Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MasterVoices: Night Songs And Love Waltzes

MasterVoices (formerly known as the Collegiate Chorale) has a long history of presenting wonderful evenings of song and theatre, and Night Songs and Love Waltzes fit right in. (There's also every reason to believe that MasterVoices' presentation of Lady in the Dark, starring Victoria Clark, will also be wonderful. For more info, click here.)

Night Songs and Love Waltzes was the work of many people, and they all deserve shout-outs.

Ted Sperling. The artistic director and conductor, Sperling loves his work and shares that love generously. And his taste and conducting are superb. When I see his name, I relax in the knowledge that I'm going to have a good time.

Ted Sperling

MasterVoices Singers. I love big groups of people singing, and MasterVoices' 120 singers sound glorious together. It's a thrill whenever they sing.

The Soloists. Nicole Cabell (soprano), Kate Aldrich (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Nmon Ford (baritone) acquitted themselves nicely throughout. 

Stephen Sondheim. He's Stephen Sondheim, y'know? And his music for A Little Night Music is some of the most luscious in his brilliant and insanely rich oeuvre. Ted Sperling made an arrangement of those Night Music songs originated by its quintet/chorus--including a song that didn't make it to the finished show--and the result is sheer pleasure.

Ricky Ian Gordon. Gordon's music is often stunning, and his Life is Love, a song cycle to poems of Langston Hughes, is beautiful.

Anderson & RoeGreg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe play piano(s) with proficiency, brilliance, energy, humor, and a touch of insanity. They are fabulous musicians and incredible showpeople.

Anderson (right) & Roe

Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schumann (Clara and Robert), and Schubert. At the risk of revealing my middle-brow-ness, I appreciated rather than loved their pieces. In truth, I was counting the minutes until the work of Sondheim, Gordon, or Anderson & Roe.

The Musicians. When I initially saw cellists Peter Sachon and Mairi Dorman and the horn quartet led by Zohar Schondorf, I thought they made up an odd combination of instruments. Sperling, of course, knows better than I, and the band was terrific and just right.

Alice Tully.  Alice Tully, who died in her early 90s in the early '90s, was originally a singer but ended up focusing on philanthropy once she inherited her family's significant fortune. She pretty much paid for Alice Tully Hall, where Night Songs and Love Waltzes was performed, but she only allowed it to be named after her once she made sure it was up to her standards in acoustics and leg room. The result is a perfect venue in which to hear music, and it is much warmer in mood than its larger siblings in Lincoln Center.

All in all, Night Songs and Love Waltzes soared.

Wendy Caster
(mid-orchestra center)

No comments: