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  • To the Soul:Poetry of Walt Whitman
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To the Soul:Poetry of Walt Whitman

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Audio CD, April 15, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

This dashing and intelligent tribute to Walt Whitman's poetry as art song puts commitment to artistry at center stage. With uncommon sensitivity and magnificent voice, Thomas Hampson lovingly interprets 22 songs by various composers, successfully capturing the emotional range of the American bard's verse by delicately caressing the poetry and, alternately, igniting its every nuance. These song settings enhance the innate music in Whitman's poems, giving them passionate expression in another dimension. Craig Rutenberg's stellar accompaniment is a lesson in effective collaboration. Hampson's interspersing of four poetry readings is below this recording's interpretive caliber, but it's a nice touch. Non-Whitman-heads may find the entire recording a bore, though. - -Barbara Eisner Bayer

1. One's Self I Sing
2. As Adam Early In The Morning
3. The Last Invocation
4. To The Soul
5. A Clear Midnight
6. Joy, Shipmate, Joy!
7. The Mystic Trumpeter
8. Prayer Of Columbus
9. One Thought Ever At The Fore
10. As I Watch'd The Ploughman Ploughing
11. Sing On There In The Swamp
12. Look Down Fair Moon
13. Memories Of Lincoln
14. Look Down Fair Moon
15. Ethiopia Saluting The Colors
16. Dirge For Two Veterans
17. I Hear It Was Charged Against Me
18. Walt Whitman
19. Behold This Swarthy Face
20. We Two
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Angel Records
  • ASIN: B000002RTY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,861 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 31, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a concept album, Hampson's 1997 tribute to Walt Whitman earned critical praise for its sensitivity and musicality. There's no doubt that the singer is in rare form here--it would be hard to imagine any of this repertoire sung with more passion and conviction. He isn't a good reciter of poetry in the four spoken tracks. The major drawback, however, is that few of these songs are close to being masterpieces -- Bernstein's late "To what you said" stands out -- and quite a number are decidedly cautious.

The avid listener can cncentrate on the poetry instead of the music, I suppose--Hampson's enunciation is crystal clear--but after six or seven items couched in the same rather timid Anglo-American art song idiom, this labor of love becomes rather taxing as a listening experience. Taken a few at a time, however, these are intriguing choices that combine into a unqiue recital.
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