Marnie Breckenridge, George Dvorsky, Sara Jean Ford, Steven LaBrie, Aaron Lazar, Jeanne Lehman, Rebecca Luker, Daniel Marcus, Dillon McCartney, Jonathan Michie, Ron Raines, Valerian Ruminski, Zachary Stains, Rosalie Sullivan, Korliss Uecker, Margaret Jane Wray William Hicks, piano
In an attempt to understand the foundations of the modern American musical theater, we believe that it is best to start with an understanding of the man who has often been called the Father of the American Musical Theater, Victor Herbert (1859-1924).
For our second release in this new series, we have chosen a selection of Herbert's compositions for the voice, most of which are recorded here for the first time. His song output runs the gamut of styles classical and popular at the turn of the twentieth century, from parlor and concert song to anthem and popular song. In some of them, the lines blur. His vaudeville numbers and "Belle O Brien" are written in the style of what we would term songs of the Gay Nineties, like "After the Ball" or "The Bowery." On the other hand, "When the Sixty-ninth Comes Back," with its references to the harp that once played in Tara's halls and to "the Fighting Irish," may be a stirring American march but will appeal strongly to Irish sympathies.
In this anthology, 102 songs are presented as examples of his work. While a few songs written for well-known musicals and operettas may be found here, the emphasis has been placed on songs for occasion and event, along with much of the music he wrote for performance in plays and revues.
Many of these songs have never before been recorded, and they are presented in chronological order to display his progression from art song to the popular 32-bar song. Jerome Kern referred to Herbert as "the greatest of them all," high praise coming from a great songwriter like Kern.
Victor Herbert: Collected Songs