American Orchestral Song

WRTI is getting so busy, what with a growing membership, HD2 and increasing local programming, that they’ve asked me to write some CD reviews for their e-newsletter, to spread the wealth around. I wrote liner notes once, on the Naxos William Henry Fry release, but reviewing is new ground. Here’s my first try, keeping it within the assigned character count of 750-900. Character counts, who knew?

American Orchestral Song
Patrick Mason, baritone, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann, conductor. Bridge 9254

If you love vocal music as I do…and orchestral music…and American music…and rare music…then you must have this CD! Bridge Records shines its light on another corner of overlooked repertoire with American Orchestral Song. Spanning the years 1893 to 1964, it includes two premiere recordings, Horatio Parker’s Wagnerian-tinged rhapsody Cahál Mór of the Wine-Red Hand, and Roy Harris’s Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun to words of Walt Whitman, called “a great, lost 20th century American masterpiece.” Well, lost no more.

This 2007 Grammy nominee for Best Classical CD also includes songs by Carpenter and Griffes—big names a hundred years ago and always worth hearing—and The Feast of Love by Virgil Thomson. Patrick Mason’s smooth and nuanced baritone is ably accompanied by this fine Danish orchestra, packing emotion and technique to spare.

Well, we did feature the Horatio Parker on Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, and I really did like this CD, the whole thing. Good for Bridge for bringing this out. Kind of kooky with all the ellipses in the first sentence, I know. What can I tell you, my first review. You can read all my CD reviews here.

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