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Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, August 2008

Liner notes include the lyrics for all eighteen of Carole Farley's studied selections. With all, she is more than ably accompanied by the outstanding John Constable. The justly famous Constable is known world-wide for his versatility, performing abilities on piano and harpsichord as well as for his unique piano accompaniment abilities. …While being quite good, a closer sound perspective while adding a touch of fullness would result in a better promotion of these classic American love songs. Play this recording before looking at the song list. No, you will not recognize all of them nor be able to match them with the shows they came from. Three of them had never been recorded!



Adrian Edwards
Gramophone, October 2007

Singer and accompanist certainly know the full measure of these great songs ; Carole Farley offers an unhackneyed selection of American popular song. In Arlen's case we have a group of songs that testify to his unique blend of the blues and the music of the synagogue. Farley relishes that vocal wail that Arlen builds into the opening line of "When the sun comes out", while her operatic experience makes "I had myself a true love" a natural choice. Of the four composers represented, Arlen touches as most. Arthur Schwartz is the surprise runner-up. Farley projects the romantic notion of "waltzing in the wonder of why we're here" from the song "Dancing in the dark" with clear enunciation and a great sense of just where the song is going. The Gershwin songs are lighter, with several up-tempo numbers.




Warwick Thompson
Classic FM, August 2007

Smokey, jazzy, torchy, tuneful... welcome to the world of classic American love songs, a world where 'years' rhymes with 'tears' and 'magic' with 'tragic'. This collection of 22 bittersweet numbers from the golden age of the Broadway musical has many well-known songs, such as Gershwin's 'Boy! What Love Has Done to Me!' (from Girl Crazy) and 'How Long Has This Been Going On?' (from Rosalie). But it also includes the world premiere recordings of three songs by Gershwin. American soprano Carole Farley is a great communicator with a suitably smokey voice, but sometimes she overphrases. This – and the samey tone of the whole disc – lets it down a little.



Scene Magazine, July 2007

The Golden Age of American songwriting (from 1920 to 1950) yielded some of the most appealing and celebrated love songs of the 20th century. From this embarrassment of riches, the music of George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Harold Arlen and Arthur Schwartz stand as timeless examples of elegance and refinement in the midst of current popular culture. The masterful presentation of their material by vocalist Carole Farley and pianist John Constable on this recording is a treat for seasoned listeners familiar with the four seminal songwriters, and a revelation for the neophyte just hipped to this still vital body of work. The sparse arrangements and enduring melodies evoke visions of darkened, smoke-filled nightclubs, where candlelight wreathed in shadow dances across the walls and a broken heart can be found at the bottom of every bottle.

These are songs which explore love in its multitudinous inflections, whether it is unrequited, romantic or bawdy. A piece like “Isn’t It a Pity” remains a spectacular example of the songwriter’s craft. Sophisticated phrasing comes off simply, with sublime brilliance. The theme of a love stymied by circumstance is perpetually relevant and lyrics like “My nights were sour/Spent with Schopenhauer” are at once amusing and illuminating, bringing dimensions to the characters in the piece which verge on the literary; a truly novel exposition in less than four minutes. This is an excellent collection for summertime listening and a reminder to everyone of how cool love can be.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2007

ARLEN: What's good about goodbye? Last night when we were young. When the sun comes out. It was written in the stars. Right as the rain. I had myself a true love. Fun to be fooled. GERSHWIN: Poppyland. Isn't it a pity?. Love is sweeping the country. Boy! What love has done to me!. How long has this been going on?. Soon. WEILL: Love in a mist. The Romance of a lifetime. Unforgettable. The River is so blue. The picture on the wall. SCHWARTZ: You and the night and the music. Dancing in the Dark. I see your face before me. Something to remember you by. Carole Farley (soprano), John Constable (piano). Naxos 8.559314. (66'11").

In researching the music for this album of 'Classic American Love Songs' Carole Farley discovered three little-known and previously unrecorded songs by Kurt Weill, valuable in themselves and a nice inclusion in a well balanced programme. It takes in the straight protestations of love in such evergreens as You and the night and the music, through to the sadness of parting in Something to remember you by, and those tinted with humour in Isn't it a pity. We immediately recognise the names of Gershwin and Weill, but unless you are deeply interested in this genre, then Harold Arlen will have slipped from our attention. Yet he could be regarded as one of America's finest song writers, and when it comes to the bitter-sweet side of love, there was no one who could tear at your heart with the same effect, as you will find in the opening track, What's good about goodbye? The choice of works admirably suit Farley's voice which is brought down in size from her operatic stage presence to something much more intimate. Seductive at the appropriate points,and with a winsome charm in Dancing in the Dark. Most of the items are well known and oft recorded, Farley's avoidance of a cabaret style placing them artistically at a more elevated level. John Constable's accompaniment is of a similar ilk, suggesting rather than indulging in the jazz aspects, the two working in perfect accord regarding rhythmic nuances. Maybe the recording has not caught every word with perfect clarity, but the booklet contains the texts, and the balance and sound is excellent. Unusual in this type of release, there are some excellent notes on each song. A very highly commended release.






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1:15:32 PM, 1 August 2014
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