A Musical Zoo

A Musical Zoo

by Ashley Riches Ashley Riches


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Musical representations of animals may be as old as music itself, but there are not many song recitals in the genre. This one by bass-baritone Ashley Riches and the reliably good accompanist Joseph Middleton is delightful on many levels and certainly sets a new standard. The album would be ideal for afternoon lectures introducing audiences to art song repertory, and such vivid tunes as Strauss' "Die Drossel (The Thrush)" will be accessible even to children. However, that song is an example of Riches' tendency to choose songs with some kind of deeper meaning. Strauss's "thrush" is "caged" musically, just like the one in the poem he sets, and there are a few grimly serious songs like John Ireland's reworking of the folk song "The Three Ravens." Things shake back out to fun in the end, though, with a large set of tiny settings of Ogden Nash poems about animals by composer and pop songwriter Vernon Duke, none more than a minute long and many much shorter. These may be the highlight simply because they're not well known, and they demonstrate Riches' considerable versatility: not only does he sing in four different languages, he delivers a competent American accent in these songs, which need it. The whole production keeps you wanting to hear the next song, and superb Potton Hall sound is another plus. A rare example of a song recital that will appeal to virtually everyone.

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Product Details

Release Date: 03/05/2021
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115218426
catalogNumber: 20184
Rank: 85918


  1. Tom Bowling and Other Song Arrangements, for voice & piano: The Crocodile - Melody from English County Songs
  2. Ogden Nash's Musical Zoo, for voice & piano
  3. The Monk and His Cat, song for voice & piano, Op. 29/8 (Hermit Songs, No. 8)
  4. King David for voice & piano
  5. The three ravens, folk song arrangement for voice & piano
  6. Verses (4) of Captain Lebyadkin, songs for bass & piano, Op. 146: Once There Lived a Cockroach
  7. Mephistopheles' Song of the Flea, for voice & piano or orchestra, edited by Rimsky-Korsakov
  8. Histoires naturelles, song cycle for voice & piano, M. 50
  9. Le Papillon et la Fleur, song for voice & piano in C major, Op. 1/1
  10. Die Drossel ("Ich will ja nicht in Garten geh'n"), song for voice & piano, o.Op. 34 (TrV 49, AV 34)
  11. An die Nachtigall ("Geuss nicht so laut"), song for voice & piano, Op. 46/4
  12. Der Rattenfänger ("Ich bin der wohlbekannte Sänger"), song for voice & piano (Goethe Lieder): No. 11 Der Rattenfänger
  13. Die Löwenbraut ("Mit der Myrtle geschmückt"), song for voice & piano, Op. 31/1
  14. Die Vögel ("Wie lieblich und fröhlich"), song for voice & piano, D. 691 (Op. posth. 172/6)
  15. Die Forelle ("In einem Bächlein helle"), song for voice & piano, D. 550 (Op. 32)

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