vocal music

LIKE BEING FOUND - RIVETER        SOLPONTICELLO  SP-010

LIKE BEING FOUND CDThis album reveals a highly personal vision made out of twelve songs written and performed by Julie Powell, who as well as having a stunning voice also plays acoustic guitar and piano. Riveter creates a lush and sophisticated soundworld featuring fine musical detail and beautifully-crafted lyrics dealing with the many emotions of the heart. The songs have been influenced by a wide range of musical genres, from folk to country, and from jazz to worldbeat dance. The album was recorded in Athens by John Keane (of R.E.M. fame) and features fellow musicians Colin Bragg (electric guitar, lap steel, electric base), Erik Hinds (acoustic and classical guitar), Mike Hough (saxophone, percussion), Andrej Kurti (violin, acoustic guitar), Todd Mueller (drums, percussion) and Brian Smith.(electric bass, electric guitar).

MARINERS AND MILKMAIDS - TORONTO CONSORT     DORIAN DOR-93247

On this entertaining album the Toronto Consort, together with violinist David Greenberg, perform a vibrant selection of high-spirited ballads and dances from 17th Century England. Familiar tunes were often given newly composed ballad texts and the songs printed on single sheets of paper called ‘broadsides’. They were considered scandalous for their tales of romance, sexual adventures and misadventures, murders, wars, hangings, political scandals, street peddlars’ cries and other worldly matters, and today provide as telling a portrait of English society as Samuel Pepys’ diaries. The superb Toronto Consort explores rich historical sources such as John Playford’s The Dancing Master, Thomas D’Urfey’s Pills to Purge Melancholy, and William Chappell’s Popular Music of Olden Times. All the music is performed with convincing gusto.

ROMANTIC GEMS FOR MEZZO-SOPRANO - YVONNE NAEF    CLAVES CD 50-2309

The internationally renowned Swiss mezzo-soprano Yvonne Naef performs romantic masterpieces by Berlioz and Wagner. She is accompanied by the Capella Istropolitana conducted by David Heer, who also leads the Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra in performances of two instrumental chef d'oeuvres by Wagner and Gustav Mahler: Siegfried Idyll and the Adagietto from the fifth symphony. The three songs by Berlioz are the sensual, Spanish-influenced Zaïde (featuring castanets in the refrain), La captive (an exquisitely shaped melody of an enchanting stillness and beauty) and La belle voyageuse (the fourth song from his Irlande collection). The Wesendonck Lieder by Richard Wagner are settings of five poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of one of Wagner's benefactors who became his mistress during the 1850's. Wagner said of these intimate gems that ‘I have never produced anything better than these songs, and very few of my works will be able to stand comparison with them.’ The beautiful songs, originally for voice and piano, are enhanced by Hans Werner Henze's masterly orchestration.

TON DE LEEUW - CHORAL WORKS      NM CLASSICS 92102.

The compositions of Ton de Leeuw are a ‘blueprint of eternity’, often creating the impression of emerging from nothing and dissolving into nothing, thereby reflecting the composer’s interest in the art, nature and philosophy of the East. The choral works presented here are Priere (with a text largely derived from the Koran), the atmospheric A cette heure du jour, Cloudy Forms (written for four-part male choir) and Car nos vignes sont en fleur (with text taken from Song of Songs). The excellent Netherlands Chamber Choir is directed by Ed Spanjaard.

FARB TONE - CALMUS ENSEMBLE   QUERSTAND VKJK 0311

The harmonised voices of the Calmus Ensemble, perform a wide range of vocal music that explores a colourful spectrum, including works by contemporary composers such as Fredo Jung (‘The Year in Song’, written especially for the Calmus Ensemble), Viennese-born Andre Asriel and Ludwig Bohme. Other composers featured here include Robert Schumann (‘Toothache’, part of his Five Songs by Robert Burns), Mendelssohn (‘Water journey’), Brahms (‘To the homeland’ and ‘Nightwatch), Schubert (‘Alder King’) and Hugo Distler (‘The fire-rider). The Calmus Ensemble was founded in 1999 by five former members of the St. Thomas Boys Choir, and now offers the unique combination of a pure soprano voice (Anja Lipfert) with five male voices ranging from bass to countertenor. ’Top class singing’ - Frankenpost.

MAHLER - DAS LIED VON DER ERDE   REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-88CD

Two of America's finest young singers - Michelle DeYoung (mezzo) and Jon Villars (tenor) - give an intense performance of Gustav Mahler's greatest vocal work, Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). This profoundly moving ‘Symphony for tenor and alto (or baritone) voices and orchestra’ was composed in 1908 but not performed until after Mahler's death at the age of 50, when it was premiered by his protegé and friend, Bruno Walter. On this recording, Eiji Oue conducts the excellent Minnesota Orchestra. ‘For Mahler fans, this is simply a must-have recording’ - The Sensible Sound.

GALA DEL DIA - CHORAL MUSIC FROM THE AMERICAS  NORTH/SOUTH R 1025

The highly talented Americas Vocal Ensemble performs an anthology of wonderfully diverse choral music from the New World, recorded live at Christ Chapel of The Riverside Church in New York City. The album features a wide variety of styles, with fascinating music from the colonial era and adventurous works by living composers. These include Damon Lee's La exclamacion (The Exclamation), inspired by the poetry of Octavio Paz, the Nobel Laureate Mexican writer. Other composers include Carlos Guastavino (Gala del dia - “Day's Splendor”), Gunhild Glass (Three Songs on Texts by Garcia Lorca), Alberto Favero, Yvette Souviron (Carnavalito) and Owen Goldsmith (The Tender Affliction). There are excellent liner notes to accompany the recording and set the music in context.

