Critic Robert Tomas, writing in the online Canadian music magazine The Whole Note, had some very positive things to say about three song cycles by composer Ben Moore, as recorded on Delos’ recent release, DEAR THEO (DE 3437).
Tomas begins his review by reminding his readers of Moore’s distinguished reputation as a composer of art songs, chamber music and (lately) opera; he also mentions Moore’s previous collaborations with quite a few globally prominent vocalists. He is also complimentary about the composer’s careful choice of texts from leading poets and other artists.
The only non-literary artist whose words Moore sets on this disc is the great Vincent van Gogh. Speaking of Moore’s settings of the mentally disturbed artist’s “dark letters” to his brother (as set in the album’s Dear Theo cycle), Tomas opines that tenor Paul Appleby renders them with “…the right balance of anguish and raw energy.” Tomas goes on to call attention to baritone Brett Polegato’s “velvet-smooth voice” as he delivers Moore’s setting of John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale, to “create an instant classic.” He also makes mention of “the great Brian Zeger,” the program’s piano accompanist.
Tomas sums up his commentary by advising that modern song lovers “…will find it a fine disc.” So, if you’re a fan of modern songs, take heed – and give Moore’s most excellent art song collection a try: this CD is for YOU.
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