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Monday, April 29, 2013

Di Sheyne Milnerin, Mark Glanville, Alexander Knapp

What music is for absolutely everybody? Some children's collection of songs about farm animals, perhaps, but then you have to be five and you still might not like it. And so the same might apply in different ways for Di Sheyne Milnerin (Nimbis Alliance 6191). The album comprises a recital for Mark Glanville, bass-baritone, and Alexander Knapp, accompanying on piano, of a cycle of Yiddish art songs from the 19th-20th centuries. The music parallels Schubert's Die schone Mullerin, in that both song cycles tell the story of unrequited love. There is even a Yiddish lyric version of one of the songs from Schubert's cycle.

If you know Yiddish, all the better. If you do not, there is still much to appreciate. Glanville put together and sequenced the Yiddish cycle, choosing songs of Euro-Jewish composers both relatively known and more obscure. It is art song with some more in a typically minor key-Yiddish melodic mode than others. But all have interest.

Glanville and Knapp do a spirited job with the songs and many have great appeal if you hear them a number of times. It is a boon to those interested in a genre that does not always get much attention. Others may find it less essential. I found plenty to like here.

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