FULL FATHOM FIVE - WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE     DANOCORD DACOCD 607

The youthful Academic Choir of Aarhus, Denmark, conducted by Uffe Most, perform delightful music inspired by the immortal lyrics of William Shakespeare. The composers on this imaginative album come from England, Swizerland and Scandinavia and feature Ralph Vaughan-Williams (Three Shakespeare Songs, including Full Fathom Five), Martin Lutz (Two Love Songs), Frank Martin (Songs of Ariel), Nils Lindberg (From 0 Mistress Mine), Knud Jeppesen (Four Shakespeare Songs), Jaakko Mntyjrvi (Four Shakespeare Songs, including another setting of Full Fathom Five) and Sven-Eric Johanson (Fancies I+II). The pianist is Signe Buch Sørensen.

THE FAIR DINKUM MATILDA - DENIS GIBBONS       MOVE MD3175

Grog shanties, road junctions and waterholes are brought to life by one of Australia’s most respected folk singers, Denis Gibbons. These rousing songs of the Australian Bush include the first recording of the original version of Banjo Paterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda (as well as the one now universally known and the ‘Queensland’ version). Also featured among the 23 songs on this entertaining album are Click Go The Shears, Wallaby Stew, The Wild Colonial Boy, The Drover’s Dream, Botany Bay and The Broken Down Squatter. ‘… songs, familiar and obscure, come evocatively to life in the hands of a premier folkie’ - Sunday Herald Sun.

CHANTS SACRES ET PROFANES         CBC MVCD 1155

Canada’s Tafelmusik Chamber Choir specialise in 17th and 18th century music and on this recording, under the leadership of conductor Ivars Taurins, they explore repertoire that is relatively unfamiliar musical territory for them - a compilation of a capella choral works by French composers. Written between 1865 and 1952, they include works by Poulenc (Exultate Deo), Fauré (Cantique de Jean Racine), Saint Saëns (Calme des nuits, Les fleurs et les arbres), Debussy (Dieu! Qu’il la fait bon regarder!) and Messiaen (O sacrum convivium! ). Most of the compositions are religious in inspiration while the rest are settings of secular texts, some drawn from authors of the past, others by the composers’ contemporaries. All are imbued with the same contemplative atmosphere; unforced expressiveness; rhythmic and melodic fluidity; and clarity. ‘...when Tafelmusik Chamber Choir is at the top of their game, there are few similar ensembles on earth that can touch them’ - The Globe and Mail.

FROM ANOTHER AMERICAN - KEVIN MAYNOR        GUILD GMCD 7247

On this splendid recording the magnificent voice of American bass Kevin Maynor can be heard to great effect on a repertoire of 21 songs chosen to show how the world perceives the USA. There are wonderfully tender interpretations of spirituals (This Little Light O’Mine), stirring songs such as America The Beautiful, We Shall Overcome and Battle Hymn of the Republic, as well as fine interpretations of gentler music (including Charles Chaplin’s Smile, Gershwin’s Love is Here to Stay and the Richard Rodgers standard, Where or When). The pianist is Eric Olsens. ‘This is a ‘super’ voice to compare not only to Robeson but also to the very greatest bass voices of the century’ - Fanfare magazine review of Kevin Maynor's CD Paul Robeson Remembered.

ICH LIEBE DICH NICHT - ANITA AMMERSFELD    PREISER  PR 90531.

Viennese-born Anita Ammersfeld sings 14 songs by Kurt Weill, featuring such favourites as Je ne t’aime pas, Surabaya-Johnny, and September Song. Anita Ammersfeld is a fine lyrical soprano, well known for her opera and operetta performances all over Europe. Her beautiful, well-trained voice and technique allows her to tackle a wide repertoire that ranges from Cherubin (Marriage of Figaro) to Dido (Dido and Aeneas). This a delightful CD that makes a welcome introduction to the works of one of the Twentieth Century’s most intriguing and influential composers.

AINHO ARTETA - ALEJANDRO ZABALA      ENSAYO ENY- CD-9810.

In this most enjoyable recital the impressive soprano Ainhoa Arteta, sensitively accompanied at the piano by Alejandro Zabala, sings a thrilling selection of songs by Vivaldi (Sposa son disprezzata), Puccini (E l’uccellino), Verdi (Stornello), Respighi, Fauré (Automn, Mandoline), Montsalvatge, Turina, Guridi (Dos melodias vascas) and García Abril. Ainhoa Arteta has unique and magical voice.

...IN THE RECEDING MIST...      NORTH/SOUTH N/S R 1003.

Recent musical innovations can often be seen as a reaction against the uncontrolled expansiveness of the Romantic era, and a renewed interest in chamber music has been a feature of contemporary times. The interesting works featured on this recording show great vitality, originality and creativity, and the four compositions are available on disc for the first time. Each successfully meets the compositional challenges posed by its chosen medium and the recording capture both the natural resonance of the concert hall and the wide dynamic range of the music. Max Lifchitz conducts the excellent North/South Consonance Ensemble and the soloists are Anne Marie Ketchum (soprano) and Constance Beavon (mezzo-soprano).

