(2005) Knoxville: Summer Of 1915

Dawn Upshaw

... read moreThis 1989 Nonesuch release has been highly acclaimed, including a position on the Honor Roll of the Stevenson Compact Disc Review Guide (rave reviews from at least four separate sources). It is also one of the best introductions to soprano Dawn Upshaw, one of America's most outstanding recital...

42′:46″ 9 Songs

1
Knoxville: Summer Of 1915
Dawn Upshaw
15:20
2
What A Curse For A Woman Is A Timid Man
Dawn Upshaw
4:13
3
Mirabai Songs: I. It's True, I Went To The Market
Dawn Upshaw
2:41
4
Mirabai Songs: Ii. All I Was Doing Was Breathe
Dawn Upshaw
2:46
5
Mirabai Songs: Iii. Why Mira Can't Go Back To Her Old House
Dawn Upshaw
2:03
6
Mirabai Songs: Iv. Where Did You Go?
Dawn Upshaw
1:57
7
Mirabai Songs: V. Clouds
Dawn Upshaw
2:52
8
Mirabai Songs: Vi. Don't Go, Don't Go
Dawn Upshaw
3:35
9
No Word From Tom
Dawn Upshaw
7:19
Released 13 September 2005, 2005 Nonesuch Records. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing

Review

This 1989 Nonesuch release has been highly acclaimed, including a position on the Honor Roll of the Stevenson Compact Disc Review Guide (rave reviews from at least four separate sources). It is also one of the best introductions to soprano Dawn Upshaw, one of America's most outstanding recital singers. One of the best extended song works in American vocal literature is Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a setting of a prose poem by James Agee from A Death in the Family. This romantic vocal work of 1947 (revised 1950) for a long time was closely associated with Leontyne Price's rich voice, but Dawn Upshaw equals Price's classic performance in her quite different soprano sound in a performance of more nostalgia, if less overt drama. Comparison of the two fine sopranos' ways with this masterpiece is fascinating. The other major work is John Harbison's Mirabai Songs (1982). The work is for soprano and eight instrumental players and the texts are Robert Bly's translations of poetry of the remarkable sixteenth-century Hindi poetess who refused immolation after her husband was killed in battle and was consequently ostracized, supporting herself with her poems, songs, and dancing. The music has an exoticism befitting its source and is sung with passion and belief by Upshaw. Again, her disc competition is highly worthy: the premiere recording by Janice Felty on a Northeastern disc devoted to music by Harbison (also a Stevenson Honor Roll disc). Both performances are highly worthy--Felty's a bit more sensuous, Upshaw's more spiritual--and choice should depend on availability and the other music being offered with it. Two opera arias (from Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress) round out the disc and are also very well done. Excellent sound by engineer John Newton.