Thursday, August 8, 2019
Melody Moore, An American Song Album, with Bradley Moore, Songs by Barber, Copland, Heggie, Floyd, Getty
Today I am going though the fifth listen of strong soprano Melody Moore and her recent An American Song Album (Pentatone 5186 770). The last few songs stay in the head long afterwards--namely a couple of Gordon Getty arrangements of "Danny Boy," "Deep River" and "All Through the Night," of which in regards to the latter many will recognize it as a theme from Brahms Symphony No. 1, or if you happened to have grown up at a certain time you might know the Christmas vocal version that was on the Kingston Trio's Christmas album? Or perhaps you know yet another version with more secular lyrics, on here as part of Gordon Getty's "Three Welsh Songs." At any rate those last three songs ("Danny," "River," and "Night") leave me (at least) with a permanent impression so to speak. And it is a good one.
Melody is joined by her partner Bradley Moore on piano and the chemistry is excellent.
Melody has a very strong operatic soprano that in some ways envelopes and virtually takes personal charge of anything she sings. That may take some getting used to for the lighter lieder sorts of things but then one embraces her artistry in the end and is all the better for it. Or at any rate I am.
One gets more and more out of the hearing of this music. beginning with Samuel Barber and his "Hermit Songs" that I am lucky to get to hear in this very lovely version, and Aaron Copland and his "Four Early Songs," which I may no doubt have had on LP at one point but hear on this disk as for the first time.
The rest of this music may be (other than what I mentioned at the start of the article) rather obscure if you do not follow Amercian Art Song, yet the more I listen, the more it all seems important and stirring each in its own way. So we get a chance to appreciate Jake Heggie's cycles "These Strangers" and "How Well I Know the Light." And not something I would know much of otherwise is Carlisle Floyd's cycle "The Mystery: Five Songs of Motherhood,"
Gordon Getty's "Kathy's Aria from Goodbye Mr. Chips" is a welcome addition as well.
The Art Song is to my neighbors where I currently live at least one of the reasons I am forbidden to play music without earphones in my living space. For the rest, for some Jazz and Classical Modernity are offensive. It tells you how deeply unpopular such things are in the everyday world, among just plain folks as it were. The days of my youth when Ed Sullivan would have a renowned operatic voice on his show as a matter of course are so long gone that the knowledge of it (as perhaps are a good deal of Ed Sullivan's more "highbrow" of standard populist inclusions anyway) may well die with those my age.
Such a horrible world we live in today is something else regardless. To my mind it does need art, it does need song, it does need your support of the artists who try and keep evil at bay. So do your bit and get this. Listen and learn to like it, maybe. And the world will be better off? Possibly. I hope so. I am the better off anyway.
The selection of songs on this album are a most notable part of it all, for the familiar and unfamiliar mix well for a learning and growing listening experience. Do listen to this if you can. It might change the way you hear things.