ACROSS THE BRIDGE OF HOPE - ERIK WESTBERG      OPUS3 CD 22012.

This is the second album by the outstanding Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble, following the group’s brilliant debut, Musica Sacra.The title song on Across the Bridge of Hope by 12 year old Shawn McLaughlin, who was a victim with 29 other people in the Omagh bombing in 1998. Earlier that year Shawn and a couple of friends had written a poem to express their longing for a peaceful future. The poem was read out on TV by President Mary McAleese and seen by Erik Westeberg, who was moved to contact the composer Jan Sandstrom. This extraordinary, touching song resulted, and it was later performed at the Millennium by a ‘relay’ of 8000 choristers singing in 310 choirs in 56 countries.

MUSIC AT THE CROSSROADS     NORTH/SOUTH N/S R 1005.

The adventurous listener will be pleasantly surprised by the diversity and originality found in the music featured in this album. These five recent compositions, recorded for the first time, represent a wide variety of aesthetic viewpoints. Of quite diverse temperament, technical and musical orientation, thesy paint a vivid image of the eclecticism apparent in today's musical soundscape. The highly original works are by Emma Lou Diemer (Sextet), Alexandre Rudajev (Petite Suite Parisienne), Marilyn Ziffrin (Three Songs of the Trobairitz), Allen Brings (Five Bagatelles) and Richard Toensing (Angels).

MUSICA SECRETA - DANGEROUS GRACES         LINN CKD 169.

Musica Secreta is a contemporary ensemble dedicated to the rediscovery of female musicians of the 16th and 17th centuries, and this intriguing new CD features a selection of madrigals by composers associated with the concerto di donne of Duke Alphonso II d’Este and his court at Ferrara. The Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore was a master of the time who introduced a more expressive style into the madrigal. All the works on this outstanding recording are by him or his pupils, especially Giaches de Wert and it gives a wonderfully illuminating introduction into one of the lesser known areas of musical culture.

ELEGY - ROBERT SHAW      TELARC CD80602.

The thirteen tracks in this beautiful and poignant collection have been chosen to evoke peace, reflection and remembrance. They include songs, laments, chants and single movements from large sacred works - all conducted by the late Robert Shaw, one of America’s finest choral conductors. Highlights include six verses of Gregorian Chant, the immaculate Sanctus from Faure’s Requiem, Ave Maria from Verdi’s Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Beethoven’s Elegiac Song and Brahms’s Song of Destiny. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are in fine form throughout.

CLASSIC FRENCH SONGS - EILEEN MAGER     EROICA JDT 3102.

The delightful Eileen Mager, accompanied by Ellen Brown on piano and keyboard, performs a charming selection of classic French songs, some well-known and others less familiar. They include Sous Le Ciel De Paris, Si Mes Vers Avaient Des Ailes, Le Chevalier De Paris, Plaisir D'Amour, Clair De Lune (Fauré/ Verlaine), Le Bonheur Est Chose Légère (Saint-Saens/Barbier & Carré), Romance (Debussy/Bourget), Chanson D'Amour, Ne Me Quitte Pas (Brel) and La Diva De ‘L'Empire (Satie/Bonnaud & Blès).

BROADWAY: LOVE & LAUGHTER - EILEEN MAGER      EROICA JDT 3103.

The repertoire of American soprano Eileen Mager is amazingly broad - from opera to jazz, Broadway to folk, classical religious works to spirituals and gospels. Her recitals have included works by more than 80 composers and on this vibrant CD she explores the Broadway musical in its many forms. The songs here include I Feel Pretty (from West Side Story), A Wonderful Guy (South Pacific), Adelaide's Lament (Guys & Dolls), Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (Pal Joey), I Hate Men (Kiss Me, Kate) and I Cain't Say No (Oklahoma). The pianist is the equally versatile Ellen Brown.

DEDINSKE SCENY - ANNIKA HUDAK      DAPHNE 1010.

Dedinské Scény (village scenes) features charming works by composers such as Bartok (Dedinské Scény/ Byscener), Martinu, Dvorak, Janacek and Miulas Schneider-Trnavsky. This delightful recording is by the promising Swedish mezzo soprano Annika Hudak, accompanied by Stefan Nymark at the piano.

MISA CRIOLLA - PHOENIX BOYS CHOIR      SUMMIT DCD 321.

The most striking characteristic of Misa Criolla is the successful setting of the Roman Catholic Mass text to South American folk rhythms. The piece cleverly bridges two great traditions: the liturgy of the Old World and dance-inspired folk music of the New. Additional works on this exceptional CD draw from the sacred European repertoire as well as popular folk songs of Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Brazil. The impressive Phoenix Boys Choir is directed by Georg Stangelberger.

EARTH CHANTS - IMANT RAMINSH       CBC SMCD 5219.

Imant Raminsh is an outstanding Latvian-Canadian composer, conductor and violinist. His distinctive choral textures, lush harmonies and lyrical melodic sense are apparent on this fine CD, exploring secular and sacred subject matter while demonstrating the significant role the landscape of Western Canada has played in the composer's life. The sacred works include the short mass, Missa Brevis in C minor, for soprano solo, choir and orchestra, Ubi caritas, an a cappella setting of a Latin hymn, the contemplative and tender Stabat Mater and another a cappella work which combines mixed chorus with an obligato part for unison children's voices. The two secular works reflect Raminsh's attitudes of love an respect for nature. The first is a set of seven songs called Earth Chants, with texts taken from English translations of the originals in Inuit, Chippewa, Sioux, Nahuatl, Winnebago, Tewa and Wintu languages. The second, What Voices in an Unkown Tongue, is written for the unusual combination of mezzo soprano solo, viola solo and unaccompanied choir. The music is performed by the brilliant Vancouver Chamber Choir, featuring soloists Mariateresa Magisano (mezzo soprano), Jennie Such (soprano), Nicolo Eugelmi (violin) and Siri Olesen (soprano). Also featured are the senior girls chorus from the Vancouver Children’s Choir and the CBC Radio Orchestra, conducted by Jon Washburn.

SEMPRE AMOR - PORTUGUESE LOVE SONGS     LONDON INDEPENDENT LIR 002.

On this fine recording, the gifted soprano Lorna Anderson and the Apollo Chamber Players perform 17 expressive Portuguese love songs from the Romantic era, including Dize amor, A noiva do sepulcro (Uma cruz e branca pedra), Se te adoro e te prefiro and the wonderful Deliro, e sospiro. The songs (Modinhas) are arranged by David Chernaik. Lorna Anderson has appeared in opera, concert and recital throughout Europe and has previously recorded music by Schubert, Handel, Purcell and others. The Apollo Chamber Players are all principal players with the Apollo Chamber Orchestra.

CLERAMBAULT - LES COUCOUS BENEVOLES     CBC MVCD 1152.

‘La sagesse jamais n’a rien de trop sévère, et jamais le plaisir n’a rien de dangereux’ - ‘Wisdom refrains from too much censure, and pleasure leads to no danger’. These lines from Louis-Nicolas Clérambault’s cantata L’Isle de Délos describe the essence of Arcadia, an idyllic, mythical place where prudence and pleasure are at odds, where the gods of ancient Greece converse with the courtiers of the Sun King, and all play at love with an innocent impunity. On this excellent new recording the early music ensemble Les Coucous Bénévoles (‘The Benevolent Cuckoos’) and celebrated soprano Ann Monoyios explore the serious and lighter side of Clérambault. Works include his wonderful, dramatic cantata Orphée and the serenely pastoral L’Isle de Délos. These are highly evocative and stylish performances of delightful music.

BACH: MAGNIFICAT - ROBERT SHAW      PEARL GEM 0180.

Before his great fame with the eponymous Chorale, American-born Robert Lawson Shaw made other fine recordings. This extremely valuable CD features music he produced between 1945 and 1947, including Blanche Thebom and Susanne Frail in J S Bach’s wonderful Magnificat in D. The CD also includes rich recordings of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzer (with Pierre Luboschutz and Genia Nemenoff, pianos) and Hindemith’s Six Chansons (based on poems by Rilke), as well as excerpts from an outstanding Mass in B minor by Bach (featuring the brilliant violinist Oscar Shumsky).

TRANSIENCE - JOEL FEIGIN     NORTH/SOUTH N/S R 1011.

The music of Joel Feigin is rooted in the history of European-American concert music yet rich with the juxtapositions possible in post-war, postmodern America. His work is never easy-listening, yet is always approachable as it confidently negotiates the tricky aesthetic borders. Born in New York in 1951, and a practicing Buddhist, his music is exuberant and highly imaginative. The ten pieces on these two discs reveal a fine gift for melody and include Eight Japanese Poems, First Tragedy, Five Ecstatic Poems of Kabir, Veranderungen, Transience and Nexus. Fred Cohen ably conducts Musicians’ Accord and the soprano soloist is Christine Schadeberg.

JOYOUS LIGHT - ISABEL BAYRAKDARIAN      CBC SMCD 5215

The outstanding young Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, together with the Elmer Iseler Singers conducted by the acclaimed Raffi Armenian, brings insight and emotional strength to this simple yet haunting music, which speaks directly to the listener in very intimate terms. The imaginative arrangements are scored by Peter Shoujounian for a small chamber ensemble and male choir. The men from the Elmer Iseler Singers add a delectable choral texture interweaving with the undulating, pure melodic line of Ms. Bayrakdarian. The texts are drawn from the liturgy of the Armenian service, and by turn are contemplative, expressive, allegorical and mysterious. The stunningly beautiful music on Joyous Light is nourishment for mind, spirit and body.

L’INVITATION AU VOYAGE - HENRI DUPARC       CBC MVCD 1148.

Henri Duparc (1848-1933) was notoriously self-critical and destroyed much that he wrote. Nevertheless, he had a collection of sixteen songs to his credit by the time he was 35, together with a few orchestral works and piano pieces. Almost all his songs stand comparison with the greatest in the history of French mélodies. The first five were published in 1869 as Cinq mélodies, Op. 2. Duparc later withdrew Romance, Sérénade and Le Galop, and attempted to destroy all copies. With L'Invitation au voyage, a setting of one of Baudelaire's grandest poems, he produced the first of a series of masterpieces. It was destined to find a poignant, regretful counterpart in Duparc's final song, La Vie antérieure. In this exemplary recording the performers are two of Canada's finest soloists, the mezzo soprano Catherine Robbin and baritone Gerald Finley, accompanied by the admirable pianist Stephen Ralls.

