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Ives: Songs, Vol. 5
     

Ives: Songs, Vol. 5

 
Naxos' edition of Charles Ives: Songs has reached its fifth volume with this issue and is looking to be the penultimate entry in the series; in novel fashion, Naxos has been organizing its Ives songs alphabetically by title, and as this starts with "Paracelsus" and ends with "Swimmers" then "Yellow Leaves" must not be far behind.

Overview

Naxos' edition of Charles Ives: Songs has reached its fifth volume with this issue and is looking to be the penultimate entry in the series; in novel fashion, Naxos has been organizing its Ives songs alphabetically by title, and as this starts with "Paracelsus" and ends with "Swimmers" then "Yellow Leaves" must not be far behind. Nevertheless, this is an extraordinarily generous and varied program, containing an amazing 40 tracks and running a total of 80 minutes. Of course, this isn't just a showcase for Ives' songs, but for a number of singers, as well; 14 different vocalists can be heard on this single disc, not to mention three pianists and a host of other instrumentalists. Most of the additional players are heard on the rumbustious "A Son of Gambolier," but the requisite violin part to "Sunrise" is added by violinist Jooyeon Kong and organist Frederick Teardo handles the accompaniment to "Song for the Harvest Season."" Douglas Dickson and Laura Garritson deserve special mention for conquering the ridiculously hard piano accompaniment to "Rough Wind."" As to singers, with such a crowd of soloists attendant to this series entry, the results are going to be mixed, and mixed they are. The better performances are delivered by mezzos Leah Wool, Mary Phillips, and Tamara Mumford; soprano Sumi Kittelberger; tenor Kenneth Tarver; and bass David Pittsinger. One bit of coincidental delight is apparent when Kittelberger sings Ives' high-voice version of "Rosamunde" and it is followed by Wool's rendering of the significantly different lower voice version. There are some rough seas in addition to "Rough Wind"; the excessively wide vibrato of mezzo Janna Baty might be fine for a Richard Strauss opera, but falls pretty heavy on Ives' often modest and succinct creations. Piano accompanist J.J. Penna has a hard time bringing off some accompaniments, landing for example the last chord of "Qu'il m'irait bien" a couple of beats too early and participating in baritone Robert Gardner's inscrutable, seemingly shrinking reading of "The See'r," though Gardner admirably tackles the hardest song in this collection, "Paracelsus," and is heard to good effect in "Requiem."" Special mention should be made of the intriguing decision to use a male alto, Ian Howell, to sing "Serenity," making a naturally rather mystical and spooky song into something a bit spookier. Large surveys of this kind are generally the only way listeners can connect with little gems such as "A Scotch Ballad" and "The Sea of Sleep," songs the mature Ives dismissed as youthful indiscretions, although some of the sentimentally directed material he composed -- such as "Songs My Mother Taught Me" here -- are among his most memorable and enduring efforts in the genre. Naxos' Charles Ives: Songs 5 is likely not the place where neophytes and the curious want to get started with Ives' songs. Experienced listeners, however, will enjoy most of it and will know where to turn for songs that in these recordings don't quite come up to snuff.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/28/2008
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943927328
catalogNumber:
8559273
Rank:
199361

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Paracelsus, song for voice & piano, S. 324 (K. 6B66b)
  2. Peaks, song for voice & piano, S. 325 (K. 6B24)
  3. A Perfect Day, song for voice & piano, S. 326 (K. 6B18c)
  4. Pictures, song for voice & piano, S. 327 (K. 6B42a)
  5. Premonitions, song for voice & piano, S. 328 (K. 6B65a)
  6. Qu'il m'irait bien, song for voice & piano, S. 329 (K. 6B25e)
  7. The Rainbow (So May It Be!), song for voice & piano, S. 330 (K. 6B64e)
  8. Religion, song for voice & piano, S. 331 (K. 6B47b)
  9. Remembrance, for voice & piano, S. 332 (K. 6B62a)
  10. Requiem, song for voice & piano, S. 333 (K. 6B48)
  11. Resolution, song for voice & piano, S. 334 (K. 6B68a)
  12. Rock of Ages, song for voice & piano (or organ), S. 335 (K. 6B12b)
  13. Romanzo (di Central Park), song for voice & piano, S. 336 (K. 6B36)
  14. Rosamunde (I), song for voice & piano, S. 337 (K. 6B21a) (german version)
  15. Rosamunde (II), song for voice & piano, S. 337 (K. 6B21a) (french version)
  16. Rosenzweige, song for voice & piano, S. 338 (K.6B35b)
  17. Rough Wind, song for voice & piano, S. 339 (K. 6B40a)
  18. A Scotch Lullaby, song for voice & piano, S. 341 (K. 6B24b)
  19. A Sea Dirge, song for voice & piano, S. 342 (K. 6B75)
  20. The Sea of Sleep, song for voice & piano, S. 343 (K. 6B41a)
  21. The See'r, song for voice & piano, S. 344 (K. 6B49a)
  22. Sehnsucht, song for voice & piano, S. 345 (K. 6B35c)
  23. September, song for voice & piano, S. 346 (K. 6B61b)
  24. Serenity, song for voice & piano, S. 347 (K. 6B60d)
  25. The Side Show, song for voice & piano, S. 348 (K. 6B66)
  26. Slow March, song for voice & piano, S. 349 (K. 6B10)
  27. Slugging a Vampire, song for voice & piano, S. 350 (K. 6B40c)
  28. Soliloquy, song for voice & piano, S. 352 (K. 6B43a)
  29. A Son of A Gambolier, for voice & piano (& optional kazoo chorus), S. 353 (K. 6B22)
  30. Song, for voice & piano "She is not fair to outward view", S. 354 (K. 6B18d)
  31. A Song--For Anything, song for voice & piano, S. 355 (K. 6B14)
  32. Song for Harvest Season, for voice & brass ensemble (or organ), S. 356 (K. 6B18)
  33. The Song of the Dead, song for voice & piano, S. 357 (K. 6B29d)
  34. Songs My Mother Taught Me, song for voice and piano, S. 361 (K. 6B21c)
  35. South Wind (Die Lotosblume), song for voice & piano, S. 362 (K. 6B44)
  36. Spring Song, song for voice & piano, S. 363 (K. 6B43)
  37. Sunrise, song for voice, piano & violin, S. 365 (K. 6B77)
  38. Swimmers, song for voice & piano, S. 366 (K. 6B53)

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