Search - Warren M. Swenson, James A. Bland, George Frederick Root :: Warren M. Swenson: Battle Pieces

Warren M. Swenson: Battle Pieces
Warren M. Swenson, James A. Bland, George Frederick Root
Warren M. Swenson: Battle Pieces
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1


      
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CD Reviews

A Creative Programming Idea Gone Awry
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/01/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The notion behind the program on this CD was a wonderful one. As a pendant to a new song cycle by Warren M. Swenson set to Civil War poems by Walt Whitmen, George Shirley, tenor, and William Bolcom, pianist, record eleven popular songs from the period surrounding the Civil War including familiar favorites as 'Oh, Dem Golden Slippers,' 'My Old Kentucky Home,' and some rare songs like the Creole folk song 'Michieu Banjo' and Henry Russell's 'The Maniac.' But there are two things wrong with the final product. First, the song cycle of twelve songs, although set to stirring, evocative poetry, is pedestrian and in a pale faux-Ives style. Second, and sad to hear, is the deterioration of the nearly 70-year-old Shirley's once glorious voice. He was, in his day, an intelligent singer with a beautiful voice that he could use to do just about anything he wished. I remember a riveting 'Salome' Herod only ten years or so ago. He still sings with immaculate musicianship and intelligence and his accompanist, the redoubtable composer/pianist William Bolcom gives him formidable support, but the voice splays and wobbles under pressure and it becomes painful to listen to it.The booklet notes and recorded sound are exemplary. But my advice is to avoid this issue unless you really want to hear Swenson's songs; this is likely to be their only recording."