Delos’ new Sing Me a Story: Musical Tales from Delos collection — available July 19, 2019 — celebrates music’s ability to touch our hearts and minds through the path of narrative texts. While love is the subject of several of these songs, the others evoke and examine an even wider range of human expression and experience.
The poems and lyrics encompass many internal journeys – depicting such diverse topics as a New England winter evening, Van Gogh’s tortured stay in Arles, the yearning for transcendence in Victorian England, the whimsy of mid-20th-century pop tunes, the despair of a dying California oil town. All of these songs are leading you toward some destination – from the geographical to the metaphysical, with a variety of detours suggested along the way.
Some of the text authors are famous and revered – William Butler Yeats, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson; others – Kate Gale, Bob Hilliard, Eric Maschwitz, Adelaide Procter, Greatrex Newman – less so, but inspiring nonetheless. A 19th century American “unknown” contributed the touching ballad “Long Time Ago.” Contemporary California composer Mark Abel is also a lyricist and wrote the texts to four pieces in this collection.
The other composers are a distinguished bunch: Aaron Copland, Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, Arthur Sullivan, Richard Rodney Bennett, Ben Moore and musical theater specialists Cy Coleman, Manning Sherwin and Wolseley Charles.
The performing artists are stellar as well – sopranos Arleen Auger, Hila Plitmann and Mary Jaeb; tenors John Aler, Paul Appleby, Kyle Bielfield and Tom Zohar; baritone David Marshman; and Richard Rodney Bennett, a suave song stylist who doubles on piano. The other fine pianists are Brian Zeger, Dalton Baldwin, Grant Gershon, Tali Tadmor and Lachlan Glen. The La Brea Sinfonietta is conducted by Sharon Lavery in the three excerpts from Mark Abel’s orchestral song cycle The Dream Gallery, which depicts the lives of Californians from different towns.