Classical Voice America – Robust Americana: Hampson Explores Chicago Art Song

Classical Voice America

By Paul E. Robinson

Songs From Chicago. Music by Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton. Thomas Hampson, baritone. Kuang-Hao Huang, piano. Cedille CDR 90000 180. Total Time: 60:31.

At the age of 63, the great American baritone Thomas Hampson shows no sign of slowing down, nor does he give any indication that he has lost interest in musical exploration, having recently taken on, to stellar reviews, the lead role in the controversial new opera Hadrian by Rufus Wainwright premiered in Toronto by the Canadian Opera Company.

In this new Cedille recording, Songs From Chicago, Hampson turns his attention to mostly unfamiliar songs by composers who lived in Chicago at one time or another, giving magnificent voice to music that is exceptionally thoughtful and beautiful.

Although there are five composers represented on this new CD, nine of the 23 songs are by one man, John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951), who in 1906 had the distinction of being one of the few composition students of Edward Elgar in Rome. Carpenter lived most of his life in Chicago, earning his living not in music but in business, as vice-president of the family ship supply business for 27 years.

Read the rest of this review via Classical Voice America.