Opera News named Gathering: Songs by Ben Moore a September 2022 issue Critic’s Choice!
“This album joins a starry array of artists to perform romantically lush and vibrant songs by Ben Moore (b. 1960), whose compositions range from American-songbook selections to art songs, song cycles and three operas… Moore’s compositions, some of which receive their first recordings, run the gamut of his expansive artistry, from operatic arias to 11-o’clock Broadway numbers, with even some poplike echoes reminiscent of great writers and performers such as Michael Jackson or Barry Manilow. The resulting compilation is varied enough that you can enjoy the subtly complex romanticism throughout the album without tiring from any repetition. … Moore’s piano lines, superbly and consistently made alive by Brian Zeger, utilize dynamics to tell half the story, as in “Alas! This is Not What I Thought Life Was,” which features Janai Brugger. She also appears in the high, quick leaps of “Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop,” one of the first up-tempo numbers on the album, and “Between the Lights,” in which Moore’s writing and Brugger’s delivery matches the emotion of Virginia Woolf’s text, an excerpt from A Room of One’s Own. “Requiem,” sung by baritone Joseph Lattanzi, teaches you to expect the unexpected from Moore… Lattanzi also sings some fine lighter numbers with Liz Callaway of musical theater fame… Callaway’s crisp, gentle delivery provides a light balance to Lattanzi’s more operatic baritone, and her solo “Where Has Summer Gone?,” with a steady build of emotional delivery and lyrics by Moore himself, is a personal favorite. … there is, truly, something for everyone on this eclectic disc. Isabel Leonard offers her dark-hooded mezzo to the most aria-like songs on the album; of them, “Lullaby” feels more traditional at its onset, and perhaps it is in the vocal line, but the uniqueness of the piano line gives the trite concept of a lullaby much more depth and nuance. Matthew Polenzani lends his unparalleled tenor to the gently complex “Where Are the Songs of Spring?,” in which listeners see the rolling hills and a babbling brook in Moore’s rolling piano line, full of movement… baritone Michael Kelly has a beautiful instrument, as deliberate as Moore’s music—abrupt at times, delicate at others—which he showcases in two selections, both from the cycle Love Remained. … If the excellent music and illustrious artists weren’t enough of a selling point, it’s worth a listen for Moore’s setting of texts, which include lyrics taken from John Keats, W.B. Yeats and Thomas Hardy.”—Maria Mazzaro, Opera News