Song Of America: Beyond Liberty
“At the University of Arizona’s Centennial Hall on January 28, 2020, the Tucson Desert Song Festival presented Thomas Hampson, baritone, with Lara Downes, piano, and the Beyond Liberty Players.
Hampson sang Stephen Foster’s Beautiful Dreamer to Lara Downes’ piano tones augmented by violin, cello and clarinet, finishing with a particularly graceful high falsetto note. The singer then introduced the traditional Shenandoah, thought to concern a fur trader’s farewell to his Native American lover. He sang it with crisp diction and vocal colors that hinted at sadness, indicating the couple might never meet again. Hampson spoke of Arthur Farwell who composed songs based on Native American melodies in the early 20th century. He sang Farwell’s Song of the Deathless Voice with excellent breath control as his ensemble played with many-colored sounds.”