AVEC LE TEMPS - PALOMA BERGANZA      ENSAYO ENY-CD-7701.

The superb Paloma Berganza, with the Horacio Icasto Trio, sings songs by Georges Moustaki, Jacques Brel, Hubert Giraud-Jean Dréjac, Léo Ferré, George Brassens, Marguerite Monnot, Edith Piaf, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Norbert Glanzberg, Louiguy and Mikis Théodorakis. These include Sour le ciel de Paris, Ne me quitte pas, L’Hymne à l’amour, La vie en rose, Avec le temps, Le parapluie, Les eaux de mars, Milord, Ma solitude, Padam padam, La chanson des vieux amants, Nous sommes deux, La valse a mille temps. Berganza’s terrific performances bring these smoky, atmospheric songs to life.

LOVE & LAMENT - CAPPELLA FIGURALIS      CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS

The brilliant Cappella Figuralis ensemble was founded in 1989, and as was usually the custom in the 17th and 18th centuries they almost always perform in a one-on-a-part disposition, varying from two to ten singers and an equal number of instrumentalists. Early in the 17th century, composers in Italy discovered the dramatic power of small ensembles, mostly abandoning the traditional a cappella polyphonic style. On this delectable recording the ensemble perform passionate music by, among others, Monteverdi (Lamento della Ninfa), Frescobaldi (Toccata 2a in F), Mazzocchi (Lamento di David), Johann Kapsberger (Toccata Settima) and Alessandro Della Ciaia (Lamentatio Virginis in dispositione Filii de cruce). ‘Their subtle way of making music, which is void of any exaggeration, is a blessing’ - Reformatorisch Dagblad.

CLAVIERBUCHLEIN VOR ANNA MAGDALENA BACHIN     QUERSTAND VKJK 0110.

The first ‘Clavierbuchlein vor Anna Magdalena Bachin - ANNO 1722’ was begun by Johann Sebastian Bach’s second wife and artistic companion soon after they were married in 1721. In 1725, they began a second ‘Clavierbuchlein’. The songs and arias, clearly intended for Anna Magdalena, are sung on this beautifully paced recording by the fine mezzo soprano Alexandra Roseler. The other exceptional musicians featured are Hartmut Becker, Georg Christoph Biller and Carola Christoph.

BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?     NEW WORLD NW 80270.

This hugely welcome CD reissue from the original New World LP features 16 evocative American songs that were popular during the Great Depression (1929–1941). America was much less homogeneous then than it became after the Second World War so there were still sharply defined classes, divided along economic, geographic, and ethnic lines. Each group was affected by the Depression, but in different ways and to different degrees, and each had its own tradition of popular song. This superb compilation of recordings from the thirties gives a vivid picture of how each fared and how it reacted to the almost universal adversity of that decade. The 36-page booklet has a fascinating essay on the Great Depression as well as valuable notes on each recording by the American music scholar Charles Hamm. Outstanding tracks include Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? (Bing Crosby), Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries (Rudy Vallee), Love Walked In (Kenny Baker), On the Good Ship Lollipop (Shirley Temple), The Gold Digger’s Song: We’re in the Money (Dick Powell), All in Down and Out Blues (Uncle Dave Macon) and I Ain’t Got No Home in This World Anymore (the incomparable Woody Guthrie).

CHANTS D’AUVERGNE - CANTALOUBE     CBC SMCD 5224.

The wonderful Karina Gauvin performs music by the French composer, Marie-Joseph Canteloube de Malaret, or Joseph Canteloube, as he is better known. His delightful and intimate Chants d’Auvergne are folksong arrangements based on his love for the Auvergne and its language. All the songs are treated with affection as well as a profound respect for the people and music of this mountainous and fiercely independent region. Karina Gauvin has chosen songs which illustrate the wide range of Canteloube’s art and which evoke the major themes of these folksongs; shepherd’s songs that recreate a pastoral setting, songs of love and unrequited love and the joyous labouring songs and dances. The singer is accompanied by the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Raffi Armenian. ‘How may one again praise la belle Gauvin? ...suffice it to note her vocal opulence has somehow improved on excellence, with her compelling urgency and potent characterization better than ever’ - The Toronto Star.

ALAN HOVHANESS SONGS     CRYSTAL CD815.

These very rare recordings date from around 1970 and feature the wonderful bass voice of Ara Berberian, accompanied by the composer Alan Hovhaness - also a brilliant pianist. The beautiful works here are Love Songs of Hafiz, How I Adore Thee, Black Pool of Cat, Lullaby of the Lake, Dawn at Laona, Three Odes of Solomon and Out of the Depths.

ALAN HOVHANESS SONGS, VOL. 2     CRYSTAL CD816.

The fascinating recordings on this second volume of Alan Hovhaness songs again feature the magnificent bass voice of Ara Berberian accompanied by the composer Alan Hovhaness at the piano. The intriguing works here include The Flute Player of the Armenian Mountains, Distant Lake of Sighs, Under a Byzantine Dome, In Early Dawn Time, From High Armenia Mountain, Two Shakespeare Sonnets (No.29 : When in Disgrace and No. 30: When to the Sessions), Live in the Sun and Pagan Saint.

THE PAUL ROBESON LEGACY - WILLARD WHITE      LINN AKD 190.

