Thursday, August 30, 2018
Mark Abel, Time and Distance
So one is rewarded in the exploration of such musical territory with riches at times, sometimes very exceptionally so, times that make it all worthwhile. I speak today of such a thing, namely composer Mark Abel's new program of World Premier Recordings of his songs, Time and Distance (Delos 3550). These are most definitely songs for our time, Modern surely, not outgoingly in the sense that they are not in an avant garde mode so much as they resound with a most thoroughgoing, advanced harmonic-melodic musicality. They say lyrically something for our time as well. Not sentimental, artful yet not self-consciously so. The words are alternately by the composer, by Kate Gail and by Joanne Regenhardt.
The songs and song cycles, five of them, are set for soprano (Hila Plitmann), mezzo-soprano (Janelle DeStefano), plus piano (Tali Tadmor or Carol Rosenberger) and are joined by percussion (Bruce Carver) on one, organ (the composer) on another. The performances are excellent. Ms. Plitmann to me is especially captivating, but that is not to say Ms. DeStefano is not. She is.
These are songs to grow into. I find them the more sublime the more I listen to this program. There is an endless musicality to them that never grows stale. They are I believe milestones in song for today, and to me very beautiful indeed. So I recommend strongly that you hear then.