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Ives - Romanzo di Central Park
“Gerald Finley has everything and more in his darkly full-bodied voice to match the often formidable technical and expressive requirements of Ives’s songbook—reinforced by Drake’s elastic, expressive piano … this is a must-buy album” The Times
“This is a highly successful follow-up to Gerald Finley and Julius Drake’s first Ives recital from 2005. Here there is the same sort of mix, from familiar songs such as The Circus Band and Watchman! To an early requiem for the family cat and the intriguing title song, Romanzo (di
Central Park), with its obbligato violin part atmospherically played by Magnus Johnston. Finley is his usual charismatic self, at home as much in the hymnody as the parody, and he is careful not to over-sentimentalise the more homely numbers while injecting pathos into the war songs. Drake
projects Ives’s often complex accompaniments with clarity and style” The Telegraph
“…outstandingly well sung and played, equally well recorded, and highly recommendable to all lovers of fine songs and fine singing.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2008 *****
“…some of the early songs in a conventional style are treated with the same seriousness that Finley would apply to Lieder. The contemplative ones are delivered with an impressive serenity and Finley has his own way of attacking the razzle-dazzle of something like "The Circus Band" or "They Are There!".” Gramophone Magazine, April 2008
“This is the second volume of Ives songs from this accomplished team; their first Ives volume (reviewed above) contained some of the blockbusters like Charlie Rutlage and General WilliamBooth but the mood of this volume is fairly sedate. In particular some of the early songs in a conventional style are treated with the same seriousness that Finley would apply to Lieder.
An unusual but effective feature here is the provision of violin obbligato both for the jingoistic wartime song They Are There! and the mawkish take-off Romanzo (di Central Park). Sentimentality is a Victorian characteristic but in Songs MyMother Taught Me, as elsewhere in Ives, the emotion is genuine so it invariably convinces.
Many of the songs are transposed down – hard work for the pianist and it makes some of the textures rather dense. The contemplative ones are delivered with an impressive serenity and Finley has his own way of attacking the razzledazzle of something like The Circus Band or TheyAre There! He's close-miked, which works best in the intimacy of the quieter songs.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
BBC Music Magazine
Choral & Song Choice - March 2008
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The Light That Is Felt - Songs of Charles Ives
Susan Narucki (soprano) & Donald Berman (piano)
Charles Ives composed nearly 200 songs throughout his life. Wiley Hitchcock, in the thorough introduction to his 2004 critical edition 129 Songs, described the Ives song canon as “the contents of a kind of scrapbook or commonplace book or chapbook, or even a desk drawer. Into such a receptacle Ives tossed irregularly, if not casually, his reactions —in the form of songs—to memories, personalities, places, events, discoveries, ideas, visions, and fantasies in his life.” Whether popular tale or personal reflection, this concept of the songs as memorabilia is realized in a most powerful way: the songs emotionally and viscerally evoke memory.
This new recording of 27 songs features superlative performances by soprano Susan Narucki, renowned for her authoritative interpretations of contemporary American music, and Donald Berman, whose recordings of Ives’s piano music have been critically acclaimed.
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Ives - Songs Volume 3
Janna Baty, Lielle Berman, Daniel Trevor Bircher, Patrick Carfizzi, Jennifer Casey Cabot, Michael Cavalieri, Robert Gardner, Ian Howell, Sumi Kittelberger, Diego Matamoros, Tamara Mumford, Matthew Plenk, Kenneth Tarver, Ayano Kabaoka, Frederick Teardo, Eric Trudel, J.J. Penna & Douglas Dickson
Charles Ives wrote almost two hundred songs. Although his reputation rests on orchestral, chamber and piano music, it is Ives's songs that represent the heart of his creative thinking.
The expressive variety encountered is accordingly vast: indeed, the gradual evolution of Ives’s songwriting is analogous to the wider evolution of American music during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This new edition includes all the songs that Ives completed. The alphabetic approach ensures that each volume (of which this disc is the first of six) contains a representative cross-section.
“Robert Gardner is again outstanding - his "The Indians" luxuriates in the mesmeric, visionary quality associated with Ives at his most personal.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2008
“These songs, with all their quirks and flights of fantasy, [are] among the most important of the 20th century in any language.” The Guardian
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