7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2005
For my money, Eileen Farrell was the greatest female singer of the twentieth century. She could do everything, opera, song, oratoria, you name it, but I think she had a very special place in her heart for these great songs. She interpreted the Great American Songbook better than anybody, because she had a great voice and technique, and a deep natural affinity for the genre. Her interpretaions just sparkle. Nobody else even comes close.
Still, it should be noted that these recordings were made when she was past her prime. I think she was lured out of retirement in the late 1980's-early 1990's to make a series of recordings, the Arlen songs here, but also songs by Rodgers & Hart, Johnny Mercer and others. Some very smart people realized that her interpretations needed to be preserved, so they teamed her up with some really fine arrangers and instrumentalists. The results are very satisfying.
So, don't quibble that her voice is not as fresh and luscious as it was earlier. In these recordings, she still sounds really good, much better than any of the female singers recording today. Moreover, you get to hear the singing of a real master of the genre. These are big, gutsy, joyful, heartfelt interpretations that will make your heart sing along.
I feel so grateful to Ms. Farrell and her colleagues for making these recordings. She died not too long ago, and I don't think anyone will ever take her place. Enjoy this wonderful legacy that she left for us.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2007
The previous reviewer said that Miss Farrell was the greatest singer of the twentieth century. I respectfully disagree, but not by much...she was, you see, the heiress of the legacy and repertoire of Rosa Ponselle, the greatest singer who ever lived. But, where Rosa was the definition of "Diva", Miss Farrell was, in some ways, an ordinary housewife with a really unique part time job--lead Dramatic Soprano at the Met. She was the devoted wife of a New York City Police Captain, singing, and teaching, all too rarely. She dropped out of music to care for her husband during his long final illness, then, apparently, lost interest. Somehow, Reference Recordings got her back into the studio, and we are all richer for it. Miss Farrell had sung jazz earlier, and is just about unique in her ability to move between jazz and opera. The list of bad jazz albums by great opera singers is too painful to contemplate....
....which brings to the album under discussion. To sing like this at any age is a gift from God.....to do it at 70 is God's gift to all of us. Harold Arlen wrote great music, and Eileen Farrell does it justice. Professor Johnson of Reference Recordings is up to his usual standard, which is perfection. This is only one of several albums they gave us; all are miracles. Get this album, either before, or after, you get ALL the others. You will be glad you did. Promise.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2013
Eileen Farrell was one of the greats. I have loved her since the first time I heard her doing the ballads. The best of it all was the discovery of her magnificent operatic voice. I fell in love with Eileen Farrell all over again. A very real human artist and a great one. I love all the Harold Arlen works and even though this was at the end of her career, Ms. Farrell's voice delivered the same emotional greatness she always had. The world lost a gift when she left us. God Bless you Ms. Farrell.