Search - Andre Previn, Samuel Barber, George Gershwin :: Previn: Honey and Rue; Barber: Knoxville; Gershwin: Porgy And Bess / Battle, Previn, et al

Previn: Honey and Rue; Barber: Knoxville; Gershwin: Porgy And Bess / Battle, Previn, et al
Andre Previn, Samuel Barber, George Gershwin
Previn: Honey and Rue; Barber: Knoxville; Gershwin: Porgy And Bess / Battle, Previn, et al
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Back at the beginning of the 1990s, with some help from Carnegie Hall, soprano Kathleen Battle commissioned André Previn and Toni Morrison to write a song cycle for her. The result was a set of six songs called Honey and R...  more »

      
   
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Synopsis

Amazon.com
Back at the beginning of the 1990s, with some help from Carnegie Hall, soprano Kathleen Battle commissioned André Previn and Toni Morrison to write a song cycle for her. The result was a set of six songs called Honey and Rue, referring to "the bitter and the sweet" that comes with life and love and is part of the African American experience. One of the songs, the last to be composed, is unaccompanied. The remaining five are scored for chamber orchestra and showcase Previn's chameleon-like abilities as an arranger--here capturing echoes of such European masters as Mahler and Berg, there a hint of Americana in the Copland-Bernstein vein, and elsewhere the engaging verve of jazz and the blues. Previn conducts his score with breezy authority, drawing spirited playing from the Orchestra of Saint Luke's, particularly in the jazzy third song ("The Town Is Lit") and the spiritual-like concluding number ("Take My Mother Home"). Battle sings expressively and with obvious commitment--both here and in the selections by Barber and Gershwin that fill out the disc--though not without her lately characteristic affectations. The recording makes her voice sound oddly reverberant, as though it had been subjected to the kind of processed engineering usually reserved for pop productions. --Ted Libbey

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CD Reviews

A beautiful cycle for a beautiful voice
bravissimadiva | Chicago | 06/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This C.D. is a real gem. It stands as a testement to the sheer beauty and artistry that is Kathleen Battle as well as the genius of Andre Previn, author Toni Morrison and the various other American Composers and librettist featured on this disc. Kathleen Battle's voice is at it's silvery best, rich with emotiveness, expression and artistic grace. A wonderful blend of neo- classic, post-romantic and twentieth century music this is any music buffs forte, and worthy of being in any singers library."
An Impressive Song Cycle
bibliomane01 | 06/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Honey and Rue" is a song cycle with lyrics written by Toni Morrison and music composed by Andre Previn, performed by Kathleen Battle and the Orchestra of St. Lukes with the composer at the helm. The work received its premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1992.With such an all-star team behind it, it is no surprise that "Honey and Rue" is a great success. Morrison's lyrics present "images of yearning, satisfaction, resolution" and Previn's eclectic score combines early 20th century classical ideas with jazz and blues. As for Miss Battle, well I'm afraid that I'm an adoring fan and can't be relied upon. The disc is filled out with Barber's glorious "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" and two selections from "Porgy and Bess.""
Wonderful Music, Rip-off price
M. A COMBRINK | Cape Town, South Africa | 06/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I love this disc. A wonderful singer performing wonderful music. The Morrison poems are hauntingly set by Previn, and the Barber gives Dawn Upshaw a run for her money, the Gershwin as near-perfect as one could hope for. But it's a total cheek to charge this kind of money for a 40 minute disc. In keeping with the American flavour of the disc, how about some orchstrated Barber songs or his opera arias? Copland? More Gershwin? Adams? Even some of Previn's other wonderful music could have notched this into 50 minutes. I feel ripped off."