Thomson/Bowlesl/Hoiby/ Hundley/Musto/Klein: Songs
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80369     Release Date: 1989-01-01

William Sharp, Baritone Steven Blier, piano

American art song has traveled a long way from the parlors of 19th-century America. The turn of this century brought its adolescent rebellion in the iconoclastic hands of Charles Ives, followed by an impressive, if somewhat retrospective, era heralded by such composers as Bacon, Chanler, Nordoff, and early Thomson. But by mid-century, what should have been a time of full adulthood was instead a curiously fallow period (which Philip L. Miller attributes to composers abandoning melody and Ned Rorem attributes to singers, audiences, and benefactors abandoning the recital).

In the melting pot of 20th-century America composers have chosen many different paths, searching out inspiration in their European antecedents, American ancestors, New World folklore, jazz, and even the exotic East; they have tried a multiplicity of styles, from neoclassicism to atonality, from post-romanticism to dodecaphony. Ruth C. Friedberg, in her perceptive three-volume study American Art Song and American Poetry, observes that despite this eclecticism, three common elements permeate the American song: the endeavor to create the sound and feel of American speech (in all its permutations); the search for a new, uniquely American spiritual order; and, perhaps most strikingly, an impulse toward simplicity. Exercising what Friedberg call this "national artistic urge to cut away the dead wood," many of our finest lyric composers have found that all roads lead to the same place: the "mainstream" American art song, a self-contained piano-vocal work that strives to communicate the emotional life of a poem.

It is this discovery that has undoubtedly led to the current flowering of American art song. In the 1980s, the elder statesmen among our composers are finally coming into their own, and fresh young composers are emerging. Thus, this album is more than a sampling of the American art song: it is a testament to its good health.

William Sharp

Thomson/Bowlesl/Hoiby/ Hundley/Musto/Klein: Songs

MP3/320 $9.99
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CD $15.99

Track Listing

A Prayer to St. Catherine
Virgil Thomson
If Thou a Reason Dost Desire to Know
Virgil Thomson
Two By Marianne Moore: English Usage
Virgil Thomson
Two By Marianne Moore: My Crow Pluto
Virgil Thomson
John Peel
Virgil Thomson
At The Spring
Virgil Thomson
Sweet Suffolk Owl
Richard Hundley
What if
Lee Hoiby
Jabberwocky
Lee Hoiby
Kidnap Poem
Eric Klein
Blue Mountain Ballads: Heavenly Grass
Paul Bowles
Blue Mountain Ballads: Lonesome Man
Paul Bowles
Blue Mountain Ballads: Cabin
Paul Bowles
Blue Mountain Ballads: Sugar in The Cane
Paul Bowles
Sleeping Song
Paul Bowles
April Fool Baby
Paul Bowles
A Little Closer, Please
Paul Bowles
Three
Paul Bowles
Letter to Freddy
Paul Bowles
Secret Words
Paul Bowles
My Sister's Hand in Mine
Paul Bowles
Recuerdo: Echo
John Musto
Recuerdo: Recuerdo
John Musto
Recuerdo: A Last Song
John Musto