In these new arrangements specially made for the singer, the superb Jamaican-born bass-baritone performs a collection of sprituals and ballads made famous by the legendary singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson. Highlights include fine versions of Joe Hill, Lazy Bones, Mood Indigo, Eriskay Love Lilt and On My Journey Now, and Willard White’s subtle yet rich voice brings wit as well as gravitas to these iconic songs. This is a worthy tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable and influential performers.

SONGS OF THE AUVERGNE - CANTALOUBE      VANGUARD VSD 502.

The ever-popular Songs of the Auvergne, as arranged by Joseph Cantaloube, are here made wondrously fresh in these beautiful performances by the soprano Netania Davrath. The orchestra is conducted by Pierre de la Roche and the original master recordings have been re-released in brilliant SACD format.

ZARZUELA GALA - CARLOS ALWAREZ      ENSAYO ENY-CD-9811.

In this tuneful and irrisistible celebration of zarzuela, the great baritone Carlos Alvarez and young soprano Ana Ibarra are joined by the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galacia, conducted by Miquel Ortega. Priority is given to ‘zarzuela grande’, which deliciously blends folk influences with aspects of Italian opera. There are also fragments of ‘genero chico’, which includes the most pure and evocative aspects of the zarzuela. A delight throughout.

PABLO       MOVE MD 3257.

Pablo's debut CD features the folk, pop and soul side of this Australian a cappella male sextet. The album is the culmination of years of work by a group of musicians who communicate their obvious enjoyment of singing in harmony. Pablo's diverse membership includes a composer, a lawyer and a Latin scholar; all of them ex-Ormond College Choir members. The musical repertoire here ranges effortlessly from Mediaeval motets to spirituals to Billy Joel, and there is a particularly spirited version of the Drunken Sailor sea shanty. Anyone who enjoys The Kings' Singers should certainly investigate this CD of fine male a cappella singing. ‘The life of any party’ - Herald Sun.

CARMINA BURANA - CARL ORFF   VANGUARD OVC 8208.

Fritz Mahler, cousin of the composer Gustav Mahler, leads a dramatic reading of this ebullient, racy and famous score written by Carl Orff in 1936. The excellent Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Chorale are joined by the soloists Sylvia Stahlman (soprano), John Ferrante (tenor) and Canadian Morley Meredith (baritone).

LOVE & LAMENT      CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS 17098.

The renowned Netherlands-based ensemble Cappella Figuralis perform seven delightful pieces by Baroque composers including Monteverdi (Lamento della Ninfa), Frescobaldi (Toccata 2a in F), Alessandro Della Ciaia (Lamentatio Virginis in dispositione Filii de cruce) and Giacomo Carissimi (Historia di Jephte). The conductor is Jos van Veldhoven.

MAGGIE TEYTE - MELODIES       PEARL GEMM CD 9134.

Maggie Teyte was born Margaret tate in Wolverhampton in 1888 and went on to become one of the finest sopranos of her generation. Debussy greatly admired her performance as Melisande and she always sang with authenticity and sensual charm. Her ravishing voice can be heard to fine effect on these works by Debussy, Duparc, Berlioz (Nuits D’Ete) and Faure. Her distinguished piano accompanists are Gerald Moore, Leslie Howard and Alfred Cortot.

VIVALDI - SOPRANO CANTATAS      HELICON HE 1032.

Male soprano Randall Wong-Male specialises in performances of vocal Baroque repertoire. This fine and remarkable artist here interprets the work of Antonio Vivaldi, including his Sorge Vermiglia in Ciel, All’Ombra di Sospetto, Amor, Hai Vinto, La Farfalletta S’Aggira al Lume and Lungi dal Vago Volto. The accompanying musicians are Linda Burman-Hall (harpsichord), Paul Hale (violincello), Elizabeth Blumenstock (violin), Lita Miller (flute) and Michael Dollendorf (bassoon).

CANTARES    OPERA TRES CD1035-ope.

Together with songs by Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca, basic to the Spanish voice and guitar repertory, this CD includes a recording of a very little known work by Roberto Gerhard, performed by the soprano Juanita Lascarro and the guitarist Marco Socías.

JULIA POWELL - MUSIC SWIMS BACK TO ME    SOLPONTICELLO SP-006.

A small chamber ensemble of percussion, strings and the splendid voice of soprano Ellen Ritchey perform haunting music composed by Julia Powell with words by Anne Sexton. This journey of discovery, often soulful and lyrical, begins with the title track and ends with a redemptive Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.

BERNARD VAN DIEREN COLLECTION      BRITISH MUSIC LABEL BML 001.

The composer Bernard van Dieren was born in Rotterdam but from the age of 22 he lived and worked in London. His work was praised by Walton and Wrlock but has been little heard since his death in 1936. This admirable CD seeks to make amends by including performances of his Songs for High Voice & Piano and Songs for High Voice & String Quartet. The performers are Ludmilla Andrew, Philip Thomas and the Emperor String Quartet. There are also pieces for solo violin and piano, played by Chris Nicholls, Eiluned Davies and Jonathan Ayerst.

SONGS FROM THE EXOTIC - POLLY MAY       DELPHIAN DCD 34002.

