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  • A Quiet Thing; Songs for Voice and Guitar - David Daniels & Craig Ogden
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A Quiet Thing; Songs for Voice and Guitar - David Daniels & Craig Ogden

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Audio CD, August 5, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

On this record, David Daniels, one of our finest, most sought-after countertenors, adds a wide variety of styles, from Italian bel canto, popular classics, and American art- and folksongs to his signature Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. He appears to be equally at home in all of them, naturally adapting his vocalism, phrasing, diction, and delivery to each idiom, while his uniquely beautiful voice retains its pure, floating quality and intense expressiveness. His astonishing breath control lets him spin and sustain endless phrases; his middle range is dark and warm, his top bright and radiant. (Hearing those ringing E-flats, Es and Fs from a male voice never ceases to surprise.) The program seems aimed at including something for everybody, but reversing the usual route, arrives at the European 15th century by way of the American 20th, opening with John Kander's title song and songs by Alec Wilder, Harold Arlen, and Leonard Bernstein, who is represented by the frighteningly contemporary anti-war protest "So Pretty" and a song from "Mass." Three beautiful Spanish Renaissance songs and three famous English songs by Dowland and Purcell are followed by three luxuriously romantic, intimately caressing ones by Bellini; the program ends with three popular favorites, two American, one French. The only false note is struck by two overly familiar versions of "Ave Maria": Gounod's, a skillful extraction of a fine melody from Bach's C-major Prelude (sung here in D-flat), and Schubert's, a setting of Ellen's prayer from Sir Walter Scott's "Lady of the Lake." Craig Ogden's otherwise excellent guitar arrangements of the original piano and lute accompaniments are less successful here; the texture is too thin to support and sustain the intensity of the music. --Edith Eisler

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. A Quiet Thing 4:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Blackberry Winter 4:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. So Pretty 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. My Shining Hour 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Pámpano verde 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Con amores, la mi madre 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. A la caza 1:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Come Again, Sweet Love 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Flow, my Tears 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Music for a while 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Vaga luna, che inargenti 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Malinconia, ninfa gentile 1:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Ma rendi pur contento 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Ave Maria 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. A Simple Song 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Ave Maria 4:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Beautiful dreamer 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Shenandoah 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Plaisir d`amour 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Composer: Alec Wilder, John Harold Kander, Gabriel Faure, Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach, et al.
  • Audio CD (August 5, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B0000AC8MR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,477 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
A QUIET THING: Songs for Voice and Guitar is a unique, idiosyncratic, irresistible collection of songs that span from contemporary melodies from Broadway to English lute songs to versions of Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod and Schubert) to American folksongs. And as if this variety of communication weren't enough, these songs are performed by countertenor par excellence David Daniels and the subtle and sensitive guitarist Craig Ogden. Both performers are intensely musical, intuitive interpreters of poetry and melody line and offer popular ballads from the stage of today with as much sincerity as bel canto songs of Bellini and the other-worldly Dowland and Purcell. For those unfamiliar with the countertenor oeuvre then this is a beautiful introduction to that vocal quality. David Daniels is internationally celebrated for his resurrecting the original countertenor roles in Handel operas and his voice has more power on the opera stage in this unfamiliar vocal range than those many regular tenors. Not being a fan of crossover recordings (big opera stars singing Broadway show tunes) I admittedly approached this album with reservation. But listening to these two men changes all that. Here in this aptly titled collection Daniels proves that his soft and quiet range is just as admirable as his 'big role arias'. The collaboration between Daniels and Ogden is clear and pitch perfect and the result is a recital - no, salon - of intimately communicated moments. An album to treasure.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Simeone on August 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I know, I know--you can't stand the countertenor voice, it's "weird," "creepy," "unnerving." I can't promise to change anyone's mind; this voice is an acquired taste. But oh, the glories if you acquire it!

Daniels's tone, shadings, and breath control are pure beauty. The Renaissance songs, such as Dowland's "Come Again Sweet Love," we expect to be great, because Dowland wrote with this voice in mind. But even in the contemporary songs such as "A Quiet Thing," Daniels is a revelation. And in what has become his signature song, "Blackberry Winter," he is heartbreaking; the colors of his voice, the emotion, especially in the repeat of the line, "And I get so lonely," make one cry.

Listen to this CD to understand why the countertenor voice has been so revered and exalted for hundreds of years. Not since the days of Russell Oberlin have I encountered such a moving, almost unbearably beautiful recording.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
When I realized Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand covered the first two songs on this CD, I had to admit I was a bit worried that "A Quiet Thing" would be one of those crossover albums that famous opera singers need to do to please their management companies. But leave it to countertenor David Daniels to continue venturing into new territory for his rarefied voice type. Although Baroque-loving traditionalists may balk at his choice of repertoire this time, he paints a broad musical canvas along with guitarist Craig Ogden, encompassing American folk, English and Spanish renaissance, Italian bel canto, two versions of "Ave Maria", and even some Tin Pan Alley. This could have been an unwieldy smorgasbord for a lesser singer, but never underestimate Daniels' vocal dexterity, incredible coloratura and superb taste. Daniels and Ogden have really turned this program into a cohesive vision full of simply beautiful music wonderfully realized through voice and guitar - probably the best such coupling I have heard since Kathleen Battle and Christopher Parkening's "Pleasures of Their Company" more than a decade ago.

Standout tracks include Alec Wilder's melancholy "Blackberry Winter", a contemporary piece which ranks right up there with any of Daniels' much-revered Handel arias; John Dowland's "Come Again, Sweet Love", so familiar yet perfect for his voice; the one-two Americana sequence of "Beautiful Dreamer" and "Shenandoah"; and the title track by John Kander, which he sings with a languid quality that adds dimension to its original meaning. Such flights of vocal beauty make one wonder when he will tackle the Sondheim songbook. This is a terrific album, ideal for those who want an introduction to not only the countertenor voice but also the artistry of David Daniels.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S A LEWIS on August 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Unless you simply don't like the counter-tenor voice, you are bound to love this CD. Mr. Daniels has selected some pieces that are perfect for this voice type. I especially enjoy the all-too-rare combination of classical voice and guitar. "A Quiet Thing" joins "Pleasure of their Company" (Battle/Parkening) and "Wayfaring Stranger" (Mentzer/Isbin) as a classic of this genre. In fact, this disc shares two or three selections with the Battle/Parkening one.
Last year I heard Mr. Daniels in recital and was left spellbound by his rendition of Alec Wilder's "Blackberry Winter." When I saw that it was included on his new disc, I knew I had to own it. Given the cost of CD's, it is difficult to say that a single band is worth the cost of the CD, but I would say it is true here. Fortunately, there is a lot to enjoy here. I especially liked the English-language numbers such as the title song, Arlen's "My Shining Hour," and the rarely heard "A Simple Song" from the Bernstein "Mass." As the title of the CD suggests, this is a perfect recording to accompany one's mellow moments.
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