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Charles Ives: A Songbook
Jeannine Herzel (mezzo) & Omar Ebrahim (baritone)
Ensemble für Neue Musik Zürich, Sebastian Gottschick
"Sebastian Gottschick’s adaptations of Ives’ songs and short instrumental pieces in this sense not only pay homage to the composer but develop his work further. The multifaceted ensemble and the instrumentation Gottschick chose allow him to be highly differentiated in his approach to the specific Ives sound that oscillates between crude realism and symbolist fragmentation: he either deliberately avoids this sound (for instance by using a vibraphone in Grantchester) or he pushes it to the point of prismatic refraction. Apart from this, Gottschick’s selection proceeds in a continuous, multi-perspective order that can be interpreted as a drama en miniature, a model of an ordinary day from the snatches of dreams in the morning to the falling night, and finally also as the epitome of the diversity of life itself. Behind all that the power and intangible nature of memories, Ives’ lifelong theme, becomes visible and audible." Wolfgang Rathert
“Creative decisions have been taken about where to place Ives's songs in relation to each other, this new concept designed to illuminate our understanding of the time and place that begat them...both singers are...sympathetic and technically bulletproof” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013
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A Song For Anything
Songs by Charles Ives
“The Canadian baritone Gerald Finley has a voice of great beauty, but it's always under the control of his penetrating intelligence: he risks bending pitches for expressive effect, and he adapts his golden timbre and almost English diction to the childlike tones of The Greatest Man and the cowboy drawl of Charlie Rutlage. Julius Drake is an equally versatile pianist, adept alike in simplicity and complexity.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2005 *****
“These songs, drawn from Ives's 200, can encourage at one extreme a rough declamatory style and at the other an almost voiceless intimacy.
Without in any way underplaying, Finlay is always essentially a singer – his tone and command of the singing line are a pleasure in themselves. But he also has the absolute mastery of the composer's idioms and, with Julius Drake, his fearless and totally committed pianist, the technical, virtuosic skills to realise his intentions with (amid all the quirks) complete conviction of naturalness.
This is a selection that very satisfactorily balances early and late, rumbustious and contemplative.
Several of the early German settings are included, always beautiful and always develop- ing with some touch that is entirely personal. Of a quite distinctive beauty are those like Remembrance, Berceuse, and The Housatonic at Stockbridge where voice and piano work a dreamy, misty spell. And still more characteristic are the settings of his own verses evoking memories of childhood. The 'character' songs (such as Charlie Rutlage) and the 'big' numbers (GeneralWilliam Booth Enters into Heaven) become less prominent than they commonly seem in a recital group where they are programmed as an effective tour de force. The total impression is of an astonishing individuality and, more importantly, of a completely honest, dauntless and increasingly to be valued musical identity.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Charles Ives - Twelve Songs
In Summer 2007, invited by Kent Nagano to the Munich Opera Festival, singer Theo Bleckmann met the group Kneebody to create a new song cycle from works by Charles Ives.Twelve compositions for voice and piano/ensemble/orchestra, written by this significant American composer at the start of the 20th century, were to be reworked. Ives characteristically combines the folk voice of America with classical forms and traditions from Europe. Everyday American music, quotes from marches, hymns and dances are brought into play, but he doesn't write music to please: instead, he uses contrasting elements and sonic irritations to create an image of America that sketches the inner character of this New World society after the War of Independence. Extensive re-workings by Theo Bleckmann and Kneebody put Ives' music in a context alongside elements of jazz, electronics and improvisation. The singer Theo Bleckmann is part of a close circle of Winter & Winter artists who have collaborated since 2004 on Der Kastanienball; since then have come Las Vegas Rhapsody, Berlin, and now Twelve Songs by Charles Ives: a homage to an exceptional composer.
“Ives's songs, given the jazz treatment for the first time, thrive in this idiom. I didn't know what to expect, but it works. The vocal approach is sympathetic; the harmony is respected, at least as a starting-point; and the humour of some of these songs is exploited.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2009
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Ives - Songs Volume 6
Lielle Berman, Daniel Trevor Bircher, Patrick Carfizzi, Jennifer Casey Cabot, Michael Cavalieri, Robert Gardner, Amanda Ingram, Sara Jakubiak, Sumi Kittelberger, Ryan MacPherson, Diego Matamoros, Tamara Mumford, Mary Phillips, David Pittsinger, Matthew Plenk, Rebecca Ringle, Kenneth Tarver, Leah Wool, Douglas Dickson, Laura Garritson, J.J. Penna & Eric Trudel
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 contains a representative cross-section. This is the sixth and final volume.
“..this is a mixed bag replete with interest; the singers are capably served by an army of pianists; and the series is a genuine landmark in presenting Ives whole like this for the first time.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2009
(also available to download from $6.00)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)