
Homesick Blues by H. Leslie Adams
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
9.
The Wider View by H. Leslie Adams
Performer:  Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Elizabeth Buccheri (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; USA 

Sound Samples

An Immorality
What If...?: What If
The Message
The Shepherd
Songs for Leontyne: No. 5. In the Wand of the Wind: In the Wand of the Wind
O del mio dolce ardor - A Reimagining
Branch by Branch
Homesick Blues
The Wider View
5 Songs for Children: Who Has Seen the Wind
Perineo
Amarilli, mia bella
Beginning My Studies
Dove Sta. Amore: No. 1. Maybe
Dove Sta. Amore: No. 2. Sea Chest
Dove Sta. Amore: No. 3. The Hangman at Home
Dove Sta. Amore: No. 4. How Many Little Children Sleep
Dove Sta. Amore: No. 5. Dove sta amore...
3 Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay: No. 1. God's World
3 Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay: No. 2. Wraith
3 Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay: No. 3. Afternoon on a Hill
Mots d'heure: Gousses, rames (Mother Goose Rhymes): No. 1. Un petit d'un petit
Mots d'heure: Gousses, rames (Mother Goose Rhymes): No. 2. Chacun Gille
Mots d'heure: Gousses, rames (Mother Goose Rhymes): No. 3. Lit-elle messe moffette
Mots d'heure: Gousses, rames (Mother Goose Rhymes): No. 4. Eau la quille ne colle
Bingo
Light Feet

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