The fine young mezzo-soprano Polly May performs the premiere recordings of Judith Weir's passionate Songs From the Exotic (influenced by widely varied folk songs) and Luciano Berio's declamatory Quattro Canzoni Popolari, accompanied on the piano by Lucy Walker. Also included here are Polly May’s sultry interpretation of Falla's Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas and delightful versions of Rodrigo’s Madrigales Amatorios.

NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART - RUSSIAN ROMANCES     CBC MVCD 1144.

The outstanding Canadian soprano, Joanne Kolomyjec, of Ukrainian extraction explores a wide range of repertoire by nine different Russian composers. The works include such popular melodies as Tchaikowsky's None but the Lonely Heart, as well nearly twenty other romances by such composers as Rimsky-Korsakov (The Swift Parade of Clouds), Glinka (The Lark), Mussorgsky (Night) and Rachmaninoff (Spring Torrents, Lilacs). The pianist is the distinguished Canadian Janina Fialkowska.

LILACS FOR VOICE AND ORCHESTRA      SUMMIT DCD 274.

George Walker, born in Washington, DC, of West Indian-American parentage, went on to become a fine concert pianist, composer and teacher. This CD includes his poignant composition Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra, inspired by a Walt Whitman poem reflecting on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The soprano soloist is the renowned Faye Robinson and the Promusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Ohio, is conducted by Timothy Russell. Other Walker compositions on this CD include Tangents for Chamber Orchestra, Sonata for Violin and Piano and rhapsodic String Quartet No. 2.

VIVALDI - NISI DOMINUS       ENSAYO ENY-CD-9718.

The superb Teresa Berganza and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Antoni Ros Marba, perform Antonio Vivaldi’s Psalm 126 cantata, ‘Nisi Dominus’. Written in dramatic and operatic style, the music is lyrical and full of human emotion. The other soloists include Olga Hegedus (cello) and Rosemary Green (viola d’amore).

SWEDISH LIEDER, VOLUME 1      PHONO SUECIA PSCD 707:2.

More Swedish songs are given outstanding interpretations by Malena Ernman (mezzosoprano), Olle Persson (baritone) and Bengt-Ake Lundin (piano). The composers include Sigurd von Koch, Gustaf Nordqvist, Moses Pergament and Ingmar Milveden.

IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE.    THE BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY.

This delightful CD captures songs Shakespeare has inspired in composers of many nations and periods. The works are by Purcell (If music be the food of love), Schubert (Who is Sylvia?), Mendelssohn, Debussy (La fille aux cheveux de lin), Arthur Sullivan, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein and many others. Soprano Georgina Anne Colwell is joined on piano by Margaret Bruce.

GIGLI - THE COMPLETE HMV RECORDINGS      ROMOPHONE 82023-2.

This fourth volume in Romophone’s invaluable series devoted to Beniamino Gigli’s HMV single recordings explores those made in 1938-40, when the great tenor was in his mid 40s and his magnificent voice was as strong than ever. The classical “Amarilli” by Caccini is seductively interpreted, as is Tosti’s “Aprile”. Other works include Donaudy’s lyrical “O del mio amato ben” and Giuseppe Pietri’s lovely aria “Io conosco un giardino”, as well as “Amor ti vieta” from Giordano’s Fedora and the last-act Azucena-Manrico duet from Il trovatore, in which he is joined by Cloe Elmo. The final sessions included here, dating from November 1940, feature Des Grieux’s impassioned Act 3 outburst from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. The sound restoration on these historic recordings is impeccable and the CD accompanying booklet has discographic information, some fine illustrations and exemplary programme notes by Alan Blyth.

THE CHAUCER SONGBOOK - CAROL WOOD      EROICA JDT 3038.

Evocative Celtic music and early music for harp and voice are delightfully sung by the multi-talented American Carol Wood, who also plays harp and keyboard on various tracks and has arranged all the music. The other musicians are Ross Allured (vocals), Charles Coley (flute, recorder), Sylvia Hankin (percussion), Laurie Robertson (vocals) and Tina Wing (vocals, guitar).

MIRRORS - OLLE PERSSON/MATTI HIRVONEN      DAPHNE 1014.

Music by late 20th century composers Jonas Forssell, Hans Gefors and Kjell Perder is sensitively performed by the fine Swedish baritone Olle Persson, accompanied by the pianist Matti Hirvonen. All three of the composers involved have written operas, while at the same time feeling a need to express themselves in a more intimate format.

NYOSTREM SONGS - CHARLOTTE HELLEKANT      DAPHNE 1017.

One of our Sweden’s best-known mezzo-sopranos, Charlotte Hellekant, accompanied by pianist Anders Kilstrom, sings Gosta Nystroem’s settings of poems by Par Lagerkvist, Ebba Lindquist, Edith Sodergran, Hjalmar Gullberg and others. Nystroem is one of Sweden’s most important composers yet many of these songs have never been recorded before. Nature and poetry were the composer’s main sources of inspiration and her songs make for intensely expressive drama. Charlotte Hellekant is the ideal interpreter of these demanding yet immensely rewarding works.

THE BEASTS OF BETHLEHEM - CAROL WOOD     EROICA JDT 3075

Guest artists Charles Coley (basson and recorder), Rick Condit (Irish whistle), Sylvia Hankin (percussion), Laurie Robertson (vocals), Ken Turner (acoustic and synthesized percussion), Hugh Wallis (vocals) and Tina Wing (vocals) join vocalist and harpist Carol Wood on a selection of charming pieces. The Beasts of Bethlehem is a song cycle based on the poems of American poet X J Kennedy. Other works include The Oxen, with words by Thomas Hardy, and The Carol of the Birds, a traditional Catalonian song. All the music is composed and brilliantly arranged by Carol Wood, who also plays the Celtic harp and sings with great sensitivity.

