Monica Harte, soprano
Long Island Songs
songs by George Brunner, Tom Cipullo, Christian Mcleer, and Anne Dinsmore Phillips
- Long Island Songs by Tom Cipullo
- Three Japanese Songs by George Brunner
- See the Lilies of the Field by Anne Dinsmore Phillips
- In Remembrance of Me by Anne Dinsmore Phillips
- Why Faith Abides by Anne Dinsmore Phillips
- No Bird Soars too High by Anne Dinsmore Phillips
- Three Light Pieces by Christian McLeer
- Longing Eternal Bliss by Christian McLeer
Monica Harte brings her bright clarion voice to several short song cycles on this MSR disc. Tom Cipullo’s Long Island Songs maintain a solid harmonic palette by using plenty of textural changes that keep the collection sounding fresh. The serious “Invocation” is followed by a rigorous and busy “The Odor of Pear.” The third song, “The Nesconset of Crickets” is sparse and brief, leading seamlessly into the more traditionally narrative “The Crane at Gibb’s Pond.”
Three Japanese Songs by George Brunner are wonderfully small gems of text setting and mood creation. The melodic line floats and twists in the air over extremely spartan piano touches. Most of the piano writing is monophonic, working in counterpoint with the featured melodic line. The longest of the three is still under two minutes long but each does such a fantastic job of capturing the poetry that I am never left wanting. This is the only piece in which the composer is not the pianist; Noby Ishida does much with the understated part.
Christian McLeer’s two collections are charming and lyrical. Harmonies can be very straightforward or a bit more intriguing and he carefully balances the textures of his accompaniment to not interfere with the vocal line. The four songs by Anne Dinsmore Phillips are much more conservative in taste. The voice sings a melody, the piano accompanies with traditional harmonies. There are few surprises in either melody or harmony and they left me with the impression that I’d heard them before but they don’t leave a lasting impression.