T. Andres, Shy and Mighty, T. Andres and D. Kaplan (2010)
G. Kahane, Where Are the Arms? (2011)
Kahane should be headlining a piano bar somewhere, the right kind of forum for his songwriting gifts. The excerpts from his Craigslistlieder were hilarious, the texts of personal ads fitted to equally ephemeral pop gestures in songs of great appeal. The same qualities were evident in other songs of a slightly more serious nature -- Merritt Parkway, North Adams, and Side Streets -- but this just does not feel like the sort of music that requires focused listening in silence. It is a special talent to be able to accompany oneself at the piano, but little about Kahane's performances of other music was extraordinary. The comparison is perhaps not fair, but we heard the four-hands arrangements of Bach included here, by György Kurtág, played with exceptional beauty by the Kurtágs themselves a few years ago. Kahane received his first musical training as a child chorister (he still had a pretty good boy treble hoot in Andrew Norman's Don't Even Listen), but he required a microphone even in the relatively small space of the Library's auditorium. His voice was a little rough and unsatisfactory for Benjamin Britten's gorgeous folk song arrangements from the 1940s and for a set of Ives songs.
Anne Midgette, Gabriel Kahane makes classical music jaunty, and, happily, no one seems to mind (Washington Post, April 8)
---, Gabriel Kahane, a genre bender musician (Washington Post, March 30)
Zachary Woolfe, Gabriel Kahane Is a One-Man Cultural Cuisinart (New York Times, April 27, 2012
The Library of Congress has an otherwise remarkable month in store, with concerts by harpsichordist Christophe Rousset (April 13), Stile Antico (April 17), and the Keller Quartet (April 18).