Holiday Gifts for the Art Song Enthusiast

What I really want for Christmas

or

It's really not too late to buy me this for Hanukah

1. Round-trip tickets for two to New York City for The Marilyn Horne Foundation Recital: Vienna to Broadway on January 18, 2002 at 7:30 PM. in New York City. This year for the first time ever SUPERTITLES will be featured. For the singer in your life, a ticket to the entire January 16th to 18th master class series, of which this concert is the culmination, would be a terrific treat. For more details see our calendar addendum. For tickets call 212-721-6500 or visit the Julliard Theatre Box Office.

2. A little closer to home would be tickets for the rest of the Art Song of Williamsburg season, featuring Barbara Quintiliani, soprano and Charles Woodward, piano on January 25, 2002, and Pamela Armstrong, soprano with Melanie Day, pianist on April 7, 2002. Karen Scott tell us that she already has it on her personal wish list.

3. Take a friend to the master class with Harolyn Blackwell on March 26, 2002, 3:00 PM, the day after her recital March 25, 8:00 PM at Chandler Hall, ODU. These two events are free, and there are no reserved seats, so get there early.

4. Ten days later Virginia Art Song Society's master class with Richard Hundley takes place -April 7, 2002 at 3:00 PM. We hear that Hundley gives a very entertaining and informative presentation.

5. I certainly would love a ticket for Billye Brown Youmans' recital on January 21, 2002, 8:00 PM with Charles Woodward, piano and Barbara Chapman, harp. Titled Sacred Seasons, the concert will feature the world premier of local composer John Dixon's Songs of Sion. The venue is Virginia Wesleyan's Hofheimer Theatre.

6. At the top of my VHS tape list is I Hear America Singing, a historical survey of art song in America from the beginning to the present day. Thomas Hampson narrates the story built around the title line from the Walt Whitman poem. Hampson is joined at Town Hall in NYC by Marilyn Horne, Harolyn Blackwell, Dawn Upshaw, Fredericka von Stade and Jerry Hadley. There are three songs by Foster, two by Ives and single songs by Burleigh, Barber, Amy Beach, Bowles (Sugar in the Cane), Bolcom, Berstein, John Alden Carpenter, Copeland, Duke, Ricky Ian Gordon (Langston Hughes' My People), Griffes, Sidney Homer, MacDowell, Virgil Thompson, Ned Rorem, and Simple Gifts, the traditional Shaker hymn. John Browning and Craig Rutenberg, pianists, Mollie Mason, guitar, and Jay Unger, harmonica. A feast for the ear, eye and mind!

7. As a follow-up to the Williasmburg recital, a CD (D 120585) on London's historic recording series, Britten's Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo sung by Peter Pears, tenor in 1954. Britten is at the piano for this selection and his Winter Words, a cycle of eight songs. Also on this disc they are joined by Dennis Brain, horn and string orchestra for Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, recorded in 1944.

8. On Sony CD (SK 68339) Ev'ry time we say goodbye, Samuel Ramey, bass sings Paul Bowles' Blue Mountain Ballads and They Cannot Stop Death. This disc is a selection of 24 songs by Barber, Foster, Griffes, Gershwin and Porter. Warren Jones plays piano.

9. From the Catalyst CD (#09026-68409-2) The Music of Paul Bowles. This disc includes Secret Words: A Suite of Six Songs (1995) sing by baritone Kurt Ollmann. The EOS Ensemble, Jonathan Sheffer, conductor, also plays Pastorela: First Suite, Suite for Small Orchestra, Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, and The Wind Remains: A Zarzuela based on Federico Garcia Lorca (1941-42), sung by Carl Halvorson, tenor and Lucy Schaufer, mezzo.

10. A book on Paul Bowles would be a good addition to a musical library. I have read In Touch, The Letters of Paul Bowles edited by Jeffrey Miller, published by Flamingo (an imprint of Harper Collins), 1995. In a letter dated May 31, 1989, Bowles comments on a biography written about him by Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, An Invisible Spectator, a biography of Paul Bowles: "Obviously the author holds it against me that I refused to give him any information at any point. He was forced to invent. Of course Gore [Vidal] told me that if I agreed to cooperate, half the material would be wrong, but if I failed to do so, everything would be wrong...This was after begging him not to undertake the project." That being said, The Invisible Spectator was a good read with some factual errors and lots of pictures. Of the two, the letters are the most revealing and enlightening. From the youthful exuberance and unbridled self-expression to his measured and mature correspondence late in life, it is a journey well worth taking.

