Siegmeister as Song Master
by Kenneth Boulton, Copyright 2008
ELIE SIEGMEISTER: Songs, Arias, Duets. "The Centennial CD." Helene Williams, soprano; Lars Woodul, baritone; Leonard Lehrman, piano. Original Cast Records #6235. 67:19
This CD is unquestionably the most comprehensive exaination of Siegmeister's stunning vocal legacy, covering no less than 50 years! Contained on this recording are no fewer than 28 selections that explore an incredible variety of Siegmeister's songs, arias and duets. The featured singers are Helene Williams, soprano, and Lars Woodul, baritone. The performances as a whole are altogether enchanting. Whether it be the relaxed, folksy, spun-out phrases of "Lazy Afernoon," or more angular, potent lines of "Outside My Window," each selection is performed with such obvious love, depth and understanding. Helene Williams and Lars Woodul are to be congratulated for their superb interpretations. In every instance, the tone and inflection of their singing perfectly match the specific emotion and text of each work.
Also worth noting is the appearance of the Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus in the song, "Anne Rutledge." Further, Leonard Lehrman's collaborative pianism is absolutely first-rate, in all cases providing just the right balance between supporting and enhancing the spirit of the music. His overall vision for this project was also a critical component in bringing it to life. Truly, this is a recording that would have made Siegmeister very proud, and that all who care about his work should quickly acquire!
[Dr. Boulton is Associate Professor of Piano at Southeastern Louisiana University. He has appeared as pianist on a number of CDs featuring American music, including the 1999 Elie Siegmeister, "Solo Piano Music, vols. 1 and 2," on Naxos.]