Though this recording dates back to 1991 it remains one of the finest collections of American art songs in the lieder catalogue. Although the 36 songs in this collection are by Charles Ives, Edward MacDowell and Charles Griffes (some of America's finest composers), the songs are written to German texts, reflecting the trend of the times of these composers' lives when studying in Germany was the accepted course of instruction in preparation for advanced careers in music.
The results here captured with utmost delicacy and tenderness and elegance by Thomas Hampson and Armen Guzelimian are some of the most beautiful yet sadly neglected songs in the literature. Especially surprising are the songs by Ives, written before he began his unique changes to music that we still appreciate as his legacy.
The balance between these two artists is not only sensitive but alos beautifully recorded. Hampson is in top vocal status, ever the interpretive artist at the will of the composers. Guzelimian does not accompany: Guzelimian collaborates. His piano shares the vocal conversations in the most meaningful, text/phrasing appropriate manner.
For lovers of lieder and devotees of the recital medium, this recording is an absolute must for the library. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, February 2005