Gathering - Songs by Ben Moore
This unabashedly eclectic album features stirring and varied songs by Ben Moore, who has chosen poems spanning 2,600 years for his texts. The music extends from art song to cabaret, yet all share Moore’s lyrical and eloquent style. The songs are united by the unwavering honesty and passion of the composer and performers, including Isabel Leonard, Liz Callaway, Matthew Polenzani, Michael Kelly, Janai Brugger and other stars of opera and Broadway. Brian Zeger’s collaboration on piano provides the singers with support and inspiration. The album concludes with songs of hope, touching on the acceptance of love in its many forms.
A Textura Top 20 Vocal Album of 2022!
There's so much to like about this collection of songs by Ben Moore, it's hard to know where to start. Let's begin with the material itself, twenty-two songs that span the spectrum of emotional experience with dignity and poise. His music has been called “gorgeously lyrical” (The New York Times) and commended for its “romantic sweep” (Opera News), and many a song on the release exemplifies those qualities, plus a great deal more. Gathering is a magnificent collection, and as the songs were written over a span of thirty years, it also offers a superb overview.
The songs are put over in fine style by a terrific group of singers…All of them have their moments at centre stage here, and their voices are flexible and mellifluous enough to cross the stylistic lines drawn with sophistication and taste by the composer. For my money, the loveliest song is ‘I Must Travel as a Phantom Now’ (Thomas Hardy) sung lusciously by Isabel Leonard…[The songs are] accompanied by pianist Brian Zeger, who captures every mood and gesture of the writing. Engaging notes add even more flair to a recital that turns out to have been quite a gathering.
-- American Record Guide
…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; Polenzani also shows the more robust side of his tenor that American opera audiences have fallen in love with in “When I Was One-and-Twenty.”
The album is divided into five sections, so it ebbs and flows, like acts in a show.
-- Opera News
Release Date: April 22, 2022
Catalog Number: DE 3581
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Ben Moore
Composer: Ben Moore
Performer: Janai Brugger (soprano), Brian Zeger (piano), Isabel Leonard (mezzo-soprano), Joseph Lattanzi (baritone), Liz Callaway (soprano), Michael Kelly (baritone), Alexander Cesare Gemignani (tenor)