11. Phyllis Hunter recommends La Belle Epoque - The Songs of Reynaldo Hahn (Sony Classical 1267541), Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano and pianist Roger Vignoles in a recital of melodies includes Si mes vers avaient des ailes, L'enamourée, D'une prison, L'heure exquise. Gramophone notes, "Susan Graham perfectly captures elegant intimacy with a wealth of nuance...A disc wholeheartedly recommended."

12. Karen Scott, looking ahead to the January 20 VASS meeting recommends a CD of Mahler songs : Kindertotenlieder, Five Rüchert-Lieder, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, sung by mezzo-soprano Janet Baker (Angel CDC 47793) in her rich, velvety voice. One of my favorite female singers is Christa Lugwig, also on Angel (CDM 69499). The American virtuoso Thomas Hampson has explored Mahler deeply and has several CD's: Teldec (D 135255), Deutsche Grammophon (431682-2GH). Of course there is the great German art song interpreter Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau also on DG (415 191-2 GH).

13. Karen Scott also recommends a book: Nineteenth-Century French Song, Barbara Meister, (Fauré, Duparc, Chausson and Debussy). She would also like a good biography of any of the major art song composers. Karen, how about Hugo Wolf: Letters to Melanie Köchert, editor Louise McClelland Urban, foreword by Martin Katz.

14. For the singer on your list, Darryl Taylor of the African American Art Song Alliance suggests newly published spirituals arranged by Jacqueline Hairston for Kathleen Battle for Christmas: Mary Had a Baby, Mary and Her Baby Chile, Dormi, Jesu (Sleep, Blessed Babe), and several others. To order call Classical Vocal Reprints at 1-800-298-7474. Most are $4.95 each. We'll e-mail you the whole list if you ask.

15. Looking ahead to Jennifer Bern-Vogel's recital of Yiddish and Ladino art songs on March 12,2002, how about a copy of The Music of Israel, From the Biblical Era to Modern Times by Peter Gradenwitz, published by Amadeus Press. This is a new edition of a much-praised 1949 work, with new material on music of the Holocaust and on Jewish composers the world over.


A Short But Sweet Holiday Gift List
Christmas 2002

      1. Repeating a suggestion from last Christmas because it is such a great basic introduction to America art song:
      At the top of my VHS tape list is I Hear America Singing, a historical survey of art song in America from the beginning to the present day. Thomas Hampson narrates the story built around the title line from the Walt Whitman poem. Hampson is joined at Town Hall in NYC by Marilyn Horne, Harolyn Blackwell, Dawn Upshaw, Fredericka von Stade and Jerry Hadley. There are three songs by Foster, two by Ives and single songs by Burleigh, Barber, Amy Beach, Bowles (Sugar in the Cane), Bolcom, Berstein, John Alden Carpenter, Copeland, Duke, Ricky Ian Gordon (Langston Hughes' My People), Griffes, Sidney Homer, MacDowell, Virgil Thompson, Ned Rorem, and Simple Gifts, the traditional Shaker hymn. John Browning and Craig Rutenberg, pianists, Mollie Mason, guitar, and Jay Unger, harmonica. A feast for the ear, eye and mind!

      2. Kathleen Battle, soprano on Angel's Glory (Sony CD SK 62723) with Christopher Parkening on guitar. For the art song aficionado who finds so much Christmas music over-produced, this lovely album is wonderful. Most of the selections are spirituals and composed folk songs from around the world.

      3. A ticket to hear Barbara Quintiliani and Robynne Redmond in the Verdi Requiem with the Virginia Symphony on January 18 & 19, 2003.

      4. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The 2001 edition of 24 volumes is about $2,910 + shipping from your favorite bookseller. The 1995 edition of 20 paperback volumes is $500 from your favorite bookseller. From Labyrinth Books (labyrinthbooks.com), the first 19 paperback volumes (@$10 each) are available, so you can have 95% of the 1995 Grove for $204, which includes shipping. The reason for this special clearance discount: volume 20 (Virelai to Zywny) is unavailable.

      5. The art songs of Amy Beach, Chanson D'Amour on a BIS CD-1245, with the clear, clean and lovely voice of Emma Kirkby, who sings 18 songs with The Romantic Chamber Group of London (piano, violin, cello). Ten selections are with piano alone. The album also has Beach's Piano Trio in A Minor. This CD will help us all prepare for the women composers recital at ODU in January 2003.

Back to Christmas Wish List