…let me explain

letmeexplain…let me explain is a new CD of Canadian art song (mostly) from soprano Christina Raphaëlle Haldane.  The first set consists of three arrangements of Acadian folk songs by by Carl Philippe Gionet.  The three are quite different.  L’Escaouette is fast, high, rhythmic and very high energy.  Tout Passe is much more elegiacal while Wing Tra La is very playful.  They are sung quite beautifully with piano accompaniment from the arranger.  Ahania’s Lament is a longish piece in which Blake’s text is set by Samy Mousa.  It’s a tough sing with a lot of high exposed passages against a minimal accompaniment.  It’s a piece that it’s easy to get drawn into.  It’s a good vehicle for Haldane’s crystalline upper register.  Piano accompaniment by M.Gionet again.

Perhaps the most interesting piece on the disc is The Echo Cycle.  It’s a setting of seven poems by Christine’s father Seán by David Jaeger.  They are set a cappella and are clearly designed for the singer.  They sit very high and, unusually for art song, include some coloratura sections.  Interesting stuff.

The disc concluded with two previously unrecorded Oscar Peterson songs; Why Think About Tomorrow? and Land of Misty Giants.  Accompaniment here is by Stu Harrison on piano and Ross MacIntyre on double bass.  I’m no jazz expert but they sound fine to me and make an interesting ending to a very interesting disc.

The recording was made in the Glenn Gould Studio and it’s open and clear for the art song pieces.  The Peterson numbers get quite a different treatment from the engineers; close miked I suspect, and sound like they were recorded in a different space though I guess it’s a perfectly appropriate “sound” for jazz.

The booklet contains full texts plus explanatory material and bios of everyone involved.

This is an enjoyable disc in its own right as well as being a useful addition to the growing corpus of Canadian art song recordings.


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