Songs from Chicago


Thomas Hampson, America’s leading baritone and a champion of the art of classic song — poetry set to music — makes his Cedille Records debut with a program of songs by five composers of the early 20th century associated with the city of Chicago: Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton. All of them, Hampson says, “have distinguished themselves in history as great voices of the artistic American narrative.”

Hailed as “an outstanding recitalist” by Grove Music Online, the much-honored international opera star, recording artist, and “ambassador of song” performs compositions based on poems by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet who became the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Hampson, whose discography includes more than 170 albums, including Grammy and Grand Prix de Disque award winners, is accompanied on Songs from Chicago by collaborative pianist extraordinaire Kuang-Hao Huang, accompanist of choice for Chicago’s top singers and instrumentalists.

The New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Residence, Hampson also has been honored with a Concertgebouw Prize, Library of Congress Living Legends Award, and the Hugo-Wolf-Medal for outstanding achievements in the art of song interpretation, among many other awards.

Thomas Hampson, baritone
Kuang-Hao Huang, piano

Available September 14, 2018

Read the booklet here.

Track listing:

Ernst Bacon (1898–1990) – Poems by Walt Whitman

1 Lingering Last Drops (1:34)

2 World Take Good Notice (0:54)

3 The Last Invocation (2:02)

4 On the Frontiers (3:42)

5 The Divine Ship (2:00)

6 Darest thou Now, O Soul (3:59)

7 Grand Is the Seen (2:30)

Florence Price (1888–1953) – Poems by Langston Hughes

8 Song To The Dark Virgin (1:55)

9 My Dream (2:02)

John Alden Carpenter (1876–1951) – from Four Negro Songs, poems by Langston Hughes

10 Shake your brown feet, honey (2:03)

11 The Cryin’ Blues (2:19)

12 Jazz-Boys (1:11)

Margaret Bonds (1913–1972) – Three Dream Portraits, poems by Langston Hughes

13 Minstrel Man (1:38)

14 Dream Variation (1:41)

15 I, Too (1:39)

Margaret Bonds (1913–1972) – poem by Langston Hughes

16 The Negro Speaks of Rivers (3:51)

Louis Campbell-Tipton (1877–1921) – poem by Walt Whitman

17 Elegy (2:42)

John Alden Carpenter (1876–1951) – Gitanjali, poems by Rabindranath Tagore

18 Credo (reading) (0:59)

19 When I bring to you colour’d toys (2:21)

20 On the day when death will knock at thy door (3:00)

21 The Sleep that flits on Baby’s Eyes (2:25)

22 I am like a Remnant of a Cloud of Autumn (4:25)

23 On the Seashore of Endless Worlds (5:28)

24 Light, My Light (2:18)

25 Epilogue (reading) (0:24)


Critical Acclaim

“Throughout, Hampson sings with his trademark warmth and intelligence. . . . He’s aided in the whole endeavor by Kuang-Hao Huang, who executes the piano accompaniments with color and character.”

The Arts Fuse

“It goes without saying that Hampson’s singing is gorgeous, and he is ably backed by Chicago pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. An excellent slice of little-known American art song.”

All Music

“Hampson’s rich voice and careful attention to pronouncing the words clearly without ever appearing to declaim or lose the sense of poetry produce performances that will captivate and enchant listeners whose musical taste runs to art songs – with or without a connection to any particular time period or geographical location.”

“The best of new albums recently released by classical singers is Thomas Hampson’s “Songs from Chicago,” on Cedille Records, an unusual label that records only Chicago composers.

Hampson is America’s leading baritone and is not only a star of opera but also a dedicated singer and scholar of art songs. Here, with Kuang-Hao Huang on piano, he performs songs by five composers of the early 20th century associated with the city of Chicago: Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton…

As always, Hampson’s singing is beautiful and his enunciation flawless.”

Epoch Times

“Both Hampson and Cedille Records are to be commended for bringing these historic treasures to light.”

Black Grooves

“Thomas Hampson stammt selbst zwar nicht aus Chicago, aber als Amerikaner ist er auf diesem Album natürlich voll in seinem Element. Er zeigt sich stimmlich in absoluter Höchstform und verblüfft immer wieder durch seine enorme Spannweite – manchmal könnte er fast als lyrischer Tenor durchgehen, anderswo schöpft er mühelos auch die tiefen Register eines Baritons aus.

Dabei bleibt er stets “geschmeidig”, wie es so schön heißt: völlig unangestrengt und angemessen lässig, aber trotzdem immer völlig fokussiert, präsentiert er auch die kniffligsten Passagen.”


“With pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, Mr. Hampson offers an eloquent, supple performance of two of Price’s settings of Hughes poems: the soaring and bittersweet “Songs to the Dark Virgin,” and “My Dream,” a lilting waltz that envisions a more carefree existence, freed from racial prejudice.”

Wall Street Journal

“It is always a pleasure to hear this remarkable voice from such an incredible artist. Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang proves himself equally enthusiastic with his perceptive pianism.”

Audiophile Audition

“This is a fine collection of nearly-forgotten Americana, and the performances by Hampson and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang could hardly be better. The baritone is a tireless champion of American song through recordings such as this one and through the Hampsong Foundation which he created in 2003.”

Classical Voice America