Canadian Art Song Project has just issued its second CD; Cloud Light. It’s a collection of four contrasting works by Polish-Canadian composer Norbert Palej. The first, Three Norwegian Songs (2011) was composed for baritone Peter McGillivray, who sings them here. The settings are of English translations of Norwegian texts. Maybe it’s because the texts are translations or maybe because this seems the most American/Broadway inflected piece on the disk I found it the least effective but, as we shall see, it has serious competition. In any event Peter sings it very well even when it goes cruelly high. Continue reading
Last night was the third memorial concert for Elizabeth Krehm in support of the ICU at St. Mike’s. This year the piece was Mahler’s Symphony No.2 appropriately enough. It’s a piece I’ve lived with for a very long time and it never fails to move. It’s a curious contrast with the Fourth which we heard at the symphony last week. If 4 gives a naive and optimistic view of the afterlife, 2 is much darker, more troubled and less certain. Even the very beautiful Urlicht is not without its sense of angst and the final movement is majestic, powerful and has the deepest possible sense of yearning.