Philip Lasser: In Colors of Feelings – Les Visages de l’amour – Nicolette et Aucassin
Elizabeth Futral, Susanna Phillips (sopranos), Margo Garrett (piano), Michael York (narrator)
Recorded in Recital Hall, Suny Purchase (December 2011) – 68’29
DELOS Cat. #: DE 3428 – Booklet in English with original French lyrics and their English translation
In this new and lyrically attractive recording, composer Philip Lasser explores the distant path and the unknown present in songs.
The CD features three new vocal works with assured, soulful and deeply musical performances from sopranos Elizabeth Futral and Susanna Phillips, and pianist Margo Garrett.
The music combines the virtues of French musical culture: clarity, grace, and lyricism with idiomatic, American blues that gives an earthy tone to these compositions.
The three sets of songs span across both continents and epochs: Les Visages de l’amour gathers six love poems by various French poets: Gérard de Nerval, Verlaine, and Louise de Vilmorin; the dramatic Nicolette et Aucassin revives a Medieval fable; and In Colors of Feelings is based on American poet Wynelle Ann Carson (1959-1996).
Sopranos Elizabeth Futral and Susanna Phillips, each with her own subtlety, bring vibrant warmth to Lasser’s music. Their French enunciation, however, is mostly unintelligible. Accompanied by pianist Margo Garrett, the musical performance is soulful, voluptuous at times, and deeply heartfelt. Narration by Michael York in Nicolette et Aucassin, in spite of his warm and intimate voice, is lengthy (14 out the 33 minutes of the piece), somewhat distractive and does not add much to an otherwise interesting recording.