CD Review by Alex Skovron (v.8#2, p.31, Summer 2000) of
'HELENE WILLIAMS [soprano] SINGS SONGS OF LOVE.' With Leonard Lehrman, piano. Songs by members of Long Island Composers Alliance (LICA): Adele BERK, Leonard LEHRMAN, Elie SIEGMEISTER, Jeanne SINGER, Mira SPEKTOR, Albert TEPPER. Capstone CPS 8647 (59:11)
I found this recording full of colour and rich in musical thought. There were many highlights for me. The exuberant opening bars of Leonard Lehrman's Marlowe setting in Five Love Songs still echo in my mind whenever I think of the words (even as I write this). The second of the two Rossetti love songs is an enjoyable example of the same composer's Sonnetinas. Albert Tepper's "Who is Sylvia" makes for a fascinating comparison with Schubert's version, and "Ariel's Song" provides a delightful contrast. The splendid Jeanne Singer cycle struck me as "symphonic," and presents such a variety of mood and feeling, as does Lehrman's Edith Segal cycle, with its quick-change miniatures. Among the Adele Berk songs, I found "Sigh No More, Ladies" particularly arresting for its vigour and its modal quality. I much admired, too, Lehrman's settings of the Elizabeth Gurley Flynn poems. (I must confess I didn't dmire all of her words, though the opening poem is rather beautiful; but the settings and Helene Williams' expressive skills transcended the less understated or oversentimentalized lines -- and I liked the way the vivid fourth poem is partially repeated.) Elie Siegmeister's "Lonely Star" is oddly haunting, and his "Chalk Marks on the Sidewalk" refeshing and fun. Mira Spektor's "Call Me", with its charming and childlike quality, seems a fitting finale.
[Mr. Skovron, based in Melbourne, Australia, is an editor, critic and author of three books of poetry. His review of 'HELENE WILLIAMS SINGS MORE SONGS OF LOVE" will appear in a subsequent issue]
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