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Parnassus Classical Compact Discs and Records

Click HERE to go back to the Carole Bogard - American Songs.

Our Own CDs - contemporary and historical re-issue classical CDs Carole Bogard - American Songs: Reviews

American Record Guide

From "American Record Guide"

So why buy this? Because you belong to the Carole Bogard cult? That's doubtful. I don't imagine one exists. Bogard sounds like one of those solid performers who has regular work but never sounds quite so fine on record as she does in concert. She can be described, without apology or further explanation, as a good singer. These selections are collected from pre- viously issued LPs and European radio tapes, and the sound is not at all bad. And if this were 2-1/2 hours of standard repertory performed by a decent professional in not bad sound. I'd say pass it up. Why settle for the merely good when you can have great?

So, why buy this? Because where can you get a recording of 56 American songs in good performances (and some of them a few cuts above good)? Where can you find good perfor- mances of the songs of John Alden Carpenter, John Duke, Richard Gumming, and William Flanagan? Where can you find any? Well, there's your reason.

The Flanagan songs are from a 1968 Desto LP...literally. The company having vanished as thoroughly as the source tapes, the transfer had to be done from vinyl, except for the six songs of Times Long Ago, which were taken from a rehearsal tape in the possession of the singer. The Duke and Cumming songs were originally released on a 1983 Cambridge LP, while the Copland, Carpenter, and Rorem were recorded for broadcast by various European radio services.

Most often recorded, of course, is the Copland, but Bogard's rendition can easily hold its own. In terms of sound, voice, and interpretation, it surpasses the recording made by the composer and Phyllis Curtain (Sept/Oct 2001). Of particular interest to the collector, though, are the rarely heard songs of Duke, Flanagan, and Cumming. Flanagan favors spare textures, an open sound picture. His style has a distinctly American flavor: he certainly doesn't sound like a European. The same can be said for Cumming and Duke. Duke, long-time professor of music at Smith College, writes songs that are more harmonically complex. They reward repeated listening. That so many of these songs remain in manuscript is a bitter commentary on our music publishers. Inviting comparison are the three versions of 'Heart, We Will Forget Him' (Copland, Cumming, and Duke). All are strikingly different, yet all are valid.

Sound is remarkably uniform, given the variety of the sources. The Carpenter songs sound a bit grainy and cramped, while the Flanagan settings are hampered by their LP source, as is the final one derived from the rehearsal tape, which has some audible damage. The rest of the sources sound quite good. The notes, with complete texts, are informative, but there is no producer or engineering information.

BOYER American Record Guide Nov/Dec 2001

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CD contents - Carole Bogard: american songs

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