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Echoes of Nightingales CD

2.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Christine Brewer, Roger Vignoles
  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Various
  • Audio CD (28 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B004K4T6BQ
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,093 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sing to me, sing
  2. Night
  3. Now like a lantern
  4. Sea Moods
  5. O lovely night!
  6. At Parting
  7. The sleep that flits on baby's eyes
  8. Hickory Hill
  9. Through the years
  10. There shall be more joy
  11. Hills
  12. Love went a-riding
  13. In my garden
  14. Will you remember? 'Sweetheart'
  15. If I could tell you
  16. The last rose of summer
  17. The song of songs 'Chanson du coeur brise
  18. Stopping by woods on a snowy evening
  19. Happiness is a thing called Joe
  20. Some other time
  21. When I have sung my songs
  22. Review

Product Description

Product Description

Œuvres de Homer, McArthur, Kramer, Tyson, Ronald, Rogers, Carpenter, Sargent, Youmans, Nordoff, La Forge, Bridge, Firestone, Romberg, Flotow, Vicars, La Montaine, Arlen, Bernstein, Charles & Dougharty / Christine Brewer, soprano - Roger Vignoles, piano

Review

This extraordinary disc brings together songs by predominantly American composers that were used as encores by four sopranos who were hugely popular in the US from the 1930s to the 60s Kirsten Flagstad, Eileen Farrell, Helen Traubel and Eleanor Steber. The astonishing Steber could sing just about anything. The other three were Wagnerians Flagstad, of course, being the greatest though Traubel also notoriously annoyed operatic authorities by singing cabaret. But all four ended their US recitals and broadcasts with either songs from the shows, salon numbers or sentimental ballads by the likes of Idabelle Firestone and Mildred Lund Tyson. Brewer, in tremendous voice, carves out a niche as their successor, partly because the majestic quality of her delivery equals theirs, but more importantly because she, like they, has the ability to make this repertoire live and breathe without sounding mawkish. The high points there are many include Frank La Forge's Hills and Sweetheart from Sigmund Romberg's Maytime. And Brewer's pianist, Roger Vignoles, sounds as if he's thoroughly enjoying himself. --Guardian,14/04/11

A recital as unusual and varied as it is charming and deftly executed. GRAMOPHONE RECOMMENDS. --Gramophone,Jun'11

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Some years ago Chandos issued a disc of Christine Brewer singing operatic arias and songs. This is highly enjoyable and can be recommended. Now someone (?Brewer herself) has had the idea of recording songs which were done as encores by celebrated sopranos of a previous generation, such as Eleanor Steber, Kirsten Flagstad and Eileen Farrell. Many of these are Victorian or Edwardian ballads, a genre of which I am fond. She has an accomplished accompanist in Roger Vignoles.

Sadly this disc falls short in both repertoire and performance. Many of the songs are dreary and instantly forgettable. But the big problem is the size of Christine Brewer's voice. These minor items are given the full ffff treatment, especially on rising phrases and climaxes: and they won't stand it. To listen to a fine song such as Will You Remember?, which was very nicely sung by people like Anne Ziegler and Jeanette Macdonald, attacked by Christine Brewer in full sail, is to witness something best avoided. She does manage to tone it all down for The Last Rose of Summer and a little item by Bernstein, but the general impression is of a voice that is just too big for this material. It reminds me a bit of the great Joyce Grenfell's skit on a famous contralto singing archly about fairies.

Her own encore, included at the end, is a very strange beast - a setting of a review of a song recital, itself not particularly amusing. I didn't understand why she thought it was worth doing.

I am afraid I cannot recommend this.
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I'm hand in glove with the prior review by "Stephen" and his witty heading "can belto" for the super-robust Flagstad encores that open the recital. Moreover, for other reasons, most of the songs subsequently offered turn out to be flops as encores, at least the way Brewer handles them. Of the 22 selections, only eight come close to achieving the emotional intimacy that qualifies them as the farewell of a recital soloist, and even among these her voice is out of its element, lacks charm and is frequently irritating. Only her rendering of "Some Other Time" near the end of the recital is soft, intimate and shows what "encores" are all about. This is very slim pickings. With a voice so poorly suited to this repetoire, a reasonable inference is that Hyperion gave the OK to this album because it was under the spell of her earlier success in opera albums. Alas, those strengths don't transfer to the recital milieu.

