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21.7.10

A Swing and a Miss

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Read my review published yesterday on the Washington Post Web site:

Charles T. Downey, Blier's Latin soul lacks pizzazz at Wolf Trap
Washington Post, July 20, 2010

available at Amazon
S. Barber, Complete Songs, C. Studer, T. Hampson, J. Browning,
Emerson String Quartet
Pianist Steven Blier returned to the Barns at Wolf Trap on Sunday afternoon for another recital with some of Wolf Trap Opera Company’s annual crop of young singers. With an encyclopedic knowledge of so many corners of the song repertoire, Blier’s signature is an uncanny fusion of pieces on both sides of the divide between popular and art song. He manages not only to unearth unknown repertoire of surprising appeal but also to combine it with more familiar favorites in ways that create unexpected connections.

How much more disappointing, then, that his latest recital, called “Latin Days, American Nights,” did not live up to those expectations. Most of the program was pleasant enough for summer listening but not much more, either fluffy pablum or harmless fun, depending on your point of view. Not that welcome discoveries were entirely missing, especially two songs by Samuel Barber, whose centenary this year continues to offer opportunities to appreciate his strengths as a songwriter, and others by William Bolcom, Carlos López Buchardo, and Jorge Anckermann. [Continue reading]
Latin Days, American Nights
Steven Blier, piano
Members of Wolf Trap Opera Company
Barns at Wolf Trap

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