Maureen Forrester - From Kern to Sondheim
From Kern to Sondheim
By Maureen Forrester
Very ++ Good Condition.
Miss Forrester (1930-2010) was that rarity a true contralto and, equally rare, like Jon Vickers a proud Canadian artist who early on achieved international fame in opera, concert and recordings through Bruno Walter's sponsorship. Her discography is fortuitously lengthy, including Bach, Gluck, Beethoven and Mahler, but Forrester was a down-to-earth personality who too seldom ventured into lighter repertoire. This studio recital, taped in Toronto in March 1987, is invaluable for preserving Miss Forrester's late-career artistry--and through that artistry elevating familiar Broadway standards to art-song and (Canadian) concert platform levels.
That is to say, Forrester sings them "straight," without any showbiz mannerisms, so the composers and lyricists are exceptionally well served. The Irving Berlin numbers, "What'll I do?" and "They say it's wonderful," are especially fine in the singer's matronly but not stuffy contralto, so too the very demanding Kern masterpieces "All the things you are" and "The song is you." Forrester never really swings on the platform (although "Falling in love with love" is swoopingly lilting), but she does evidently relish the challenge of minor-key and blues melodies in "Alone together" and "Come rain or come shine." Connoisseurs will gravitate to these choicest tracks, while casual listeners won't be disappointed by the more accessible Rodgers and Sondheim warhorses. Miss Forrester's piano accompanist is ragtime modernist John Arpin, long a fixture on the Toronto music scene. He creates a big resonance at the keyboard to match the diva's hefty, and very beautiful, instrument.
01 Rodgers & Hart: Falling In Love With You [3:29];
02 Berlin: What'll I Do? [4:31];
03 Kern & Hammerstein: All The Things You Are [4:33];
04 Gershwin & DeSylva: Do It Again [5:02];
05 Porter: Easy To Love [3:32];
06 Dietz & Schwatz: Alone Together [5:52];
07 Kern & Hammerstein: The Song Is You [4:07];
08 Arlen & Mercer: Come Rain Or Come Shine [3:48];
09 Berlin: They Say It's Wonderful [3:53];
10 Porter: So In Love [4:27];
11 Rodgers & Hammerstein: Hello, Young Lovers [4:11];
12 Rodgers & Hammerstein: If I Loved You [4:49];
13 Herman: And I Was Beautiful [4:33];
14 Sondheim: Send In The Clowns [3:39]