With musical values low, the big plus of the album is the marvelous programme notes of John Steane that meet his usual high standards of erudition on the topic of encores and their contexts. This little booklet tucked into this CD is one of the most evidently sincere and caring that's been issued anywhere. It's light years away from the crankouts that so often are yawn material in CD releases and it's unusual to find printed materials that are this superlative. The painting selected for the album cover reflects this care, too. It's just too bad Brewer wasn't suited for this assignment and that the intimacy and delicacy of "Some Other Time" wasn't kept as the lodestar for selecting the programme. A much more satisfying recital of this type (that doesn't mention encores) is Songs of the British Isles that floods us with warmth [available on Amazon at the time of this posting from 39 cents!)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9301836c) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9303d3cc) out of 5 stars Christine Brewer Continues to Enthrall 29 Jun. 2011
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
For those fortunate enough to have heard Christine in concert and most especially her concert version of Tristan und Isolde it may seem that this gifted artist should remain in the sanctity of the great dramatic soprano roles of the opera theater. But not so, for here, as on her several albums of lieder for soprano and orchestra she gives a tender nod to a tradition that has long been admired - and is now somewhat forgotten. This beautifully recorded CD is Christine Brewer's and her able collaborator, pianist Roger Vignoles' tribute to the great sopranos of the past who tossed a love bouquet to their audiences after recitals by offering simple but heartfelt encores - love songs to the audiences who adored them. After heavy duty workouts with Strauss and Wagner the likes of Kirsten Flagstad, Eleanor Steber, Helen Traubel, and Eileen Farrell would serenade with brief but lovely little songs. Some of the songs Brewer offers here include that famous farewell song that closed the Voice of Firestone radio show - 'If I Could tell You' - an dHarold Arlen's Happiness is just a Thing called Joe', Harold Vicars 'The Song of Songs', Frank La Forge's 'Hills' and 'Sweetheart' from Sigmund Romberg's Maytime.

In Brewer's words: 'This collection of songs was inspired by a long-time love of this mostly American repertoire. ... Stepping back into that era has been a joy to Roger and me, and I hope it will bring back memories to those who might have heard these women sing these songs, or perhaps ignite a new love affair for younger listeners!'

The complete list of songs and composers is as follows:
Sidney Homer (1864-1953): "Sing to me, sing," Op. 48
Edwin McArthur (1907-87): "Night"
Arthur Walter Kramer (1890-1969): "Now like a lantern," Op. 44, No. 5
Mildred Lund Tyson (1900-?): "Sea Moods"
Sir Landon Ronald (1873-1938): "O lovely night!"
James H. Rogers (1857-1940): "At Parting"
John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951): "The sleep that flits on baby's eyes"
Paul Sargent (1910-87): "Hickory Hill"
Vincent Youmans (1898-1946): "Through the years"
Paul Nordoff (1909-77): "There shall be more joy"
Frank La Forge (1879-1953): "Hills"
Frank Bridge (1879-1941): "Love went a-riding"
Idabelle Firestone (1874-1954): "In my garden"
Sigmund Romberg (1887-1951): "Will you remember? Sweetheart" from Maytime
Idabelle Firestone (1874-1954): "If I could tell you"
Trad./Thomas Moore (1779-1852), arr. Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883): "The last rose of summer" from Martha
Harold Vicars (?-?): "The song of songs (Chanson du coeur brisé)"
John La Montaine (b.1920): "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening"
Harold Arlen (1905-86): "Happiness is a thing called Joe" from Cabin in the Sky
Leonard Bernstein (1918-90): "Some other time" from On the Town
Ernest Charles (1895-1984): "When I have sung my songs"
Celius Dougherty (1902-1986): "Review"

This is a gracious tribute to great ladies of song by another very great lady of song and heart. Grady Harp. June 11
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x929af60c) out of 5 stars YE OLDE PLATFORM ENCORES BY A ST. LOUIS WOMAN 8 Mar. 2015
By Cody Robert at Spokane - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This repertoire--platform encores typical of a Flagstad, Traubel, Farrell or Steber playlist on tour in the American provinces ca. 1950--was pleasantly dated and on the endangered list until Christine Brewer's vocal teacher at McKendree University, Glenn Freiner, had the novel idea of reviving this grand tradition of little (mostly American) songs for a dramatically large (mostly American) vocal instrument. Brewer's programme, packed with period rarities, makes this a musicological event, and the Brewer-Vignoles partnership is copacetic (mimicking Flagstad-McArthur) throughout, the huge voice scaled down and treating the antique material with the dignity it deserves. Ms. Brewer might have offhandedly belted the aspidistra parlor ariettas, or lampooned the songs in a scathing takeoff, but she intelligently resisted the urge. There are rather stuffy encores from Flagstad (including Frank Bridge), livelier Americana from Steber's mildly loopy but ladylike repertoire, and the really memorable hits come predictably from Mesdames Traubel and Farrell, both exceptionally shrewd judges of material suitable for crossover listeners in vaudeville, radio and Broadway. The credits include two female composers, Mildred Lund Tyson ("Sea moods") and Idabelle (Mrs. Harvey) Firestone ("If I could tell you") as well as Paul Sargent's "Hickory hill" and the Broadway signature songs "Through the years," "Some other time," "Happiness is a thing called Joe" and "Will you remember?"--great evening closers by great American composers.

