Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Susan Graham Performs World Premiere of Ned Rorem’s Newly-Orchestrated Songs for Susan

Featuring Three Brand New Songs – on Tour and at Carnegie Hall (May 11) with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Susan Graham’s recording Songs by Ned Rorem, featuring Malcolm Martineau at the piano, was issued by Erato in 2000, abundantly praised by numerous critics, and nominated for a Gramophone Award for “Best Vocal Recording” of the year. A decade after the recording was made, Rorem has orchestrated some of his songs especially for the popular mezzo. With Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, she will sing world premieres of three brand new Rorem songs as well as premiering eight newly-orchestrated arrangements in a series of concerts culminating at Carnegie Hall on May 11.

One reviewer called the Rorem CD “a marvelous anthology”, praising the way “Graham is constantly attentive to the marriage of music and text … and phrases their little worlds into being with grace and wit. She can shade to a sweet vanishing point or allow her voice to blossom, orchid-like, into a dazzling profusion of colors.”

“I’m thrilled that Orpheus has commissioned orchestrated versions so that we can revisit these jewels in a new way.” - Susan Graham

Time magazine portrayed Rorem as “the world’s best composer of art songs”; to Graham, he is “the godfather of American song, with thoughtful melodies that go straight to the heart.” Graham, herself dubbed “America’s favorite mezzo” by Gramophone magazine, is an avid recitalist and – like Rorem – a keen Francophone and member of France’s distinguished “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”. She enhanced her rich discography with last year’s release Un frisson français: A Century of French Song – 24 songs by 22 composers, ranging from Bizet to Poulenc – which has been widely acclaimed.

“Susan Graham brings her sumptuous voice and sensuous feel for the French language to an appealing assortment of songs ranging from Édouard Lalo’s 1856 ‘Guitare’ to Francis Poulenc’s 1961 mini-cantata, La Dame de Monte-Carlo … . A cohesive recital, without sounding like a repertoire survey class.” - Opera News

In the weeks leading up to the concerts with Orpheus, Susan Graham will have been in Paris and Munich singing the role of Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther; after the Carnegie Hall performance she returns to Europe for a recital tour of – French songs!

Susan Graham: upcoming engagements

May 7
Easton, PA
Overture Hall
Rorem: Songs for Susan
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

May 9
Madison, WI
Williams Center
Rorem: Songs for Susan
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

May 11
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Rorem: Songs for Susan
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

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