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Robert Markow
Fanfare, May 2017

Everything I have ever heard by Danielpour has been good, and these works are no exception. There is a Mahlerian weight and darkness to the songs, all of which deal with death, a subject Mahler knew only too well.

Thomas Hampson brings his characteristic intensity of expression and clarity of diction to these performances, …The Nashville Symphony plays well, and the engineering achieves excellent balance between soloist and orchestra. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, March 2017

Songs of Solitude (2002) is a cycle of six poems of Yeats. These songs open with a motto and move through drama, a jazzy drinking song, bells, and a melancholy lullaby, before closing with a return to the opening. Mr Hampson delivers with his usual sympathy and flawless musicality.

War Songs (2008), on poems of Whitman from ‘Drum Taps’ (the Civil War section from Leaves of Grass), were composed in memory of the victims of the Iraq war. The first is a march with an Ivesian quote of ‘The Battle Cry of Freedom’, the second another touching lullaby, the third a moving arioso, and the fourth a questioning lamentation. The set closes with an earlier setting of ‘Come Up from the Fields, Father’ also from Leaves of Grass, a touching lullaby with solo cello documenting the death of a mother’s son, which gives the set a moving close. Again Mr Hampson could not be more touching.

The program avoids ultimate darkness with the early Toward the Splendid City (1992), a sunny, joyful overture maybe a bit too cheerful given the main gist of the program. The composer couldn’t ask for better performances or engineering. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, February 2017

[Richard Danielpour] has the gift and talent for being able to write well; technically proficient, well structured and very accessible for the solo voice and/or chorus.

…we are blessed with the performances of Thomas Hampson and of the ever increasingly amazing Nashville Symphony with Giancarlo Guerrero. © 2017 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, February 2017

The harmonic language is particularly exotic in [the] illustrative and memorable [fourth] movement, which is laced with splashes of dissonance and Middle Eastern-style woodwind roulades. Hampson, both powerful and sensitive, is an eloquent guide through the imagery.

The Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony, under Giancarlo Guerrero, is very impressive, both here and in the song cycles. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, January 2017

[Thomas Hampson’s] amazing versatility is well known and here we can marvel anew at the expressivity and the beauty of his voice. At sixty there are some signs of ageing. A slight wobble on sustained notes can be noticed, in particular in These are the Clouds, but in the face of all his accomplishments this is a small price to pay. Just as in the recent Le nozze di Figaro, recorded only some months later, it is Hampson’s verbal acuity and understanding of the music that leaves the deepest impact. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Andrew Farach-Colton
Gramophone, January 2017

Giancarlo Guerrero is an able accompanist, and the Nashville Symphony play beautifully for him. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Robert Benson, December 2016

Of great interest is the disk of music of Richard Danielpour. Excellent performances throughout, superb audio, and complete texts are provided. © 2016 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2016

This is vivid music, subtle tonal-modern tour de force expressions, the main works heartfelt reactions to two of the most difficult historical periods in the USA.

Performances are exceptionally well-wrought, detailed and strong. The sound is excellent. The music unforgettable.

Very much recommended. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2016

Thomas Hampson’s account of both cycles is highly expressive, and Giancarlo Guerrero allows the voice to move on a bed of sensitive sounds. © 2016 Pizzicato, October 2016

Thomas Hampson…performs the music with just the right blend of evenness and emotional intensity, and the effect of the final and longest song, Come Up from the Fields Father, which lasts half the length of the whole cycle, is especially affecting here. The accompaniment by the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero is nuanced and subtle throughout, fitting the music very well indeed. Hampson and Guerrero are also well-teamed for Songs of Solitude… © 2016 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2016

Richard Danielpour belongs to the growing number of American composers who are re-establishing links with audiences that have grown tired of experimental music. He studied composition with Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin, though their style of writing has had little influence on his world of music, as you will hear in two works from the present century. Written for the famous American baritone, Thomas Hampson, and completed in 2002, the Songs of Solitude often owe something to Copland; a great deal to Bernstein the the jazzy third movement, and even more to Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes for the fourth movement soliloquy. Bring those diverse styles together and then add words of William Butler Yeats, and we have a very potent score. Six years later, and to words by Walt Whitman, he created War Songs, originally for baritone, viola and piano, part of the score later orchestrated and first heard in 2015 with the performers on this disc. Using five very different poems, a death march opens Hush’d be the Camps To-day before we pass through the peace of Reconciliation, and then come face to face with death and the sadness of those left to grieve in Come Up From the Fields Father. Hampson’s performance remind me of his poignant recording of Britten’s opera, Billy Budd, his use of words so clearly articulated. In a complete change of mood, we have a 1992 picture of New York City in Toward the Splendid City. Relating the hurly-burly of life, and driven forward by the regularity of rhythms, it is strongly related to a concert overture. Throughout the disc, the Nashville orchestra and their conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, are persuasive advocates, and are excellently balanced in their sonically outstanding concert hall. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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