Well, it really takes a St. Louis Woman, as Mme Traubel would remind us, to deliver this material--some mawkishly sentimental--with a straight face, and some British reviewers (who had admired Brewer's scaling down for the Hyperion Schubert Lieder omnibus project) took great and immediate offense over this warmhearted and respectful release. Completely missing its conceptual and musicological foci, they excoriated Brewer for squandering a magnificently large instrument and technique on slight, lesser (and mostly American) songs. This completely ignores hallowed American performance traditions for concertizing divas and divos (the great Jussi Bjoerling shared idiomatically in this repertoire as well), and it shamelessly begs the moot question of the classical singer's artistic right to cross over and sing the Broadway blues--Farrell yes, Dame Kiri no. (I worry that our spoilt British cousins have simply grown unused to a robust colonial voice this huge and commanding, since the really big British voices like Eva Turner's or Rita Hunter's come round so seldom.) Christine had another influential mentor, one Birgit Nilsson, who I believe would just cackle over the inane and ignorant Brewer brouhaha and launch into another giddy encore of "I could have danced all night."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9321493c) out of 5 stars Wrong voice and the selections are largely boring & forgettable. 20 May 2013
By Ronald Haak - Published on Amazon.com
A wit dubbed this recital "can belto" --- taking a dig at the robust Flagstad encores that open the program. Moreover, for other reasons, most of what follows are flops as encores, at least the way Brewer handles them. Of the 22 selections, only eight come close to achieving the emotional intimacy that qualifies them as the farewell offerings of a recital soloist, and even among these her voice is out of its element, lacks charm and is frequently irritating. Only her rendering of "Some Other Time" near the end of the recital is soft, intimate and shows what "encores" are all about. This is very slim pickings. With a voice so poorly suited to this repetoire, a reasonable inference is that Hyperion gave the OK to this album because of her prior operatic success. But these selections put her in VERY different territory.

If this was a blindfold performance and the singer's name was withheld, we'd see a sharp drop in gush from her fans who rush in to praise any new release of hers with pennants flying.

With musical values low, the big plus of the album are the marvelous programme notes of John Steane that meet his usual high standards of erudition on the topic of encores and their contexts. This little booklet tucked into this CD is one of the most evidently sincere and caring that's been issued anywhere. It's light years away from the crankouts that so often are yawn material in CD releases and it's unusual to find printed materials that are this superlative. It's just too bad Brewer runs this show and that the intimacy and delicacy of "Some Other Time" wasn't kept as the lodestar for selecting the programme. A much more satisfying recital of this type (that doesn't mention encores) is tLinda Finnie: Songs of the British Isles in tribute to Kathleen Ferrier that floods us with warmth thanks to Finnie's appropriate vocalism. That's the one to go for.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9329ce04) out of 5 stars Christine Brewer ~ An American Treasure 15 Aug. 2011
By LWS - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This latest CD from Ms. Brewer is a total joy. We are familiar with her magnificent voice and love her choice of selections for recording, but this is something new and very exciting. ECHOES OF NIGHTINGALES offers her renditions of a wonderful variety of encores, as sung by some of the greatest sopranos in history. We own every CD Ms. Brewer has recorded and only hope that she gives us a Christmas CD this year.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9321448c) out of 5 stars Chrisitine Brewer - Echoes of Nightingales 15 May 2012
By Michael F. Gauble - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Christine Brewer, 4 time Grammy winner and the leading classical soprano in the world, is a friend of many years. We are both graduates of McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois and she formerly served with me on the Board of Trustees of the University.

She has a magical voice and I always purchase her new CDs as they are released, many personally autographed by Christine.
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