Search - Nathan Gunn :: Just Before Sunrise

Just Before Sunrise
Nathan Gunn
Just Before Sunrise
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

From Sting, Billy Joel, and Tom Waits to W.H. Auden, James Joyce and Jimmy van Heusen, Just Before Sunrise is a collection of romantic and intimate songs of today. Musically capturing the in-between time before sunrise,...  more »

     
   
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CD Details

All Artists: Nathan Gunn
Title: Just Before Sunrise
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Sony Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 6/30/2010
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Wedding Music, Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Modern, 20th, & 21st Century
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 886970651028

Synopsis

Product Description
From Sting, Billy Joel, and Tom Waits to W.H. Auden, James Joyce and Jimmy van Heusen, Just Before Sunrise is a collection of romantic and intimate songs of today. Musically capturing the in-between time before sunrise, Nathan Gunn sings music for life s special moments and offers a musical reflection on the soul and spirit of one of today's finest singers.

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CD Reviews

A good singer, not quite the right vehicle
klavierspiel | TX, USA | 08/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"What's Nathan Gunn to do? The baritone has taken the opera world by storm with his deluxe voice and what one reviewer called his "Calvin Klein physique." He's more than earned his artistic stripes with stellar performances in roles from Mozart to Britten. But he'd like to do even more to popularize the art he so obviously loves.

Half a century ago it would have been easy. Gunn's voice, looks and acting chops would have taken him to the movies, in big-budget adaptations of Broadway musicals. But the vehicles that sustained the careers of John Raitt, Howard Keel and Gordon McRae are long gone. Instead, he's issued this CD (not, by the way, his solo debut, which was the admirable "American Anthem" on EMI), which presents fifteen songs of varying popular styles. Although only a few ("Polka Dots and Moonbeams," for example) are what might be called standards, they all end up rather sounding like such on this smoothly sung, elaborately arranged production.

There's no doubt about the continuing allure of Gunn's dark, velvety voice, thoughtfully lightened and made more casual as befits this repertory, or the skill of the many supporting artists involved. Nor can the baritone be accused of condescending to the music: Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" in particular is sung with a touching simplicity. However, ultimately "Just Before Sunrise" doesn't begin to succeed in bridging the current chasm between classical and popular music. Nathan Gunn's fans (of which I am certainly one) will remain loyal, and he might win a few more who also like the popera albums of Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban. I'm still dreaming of a Broadway revival of R & H's "Carousel," in which Gunn would be perfectly cast as Billy Bigelow. Now there would be a real way to broaden his audience. (Incidentally, a bona fide current Broadway star, Kristin Chenoweth, sings a welcome contribution on one track.)"
The Art of the Gunn Returns Triumphantly to the Popular Genr
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It amazes me that a singer of Nathan Gunn's caliber has taken eight years to follow up on his promising 1999 debut recital disc, American Anthem. In the meantime, he has conquered the world's opera stages in roles as diverse as Guglielmo in Mozart's "Così fan tutte" and Clyde Griffiths in Tobias Picker's adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy". On his 2007 recital release, Gunn seems intent on showcasing himself as a throwback to an earlier time when stalwart singers like Howard Keel and Gordon MacRae dominated the type of musical the Hollywood studios have long since forsaken. I don't blame him since his program represents some beautiful, off-the-beaten-path music in a decidedly intimate setting. With his matinee idol looks and strapping physique (used to great advantage in elaborate productions of Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" and Sergei Prokofiev's "War and Peace"), Gunn is quite a presence onstage, and his challenge has always been to match that on recordings. Here he succeeds.

The versatile baritone deliberately scales back his sizable voice to fit the warmer contours of these meticulously selected songs. Even though he is quite accomplished in the opera world, there is not a single aria to be heard on this disc. Instead, songs from the likes of Sting (a heartfelt take on "The Secret Marriage" from 1987's Nothing Like the Sun), Billy Joel (the touching "And So It Goes" from 1989's Storm Front), and Tom Waits (the madrigal-like "The Briar and the Rose" and the lithe, rolling waltz of "Innocent When You Dream"), are included here. From his folk-oriented first disc, Gunn returns to the works of composer Gene Scheer for three exceptional compositions - the melodramatic "Say Anything", the cabaret chestnut "Jam Tart", and the comparatively swoon-worthy title tune. Broadway baby Kristin Chenoweth makes a surprisingly supple and compatible duet partner on the snappy and all-too-brief jewel, "It Feels Like Home", by John Bucchino.

Ben Moore, who contributed heavily to soprano Deborah Voight's debut recital disc in 2005, provides the sweeping music for three pieces - the profoundly somber "When You Are Old and Gray" set to a poem by William Butler Yeats and two set to poems by James Joyce, the haunting "In the Dark Pine-Wood" and the quietly majestic "This Heart That Flutters". Gunn's singing is likely at its purest on Joseph Thalken's two unadorned ballads, "Time", written with Barry Kleinbort, and the brief concluding track, "I Have Loved Hours at Sea", written with Sara Teasdale. The singer is at his most uninhibited and animated on Charles Hart and David Cullen's über-romantic "The Dance of Love" and at his relaxed on the cheery Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke classic, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams", an unabashedly romantic tribute to his wife. Overall, this may not show off Gunn's vocal talent to its fullest extent, but it does show how comfortable he is in the popular genre without the contrivance one would expect from such an ambitious crossover effort."
An honest try, but this is pretty square
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"You never know when classical crossover will work and when it won't. Nathan Gunn's voice is as suave and creamy as Thomas Hampson's, and he's nowhere near as mannered as Hampson often is when he attempts Broadway tunes. But somehow this CD doesn't strike sparks, in large part because Gunn is rhythmically stiff and emotionally square. When Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth jumps in for a few bars, one winces at the contrast between her natural feeling for pop and Gunn's bland imitation. I listened to the whole album, but one sample -- Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" --was embarrassing enough to kill all pleasure. Gunn has become the poster boy for "opera singers who go to the gym," but he doesn't play on his sexy media image. If anything, he should. These flat renditions need a lot mroe sexiness than he gives them with vocalism alone."