The Journal of Singing‘s latest issue features a wonderful new review for Mark Abel’s “Trois Femmes” from the album, Spectrum:
“Mark Abel, whose works frequently have been reviewed in this column, is a gifted and fascinating composer… The texts are effective and insightful, drawing the listener into the intriguing life stories of three women, icons of film in the last century, and all largely unknown.…
Abel’s signature style, described earlier by this writer as a “color palette of rock, classical and jazz influences,” continues to evolve. His writing here for the piano creates a strong independent voice just translucent enough to join effectively with the almost acrobatic vocal lines. These are wide ranging in all three songs, dipping into the lowest pitches of the female voice and then soaring an octave or more. The shifting tonality is challenging, but not unduly so; likewise the metric fluctuations throughout. These serve the musical and dramatic intent well, and in the hands of an excellent singer and pianist can be absolutely arresting pictures of these women. The composer follows the stresses and nuances of his text unerringly, and the sometimes unsettling melodic leaps only serve to highlight the emotive colors of the texts.
In Trois Femmes du Cinema, Mark Abel has created three commanding and disquieting portraits, bringing to life the singular personalities of these extraordinary women, whose imprint on contemporary life in film was one of strength in the face of despair. All three songs can be heard sung by soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian on the recently release Delos recording Mark Abel: Spectrum. Abel’s gorgeous and complex songs are a welcome addition to a body of repertoire that serves to advance women’s voices.”—Kathleen Roland-Silverstein, The Journal of Singing