MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



AmazonUK AmazonUS

And if the Song be Worth a Smile
William BOLCOM (b.1938)
Four Cabaret Songs (1977-85) [12:40]
Gordon GETTY (b.1933)
Poor Peter (2008) [9:43]
Jake HEGGIE (b.1961)
Four Songs (1994-96) [12:17]
David GARNER (b.1954)
Annettes-Lieder (1986) [14:15]
John CORIGLIANO (b.1938)
Two Cabaret Songs (1997 & 2001) [9:22]
Luna Pearl WOOLF (b.1973)
Odas de Todo el Mundo [10:14]
Lisa Delan (soprano)
Susanne Mentzer (mezzo) (Heggie); Matt Heimovitz (cello) (Heggie, Garner, Woolf); Kristin Pankonin (piano)
rec. Skywalker Sound, San Rafael, California - dates not given.

Experience Classicsonline

This is a nicely programmed, very well performed and very decently recorded production indeed. I’m always a little uncomfortable with the ‘Art Song’ category - not because of the songs, but because of the name. For me, there are good songs and less good songs: art or aria, pop or folk. I can understand how the cultural elite might want to separate ‘high culture’ from ‘low culture’ - as Tom Lehrer said, “the reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they were written by the people.” ‘The People’ on the other hand, probably think most art songs are atrocious because they don’t have any tunes, so we’re back where we started - it all depends what you are looking for. If you want tunes to hum on the way to work or shanties to help you scrub the deck of a ship you won’t find them here, but you will find some highly entertaining music which can tickle the imagination and widen the horizons.

The general atmosphere here is one of more or less wistful nostalgia. If you like the fresh open plains of Aaron Copeland’s more popular orchestral hits then you’ll have something of an idea about many of these songs. Cabaret Songs to me suggest something with a bit more zip however, and indeed, the first of William Bolcom’s set of four, Amor, has a nice jazzy feel. Lisa Delan has a wide expressive range, and almost brings off the jazz idiom without quite being able to abandon her more naturally operatic tones. Songs like Oh Close the Curtain show her to be a very able communicator, from the quite intimacy of the beginning to the variety of colours as the text develops - parental guidance words included. Waitin has the kind of sublime simplicity which American composers do so well, and the last of the four, Toothbrush Time, is like an episode of Friends - the one with the terrible boyfriend. Lisa Delan’s NYC telephone voice is like a buzz-saw - wonderful!

I won’t do a rundown of every song here, but there are some lovely highlights to be savoured. Gordon Getty’s set of three songs Poor Peter is well crafted, with some stamping and clapping in Tune the Fiddle. The disc’s title text appears in the last of the three, The Ballad of Poor Peter, but I found the soloist’s vibrato a bit hard to take at the end of many of the lines in that particular song. Matt Haimovitz’s rich cello tones join for Jake Heggie’s My true-love hath my heart, as well as Susanne Mentzer’s mezzo - a full-on romantic onslaught but a useful change in sonority. Heggie’s work is grounded in tradition, three of the pieces being settings of folk songs: two laden with soulful melancholy, The Leather Winged Bat laden with up-beat misery and ‘Hi-o day-o diddle-o-down’s.

Sung in German but with English translations in the booklet, David Garner’s Annettes-Lieder are small masterpieces, again with an understated cello part supporting the gently undulating piano of Im Grase (In the Meadow), and with rough passion in Am Turme (On the Tower).

John Corigliano’s Dodecaphonia is a witty cabaret song, the tale of a dark gumshoe pursuing ‘Twelve-Tone Rose’ - all the way to post-modern minimalism. Marvellous Invention is another fun narrative, throwing all of your favourite artists into a mirror of all our obsessions with recorded music - there can’t be many songs which rhyme Emanuel Ax with Arnold Bax! The programme ends with the dramatic, high-octane symbolism of Luna Pearl Woolf’s substantial Odes for Everyone on a text by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

All in all, this is a highly commendable release. Lisa Delan’s frequently fruity soprano might not be to everyone’s taste, but she has enough sensitivity and flexibility to make some remarkable and surprising leaps of emotional expression, and the whole this is an entertaining and stimulating recital. The recorded acoustic is on the dry side, and the SACD effect serves to envelop you naturally in sound without too much in the way of spectacular tricks. Kristin Pankonin’s piano playing is highly sympathetic and has plenty of ‘swing’ where required. If you are looking for a one-stop collection of recent top-notch American art songs, this is probably as good a place to go as any.

Dominy Clements



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.