ARDED, CORAZON, ARDED     OPERA TRES CD1036-ope.

Some of the foremost performers of Spanish baroque music reveal these fine examples from the vocal repertory heard in Spanish cathedrals and theatres during the Golden Age of the seventeenth century. This wonderful music shows both the unity and diversity of the secular repertory in the Iberian Peninsula at that time.

SWEDISH LIEDER, VOLUME 1      PHONO SUECIA PSCD 707:1.

Karin Ingeback (soprano), Gabriel Suovanen (baritone) and Hans-Erik Goksoyr (piano) perform twentieth songs by Swedish composers, including Knut Hakanson, Josef Jonsson, Josef Eriksson and Gosta Nystroem.

WE ONLY WANT THE EARTH - CORNELIUS CARDEW       MUSICNOW MNCDx004.

The 19 rare tracks performed by Cornelius Cardew and Peoples’ Liberation Music on this CD date from the 1970s and the music vividly reflects its time. The chosen songs are uncompromising in their directness and Cardew's pieces are unique in their clear-cut settings of political texts. PLM was formed by a group of musicians to support the struggles of the working class and people. It came directly out of developments within the Scratch Orchestra in the early 70s and performed at rallies, socials and universities. It was active in anti-fascist struggles and the working class and trade union movement, playing on demonstrations and producing many broadsheets, posters, song books and recordings. As well as Cornelius Cardew, the musicians on this collection include Vicky Silva, Laurie Baker, Keith Rowe and Geoff Pearce. Perhaps the most intriguing track is a version of Paul and Linda McCartney’s controversial Give Ireland Back to the Irish, one of many songs on this fascinating CD that retain their relevance and vigour today.

THE JOURNEY OF LOVE THROUGH LIFE      CLASSICPRINT CPVP005CD.

On this beautifully produced CD Evelyn Tubb (soprano), Richard Burnett (fortepiano) and Lesley Schatzberger (clarinet) perform nineteenth century works by Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Louis Spohr and Franz Lachner. These songs bring together the Romantic musician’s love of literature and desire to create ‘programme music’, like a collection of family photographs, ranging from the spontaneous and informal to the ceremonial. Music to console and delight.

GOLDEN FIRE - TIMOTHY SULLIVAN     CLASSXDISCS CXD 001.

The sensitive, subtle music on Golden Fire consists of premiere recordings of three ravishing new works by Timothy Sullivan, best known as a composer of opera (Florence: The Lady with the Lamp) and ballet. The CD includes A Magic Casement (a song cycle about the fanciful world of faeries for two voices and two pianos), Two Pianos (a rhythmic, compelling score which toured North America with the Dance Theater of Harlem) and A Soft and Golden Fire (the poetry of James Joyce set in the Celtic atmosphere of flute, voice and harp). These entrancing performances are by the Canadian musicians Linda Maguire, Kathleen Brett, Robert Cram, Sanya Eng, Duo Turgeon and The Aldeburgh Connection (Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata). ‘Sensual and intriguing; all of the performances are true to the music, well-performed and sincere - CBC Radio.

CARL ORFF - CARMINA BURANA      TELARC CD-80575.

One of the twentieth century’s most popular and spectacular works is magnificently performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of their principal guest conductor, Donald Runnicles. Carl Orff’s choral and orchestral masterpiece brilliantly combines archaic thirteenth century Latin and High German poetry with simple, folk-like melodies and primal rhythms to create unforgettable images of the eternal springtime of the human soul. The soloists on this superbly crafted recording are Hei-Kyung Hong (soprano), Stanford Olsen (tenor) and Earle Patriarco (baritone). ‘Runnicles' first ASO recording is a smash success, and it jumps onto a short list of best Carmina Burana recordings’ - Atlanta Journal Constitution.

THE NEW IRISH GIRL - CLARA SANABRAS      LINN CKD 164.

On this delightful selection of folk songs and ballads Clara Sanabras accompanies herself on the lute and baroque guitar, with additional accompaniment from William Carter and various members of the Palladian Ensemble. The arrangements are pleasingly uncluttered and the performances subtle throughout. The songs include such traditional favourites as The Jug of Punch, She Moved Through the Fair and Lord Rendal, together with many rarities rescued from crumbling library books.

NOVELLETTE E MADRIGALE       DYNAMIC MUSICA ANTICA CDS 384.

Little is known of the life and work of Simone Balsamino from Urbino. At the end of the sixteenth century he published his Novellette, a collection of six-voice madrigals dedicated to Francesco Maria II Della Rovere, which includes a spiritual madrigal and seventeen madrigals derived from Tasso’s Aminta. Balsamino’s style is typical of the music of his day, experimenting in his use of both monody and polyphony. This excellent CD also includes the complex Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi, first staged in Venice’s Palazzo Mocenigo in 1624 and included in the 8th volume of Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi con alcuni opuscoli di genere rappresentativo, published in 1638. All the works are admirably performed by the Madrigalists of Radio Svizzera Italiana conducted by Diego Fasolis.

 

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