Sure on this shining night
As a student, Robert White went one day in the late-1950s to sing for Virgil Thomson, in his famous apartment at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. White sang “Il mio tesoro” from Don Giovanni and
That is just what he did and for much of his career, White has been an advocate for songs in English by American, Irish and English composers. On this new CD he gives us a sort of mini-seminar on twentieth-century American song. “We are the children who play in the park/All the day long from the dawn till the dark”: the opening words by Leonard Feeney in Theodor Chanler’s The Children announce all White’s positive virtues, the clear diction and the sincere commitment. Is his accent Irish or Boston? All the songs are miniatures, from Charles Ives’s The Side Show, which lasts only just over half a minute, to the longest, Aaron Copland’s
While I appreciate the desire to do justice to songs from the musical theatre – Rose Marie, One alone and
Thomson said “anything can be set to music”, but the composers here have played pretty safe with Shakespeare, Browning (Amy Beach’s exuberant
This is a very charming record. Robert White’s notes add several other personal memories of the composers, from Hindemith conducting to Marc Marder who composed To a Stranger just the week before the disc was made. Samuel Sanders does sterling work at the keyboard; I liked his little flourishes in Rose Marie – as Virgil Thomson wrote, “a bit of counter melody can sometimes add warmth”.'