Found Frozen is a new CD from Centrediscs featuring songs by Jeffrey Ryan. The centrepiece of the disc is his Miss Carr in Seven Scenes. It’s a setting of extracts from Emily Carr’s notebooks for mezzo-soprano and piano performed here by Krisztina Szabó and Steven Philcox. I’ve heard them do the piece twice live, including the premier, and I really don’t have much to add to what I wrote then. It’s a terrific piece.
The first set on the disc though is Found Frozen. It’s a setting of three poems by Helen Hunt Jackson about Death and Remembrance. It’s scored for soprano and piano and sits quite high much of the time. The piano part is busy and somewhat minimalistic. It’s sung by Danika Lorèn with Steven Philcox again at the piano. It’s very good singing indeed. There are long sustained notes that are navigated with aplomb and her diction is excellent, even in the very high passages.
The third piece is Of Passion’s Tide; a setting of six poems by C.P. Cavafy in English translations by Rae Dalven. These are themed around an old man looking back at his youth and have an essentially elegiac mood, often leaving the singer quite exposed, though there are places where a more excitable, busier mood reminiscent of the Carr pieces cuts in. They are sensitively sung by baritone Dion Mazerolle, again with Steven Philcox at the piano.
The CD closes out with a setting of Mustafa Ahmed’s short poem So Crumble into Sand. It’s straightforwardly lyrical and beautifully sung by Danika with Steven at the piano.
The recording was made at Revolution Recording Studios in Toronto (the Carr pieces in 2019, the rest in 2021) and is excellent. Documentation is comprehensive with full texts, commentary and artist bios. It’s another recording that shows just how much excellent Canadian art song there is out there.
Catalogue number: Centrediscs CMCCD 30222
Pingback: Best of 2022 | operaramblings