This 2-CD set by soprano Carole Bogard is an absolute must-have for lovers of American songs, song recitals in general, or great singing. Culled from three long-out-of-print LPs and some performance tapes recorded for broadcast in Europe, it includes songs by Carpenter, Flanagan, Copland, Rorem, and the little-known Richard Cumming and John Woods Duke. And yet, there is not a single weak track on the entire set. Every song is interesting (something that cannot be said for many similar recitals recorded today), and each and every song is performed with musical acuity and an attention to words.
Particularly interesting, to me, were the songs by John Alden Carpenter. Largely neglected by modern singers and scholars, Carpenter wrote what many feel is the most successful fusion of classical music with jazz, the ballet tone-poem "Skyscrapers." It had the misfortune to premiere in 1924, the same year as Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"; but whereas "Rhapsody" was more of a pastiche, "Skyscrapers" blends the jazz and classical aspects flawlessly, producing an exciting and well-crafted work that deserves a wider audience.
The Carpenter songs presented here are not jazzy, but they do reveal a greater depth of feeling and originality in construction than one hears nowadays from the songs of Andre Previn or Jake Heggie. And the other pieces are equally excellent.
I highly recommend this album, especially for Sunday afternoon or summertime listening...between the excellence of the songs and the excellence of Bogard's singing, you just melt into the music and become one with the warm, intimate feeling that this recital engenders.
- Audio CD (June 26, 2001)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Parnassus
- ASIN: B00005LPYJ
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741,516 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)