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Track(s) taken from CDA67644

Romanzo, di Central Park

First line:
author of text
1822; A Love Song, from the essay Rhyme and Reason, The Liberal: Verse and Prose from the South, i

Gerald Finley (baritone), Magnus Johnston (violin), Julius Drake (piano)
Recording details: February 2007
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: February 2008
Total duration: 2 minutes 58 seconds

Cover artwork: Early Spring Afternoon, Central Park (1911) by Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925)
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Outstandingly well sung and played, equally well recorded, and highly recommendable to all lovers of fine songs and fine singing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is a highly successful follow-up to Gerald Finley and Julius Drake's first Ives recital from 2005. Here there is the same sort of mix, from familiar songs such as The Circus Band and Watchman! to an early requiem for the family cat and the intriguing title song, Romanzo, di Central Park, with its obbligato violin part atmospherically played by Magnus Johnston. Finley is his usual charismatic self, at home as much in the hymnody as the parody, and he is careful not to over-sentimentalise the more homely numbers while injecting pathos into the war songs. Drake projects Ives's often complex accompaniments with clarity and style' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The programme has been selected and sequenced with care … the booklet includes not just texts but also comments by Calum MacDonald about every single song. Hyperion always gets these things right; even the cover art is a bull's-eye. Finley and Drake give no cause for complaint either … the engineers have done their work well. Finley and Drake are perfectly balanced and they perofrm in an environment of intimate warmth' (International Record Review)

'Finley is a wonderfully assured interpreter … perfectly registering their switchback changes of mood and presenting their occasional lapses into sentimentality with total conviction. More than any other performers on disc, Finley and Drake establish these songs, with all their quirks and flights of fantasy, among the most important of the 20th century in any language' (The Guardian)

'Gerald Finley has everything and more in his darkly full-bodied voice to match the often formidable technical and expressive requirements of Ives's songbook—reinforced by Drake's elastic, expressive piano … this is a must-buy album' (The Times)

'The variety of songs recorded here is extraordinary … Gerald Finley's warm baritone sits right inside Ives's soundworld, while Drake refuses to be fazed by the idealistic piano writing' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Listening to a collection such as this reveals genuine delights of phrase and harmony. These are, by and large, not songs for 'showy' singers, yet several of the numbers more citational of popular song do demand some verbal panache, which the Canadian bass-baritone can certainly supply, along with fine-honed dynamic control and a warm, solidly delineated tone … Drake, very sensitive as to tempo and mood, proves willing to haul out the trombones when needed' (Opera News)

'It's the best kind of fun. The astonishing range Ives exhibits in the 30 songs on the disc—some comic, others serious—is astonishing. Finley, in even better voice than on the Barber CD, and Drake, relishing Ives' complexities, dig deep into them all' (Bay Area Reporter, USA)

'Gerald Finley's second disc of Ives songs is every bit as wonderful as the first. Finley is the perfect song recitalist … he can sound dreamy, tender, raucous, heroic, and serene, all without ever disfiguring his timbre or letting the pitch waver. Julius Drake offers accompaniments that are as perfect and knowing as the singing, and the engineering couldn't be better … this is magnificent—vocal recitals don't come any better' (Classics Today)
Romanzo (di Central Park) was composed in 1900. The title is Ives’s own: the text is a concoction which Leigh Hunt called ‘A Love Song’—he used it in his essay ‘Rhyme and Reason’ as an illustration of a poem ‘of which we require no more than the rhymes, to be acquainted with the whole …’. In an after-note Ives mentions that ‘the above collection of notes and heartbeats’ shows ‘the influence, on the youthful mind’ of an unnamed composer, much admired at the time he was writing the song. The Ives scholar John Kirkpatrick found a jotting which identifies this figure as the once-popular Victor Herbert. Romanzo (di Central Park) is also one of a number of settings in 114 Songs which, Ives noted: ‘have little or no musical value—(a statement which does not mean to imply that the others have any too much of it). These are inserted principally because … they are good illustrations of types of songs, the fewer of which are composed, published, sold or sung, the better it is for the progress of music generally. It is asked—(probably a superfluous request)—that they be not sung, at least in public, or given to students as examples of what not to sing.’ Despite this eloquent disclaimer, the Romanzo is a real charmer.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008

Romanzo (di Central Park)—le titre est de Ives—date de 1900. Le texte est un mélange que Leigh Hunt baptisa «A Love Song»—il s’en servit dans son essai «Rhyme and Reason» comme exemple de poème «dont les rimes suffisent à nous faire connaître l’ensemble». Dans une note rédigée a posteriori, Ives souligna que cette «collection de notes et de battements de cœur» montre «l’influence, sur l’esprit juvénile» d’une compositeur qu’il ne nomme pas, mais qu’il admirait beaucoup lors de la conception de cette mélodie. Le spécialiste de Ives, John Kirkpatrick, a découvert une note griffonnée selon laquelle il s’agirait de Victor Herbert, artiste naguère populaire. Romanzo (di Central Park) est, remarqua Ives, comme bien d’autres pièces des 114 Songs, une de ces mélodies qui «n’ont pas ou peu de valeur musicale—(ce qui ne veut pas dire que les autres en aient trop). Elles sont insérées surtout parce que … elles illustrent bien ces mélodies qui, moins elles sont composées, publiées, vendues et chantées, mieux le progrès de la musique se porte. On demande—(probablement une requête surperflue)—qu’elles ne soient pas chantées, du moins en public, ou qu’elles soient données aux étudiants comme exemple de ce qu’il ne faut pas chanter.» Un désaveu éloquent qui n’enlève rien au charme de Romanzo.

extrait des notes rédigées par Calum MacDonald © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Romanzo (di Central Park) wurde 1900 komponiert. Der Titel stammt von Ives selbst; der Text ist ein Fabrikat, das Leigh Hunt „Ein Liebeslied“ nannte—er verwendete es in seinem Essay „Rhyme and Reason“ als Illustration für ein Gedicht, „von dem wir nicht mehr verlangen, als dass es sich reimt, um es ganz zu erfassen …“. In einem Nachwort erwähnt Ives, dass „die obige Sammlung von Noten und Herzschlägen den Einfluss [eines Komponisten] auf den jugendlichen Geist“ aufzeigte, den er zur Zeit der Komposition des Liedes sehr bewunderte (der Komponist wird nicht genannt). Der Ives-Forscher John Kirkpatrick fand eine Notiz, die diese Figur als den einst sehr populären Victor Herbert identifiziert. Romanzo (di Central Park) gehört auch zu einer Anzahl von Vertonungen in den 114 Songs, die in Ives Worten „nur wenig oder keinen musikalischen Wert besitzen—(das soll nicht heißen, dass die anderen deshalb allzu viel davon haben). Diese wurden hauptsächlich eingefügt, weil … sie gute Illustrationen für Liedtypen sind, von denen es umso besser für den Fortgang der Musik im Allgemeinen ist, je weniger von ihnen komponiert, veröffentlicht oder gesungen werden. Es wird gebeten—(womöglich unnötigerweise)—dass sie nicht gesungen werden, zumindest nicht in der Öffentlichkeit, oder dass sie Studenten als Beispiele dafür gegeben werden, was sie nicht singen sollen.“ Trotz dieses eloquenten Dementis ist der Romanzo wahrhaftig bezaubernd.

aus dem Begleittext von Calum MacDonald © 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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