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Complete Songs of Daniel Pinkham, Volume One, Songs for Voice, Piano and Guitar

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Audio CD, Single, November 30, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

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These songs are all felicitously set in a very organic fashion, the modern but not dissonant music following the flow of the words naturally, be they rhymed or blank verse, prose poems, or Biblical texts. Like all good art song composers, Pinkham (1923-2006) chose texts by poets he liked. He was drawn to A.E. Housman, Emily Dickinson, and especially to one who became his friend, James Wright (1927-1980). One of his 3 sets of Wright texts included here, Come, Look Quietly, is especially interesting because it combines texts in varied verse forms. Another, The Green Wall, with a very sparse guitar accompaniment, is actually a re-setting of a totally different mixed chorus and small chamber orchestra work using the same texts done a decade earlier. Unlike many of the more famous art song composers, however, Schubert and Schumann, for example, he did not write on spec; he only composed for performances or occasions for which he was asked to supply music. This might seem to present the inherent risk of an unsatisfying result, but Pinkham s inspiration seems never to have failed him; they are all truly lovely. For the songs with organ, most of which are sacred (There s a Dickinson poem in the mix, as well as poems by some famous British poets.), Pinkham used the standard Latin texts of hymns and prayers, but he has written his own melodies rather than relying on the plain chants that have been associated with them through the ages. We are more accustomed to hearing many of these in choral settings; they have a completely different, more intimate effect as solo works. They include a setting of Ubi caritas that is exquisite. He also set a group of 8 Psalms, using old translations pre-dating the King James Version that appealed to him, some in verse and some by famous poets, and which are very interesting and attractive. For example, the 23rd Psalm included uses a translation by English Renaissance poet Sir Philip Sydney. There is also an interesting set of prose passages, Letters from Saint Paul, that is unusual, different from run-of-the-mill Biblical settings, more declamatory than melodic although not chant-like. The performances are all as lovely as the works themselves. Both singers have excellent, clean, clear, crisp diction and they are supported by superb instrumentalists. Christensen occupies the post that Pinkham himself held for 42 years, and was, in fact, Pinkham s assistant for the last 2 years of his tenure. The organ was therefore the one Pinkham played regularly, and in fact helped design when it was built by the C.B. Fisk Company (Op. 44) in 1963-64, incorporating many parts of the 1909 Skinner that was in too bad repair to be restored. It was the 1st 3-manual mechanical action organ built in the US in the 20th century. Its Choir division mirrors the church s original Brattle organ that came there in 1713, the 1st organ ever installed in a church in New England. A couple of the sets are performed by those for whom they were written, and who also gave the premières. All of this gives an added historical value to these recordings that further enhances their quality and significance. Recorded sound is superb. Vol. I was recorded in New England Conservatory s Jordan Hall, and Vol. II, in King s Chapel, both in Boston, and both acoustically superior venues. The booklets are professional, tasteful, and lovely without being glamorous and glitzy. They contain an introdu --Classical Voice of New England

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Stars, I have seen them fall
  2. He, standing hushed
  3. To a Troubled Friend
  4. Father
  5. A Fit against the Country
  6. Evening
  7. A Little Boat Adrift
  8. Promise This
  9. Let Down the Bars, Oh Death
  10. Some, Too Fragile for Winter Winds
  11. Tie the Strings to My Life
  12. A Breath of Air
  13. (This morning my beloved rose, before I did)
  14. Beginning
  15. My Grandmother's Ghost
  16. Milkweed
  17. Little Marble Boy
  18. Love In A Warm Room In Winter
  19. Come, Look Quietly
  20. March
  21. The Fox at Eype
  22. Autumnal
  23. Apollo
  24. I want to sleep


Product details

  • Audio CD (November 30, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Single
  • Label: Florestan Records
  • ASIN: B001P24V0W
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805,097 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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