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Art Songs

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ENTERTAINMENT
January 5, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
A paradox of the American music scene is that just at the time when the song recital has all but vanished on the commercial stage, the repertoire of American art songs has expanded in quality and quantity. That the repertoire is growing is not surprising. The voice is the primary musical instrument, and the widening field of American poetry naturally inspires musical responses. The paradox arises from nonmusical problems such as the relative lack of glamour in recital singing as compared with the color and clamor of operatic singing.
LIVING
February 20, 1998 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Marietta Simpson came back to her roots Wednesday night. The mezzo-soprano and Philadelphia native sang at Rock Hall of Temple University, where she studied a couple of decades back. "So many different time periods in my life are represented here," Simpson said to and about her audience after singing a recital devoted to music by African American men and women. "My elementary music teacher is here, my college band instructor . . . I want to thank you all for helping me get to this place," she said, alluding to a distinguished international career.
NEWS
January 26, 1992 | By Michael Lear-Olimpi, SPECIAL TO THE INQUIRER
For an evening of jazz, opera, French art songs and Broadway, stop by St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Woodbury next Sunday for the church's Winter Spectrum Benefit Concert, which begins at 4 p.m. "People will know that they can go to something on this side of the Delaware River too," said Lawrence De Pasquale, organist and music director at St. Stephen's. The Winter Spectrum Benefit Concert will feature a mix of music, including mezzo-soprano Bonita Bachman-Granite, professor of voice at Glassboro State College.
NEWS
October 9, 1994 | By Jane M. Reynolds, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
John Wustman is on a mission. By 1997, the teacher/composer and a select group of his students plan to have performed all 630 of Austrian composer Franz Schubert's classical art songs, or Lieder, as they are called in German. In the four years since the project started, they have done 425 of the songs, and on Tuesday, Wustman and five of his students will travel from Illinois to perform some of the songs at Rowan College's Wilson Recital Hall. "It's a mammoth project," Wustman said in a telephone interview.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 2003 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The ultimate test of what constitutes a Philadelphia Orchestra concert was heard in Week Three of the Schumann Festival last night at the Kimmel Center. The full orchestra was on hand only for Schumann's 20-minute Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Op. 52. There was no orchestra at all in the first and more substantial half of the concert, only music director Wolfgang Sawallisch on piano and baritone Thomas Hampson singing a collection of art songs by both Schumanns (Robert and his wife, Clara, who sometimes composed)
NEWS
February 6, 1989 | By Andrew Stiller, Special to The Inquirer
Baritone George Massey presented an unusual and stimulating recital of 20th-century songs at the Ethical Society yesterday afternoon as part of Temple University's Faculty Artist Recital Series. He was ably accompanied by pianist Charles Abramovic - but why was the piano lid left closed? Massey has a, well, massive voice. Most of his background is in opera, and he had to keep himself on a tight rein for the more intimate fare of a song recital. Here if anywhere was an opportunity for doctoral-candidate Abramovic to leave the piano all the way open, or at least on the short stick.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 1997 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Songs come in all weights, and tenor Jon Aler closed his recital last night with light ones masquerading as heavy ones. With pianist Lydia Artymiw building clouds of important-sounding color in their recital at the Convention Center, he sang "Homing," "Annabelle Lee" and Quilter's "Love's Philosophy. " Those songs speak of a time in music and suggest a place - the parlor with Uncle Frank drawn up to full height singing lustily about sentimental love. Those closing songs may have been programmed as near-parody of what had gone before, a defraction of Schumann's Dichterliebe, or a recostuming of the French songs that preceded them.
NEWS
February 27, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Opera has so claimed the time and attention of singers that song recitals have all but disappeared. It was a piece of poetic justice that led two of the city's opera companies to sponsor the Academy of Music recital yesterday by soprano Jessye Norman. With pianist Philip Moll, she performed groups by Strauss, Wolf, Ravel and Henri Duparc. Norman's voice is a substantial instrument, apt for heroic stage roles, but also flexible and expressive enough to find the heart of French baroque music, art songs and German romantic songs.
NEWS
March 8, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Stephanie Blythe has always been an enterprising recitalist, and her ascendance into Wagneriana at the Metropolitan Opera hasn't changed that a bit. Hearing her huge voice in the Kimmel Center's smallish Perelman Theater on Tuesday was a unique thrill. In earlier recitals presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, she had brought Eileen Farrell's seamlessness and Marilyn Horne's depth of tone; now her own voice is one future singers will be measured against, in part because she does such unexpected things with it. Like talking.
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NEWS
April 27, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
'Good girl, bad girl," explained mezzo-soprano Susan Graham when she arrived on the Perelman Theater stage for the second half of her recital. At first, her hair was up and the gown was an off-white dress. Second half, hair was down, the gown off-black and slinky. In effect, Graham's rescheduled recital on Thursday, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, had many of the add-ons that many recitals lack - glamour, humor, repertoire that was high art (and not so high), plus playful audience dialogue.
NEWS
December 20, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Maybe the red dress made the difference. In her U.S. recital debut Tuesday at the Perelman Theater, soprano Ailyn Perez was in somewhat uncertain form, seeming to fall into the trap of thinking more about the sound of her voice than about what she was saying with it. Even the best singers do that, but you hear it more with Perez because she typically establishes such a personal relationship with her audience. Most such moments were in the first half of a mixed program of opera arias, art songs, and, as encores, pop standards.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 23, 2013 | zBy David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Composer Ned Rorem has always seemed to exist in his own well-furnished sphere, writing music regardless of current fashion, saying exactly what he thinks (right as he's thinking it), and striking stances that are effortlessly provocative and contrary. He may even give you an argument about his 90th birthday Wednesday. " Other people turn 90," said the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rorem, who will be celebrated at a tribute concert Wednesday at the Curtis Institute, where he was on the faculty until recent years.
NEWS
March 8, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Stephanie Blythe has always been an enterprising recitalist, and her ascendance into Wagneriana at the Metropolitan Opera hasn't changed that a bit. Hearing her huge voice in the Kimmel Center's smallish Perelman Theater on Tuesday was a unique thrill. In earlier recitals presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, she had brought Eileen Farrell's seamlessness and Marilyn Horne's depth of tone; now her own voice is one future singers will be measured against, in part because she does such unexpected things with it. Like talking.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
At the Metropolitan Opera, Eric Owens has the voice of an angry Wagnerian - namely, evil Alberich in Wagner's "Ring" cycle - though back home in a Tuesday recital presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, his soul belonged to smaller, subtler art songs, as it has so often over the years. The program contained some of Owens' repertoire standbys - Hugo Wolf's darker-than-dark Michelangelo Lieder and Maurice Ravel's crowd-pleasing Don Quichotte à Dulcinée - which he has sung under circumstances so low-profile as to not be worth the considerable preparation.
NEWS
March 17, 2008 | By David R. Adler FOR THE INQUIRER
There are two sides to Dianne Reeves: the slickly produced pop-fusion that critics keep at arm's length, and the uncluttered combo jazz of her most recent recordings, A Little Moonlight (2003) and the soundtrack to Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). These days, in live settings, the Grammy-winning vocalist has found a way to unite the two - call them Anita Baker and Sarah Vaughan - by hiring young jazz players who can swing, groove, and everything in between. At Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center on Saturday, she led an impeccable four-piece band and offered a taste of her forthcoming album, When You Know.
NEWS
April 18, 2005 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
In this month of starry collaborations in Philadelphia, we've seen how such events can be like airplanes refueling in mid-flight: Fun to witness but too temporary to achieve substantial artistic fusion. In contrast to the Martha Argerich/Nelson Freire concert or the Steven Isserlis/Stephen Hough recital, singers Dame Felicity Lott and Angelika Kirchschlager arrived at the Kimmel Center Friday night courtesy of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, with an intricate recital of 34 German art songs titled "Women's Lives and Loves: Frauenliebe und Leben x 2. " It was far more than a balance of egos and stage time.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2005 | By Patrick Berkery FOR THE INQUIRER
Rare is the compact disc cover that draws you to a recording like the classic album art of years past. But there's something alluring about the distressed-looking 5-by-5 1/2-inch Digipak cover to the eponymous debut from A Girl Called Eddy, the nom de pop of Jersey Shore native and former Philly resident Erin Moran. We see an out-of-focus city skyline in the background, and the worn impression of a slab of vinyl encircling a side-profile shot of Moran, whose raven hair and parka obscure her sympathetic visage.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 2003 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The ultimate test of what constitutes a Philadelphia Orchestra concert was heard in Week Three of the Schumann Festival last night at the Kimmel Center. The full orchestra was on hand only for Schumann's 20-minute Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Op. 52. There was no orchestra at all in the first and more substantial half of the concert, only music director Wolfgang Sawallisch on piano and baritone Thomas Hampson singing a collection of art songs by both Schumanns (Robert and his wife, Clara, who sometimes composed)
NEWS
August 6, 2002 | By Tom Moon INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Of all the myths surrounding the rock-and-roll creative process, the one that least applies to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' acclaimed By the Way comes under the heading "divine inspiration. " "I'm sure people in bands have experienced some kind of superhuman burst of songwriting," guitarist John Frusciante said last month, as he sat in a candlelit trailer on Ellis Island, where the Chili Peppers performed at a concert for families and businesses affected by the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.
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