Cabaret Songs .Two recitals 1982 and 19881982 (Audio)
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The cabaret song recital is a corner of a corner of the classical music scene -- an event attended mostly by serious vocal music enthusiasts. This is too bad, for such recitals cross the conventional pop/classical boundary and provide the perfect opportunity to make an art song lover out of a fan of American and British pop standards (or, if the need arises, vice versa).
TodOpera shows two such recitals by the offbeat English mezzo soprano Sarah Walker and veteran accompanist Roger Vignoles, recorded live in 1982 and 1988.
They are sterling examples of the form, with Gershwin, Vernon Duke, Charles Ives, and Benjamin Britten all resting comfortably side by side on the program. Several of the songs are very funny (Walker breaks the audience up in these), and all are intelligently chosen: Gershwin's parodies of European song forms (By Strauss, The Jolly Jack Tar, and The Lorelei -- she had a most immoral eye!) are all here, while from the "classical" side Britten (with his collaborator W.H. Auden) and Ives play off popular song genres of their own times.
George and Ira Gershwin are represented by nine songs here, and Walker shows herself a superior interpreter of their music, especially for a non-American. She pronounces the letter "r" like an American, with tongue rolled up so that its tip is way back in the mouth. She does not try to sound like a Broadway singer, but she gets the rhythmic freedom of Gershwin's lines, which ought to sound like they were being blown by a jazz saxophonist or trumpeter -- and if a singer does that, she can be as operatic as she likes.
1 By Strauss.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
2 The Man I Love.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
3 The Jolly Jack Tar.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
4 Love Is Here to Stay.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
5 .World Weary.Noël Coward
6 .Diss.John Betjeman / Geoff Wright
7 .Paris in New York.Vernon Duke
8 .Calypso.Wystan Hugh Auden / Benjamin Britten
9 .Johnny. Wystan Hugh Auden / Benjamin Britten
10 .Tell Me the Truth About Love.Wystan Hugh Auden / Benjamin Britten
11 .Funeral Blues.Wystan Hugh Auden / Benjamin Britten
12 .In the Alley.Charles Ives
13 .Indian Summer.Margaret Mallory / Dorothy Parker
14 .Unfortunate Coincidence.Margaret Mallory / Dorothy Parker
15 .Words of Comfort (To Be Scratched on a Mirror).Margaret Mallory / Dorothy Parker
16 .Résumé...Serenade to a Gravedigger.Margaret Mallory / Dorothy Parker
17 .The Sideshow.Charles Ives
18 .The Circus Road.Charles Ives
19 .Lines to Ralph Hodgson, Esqre.John Dankworth / T.S. Eliot
20 .Bread and Butter.John Dankworth
21 .English Teeth.John Dankworth / Spike Milligan
22 .Someone to Watch over Me.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
23 .I Love to Rhyme.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
24 .Isn't It a Pity?.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
25 .The Half of It, Dearie, Blues. George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin
26 .Ages Ago.Vernon Duke
27 .The Lorelei.George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin