Songs of John Alden Carpenter
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Melodic, nostalgic songs with an American flavor.

By the time of the great emergence of the recording industry in the 1930's, John Alden Carpenter's exquisite songs, which had enjoyed such widespread acclaim in the 1910's and 1920's, had begun to lose favor. Even to this day, very few of these songs, most of which date from the early 1910's, have found their way into the recording studio. All the more reason, then, to welcome this recording by Robert Osborne and Dennis Helmrich of nearly all of Carpenter's mature songs. This includes some, mostly from Carpenter's later years, that the composer never even published. (Only someone as unsparingly scrupulous as Carpenter would think twice about bringing out the likes of "Spring Joys," "Midnight Nan," or "The Hermit Club.") Carpenter's choice of texts - from Wilde and Yeats to Tagore and Li Po, from Langston Hughes and James Agee to a few minor poets now forgotten, but still contemporaries of quality - reveals an astonishing sensitivity toward new poetic trends. (It helped that he lived in the Chicago of Harriet Moore's Poetry and Margaret Anderson's Little Review.) Complimenting this refined literary sensibility one finds a highly sophisticated command of harmony and counterpoint, though the music always serves, never overwhelms the poetic idea, somewhat in the tradition of Debussy, whose songs clearly made a deep impression. For all their delicacy, many of Carpenter's songs show a pronounced and rather melancholy preoccupation with loneliness and death, but faced with extraordinary calm and restraint. Even the love songs and humorous songs have a certain wistfulness, a bittersweet quality that is pure Carpenter. Complete texts.
Contents:
John Alden Carpenter, composer
Go, Lovely Rose
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
The Green River
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Looking-Glass River
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Five Paul Verlaine Settings
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Two William Blake Settings
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Bid Me to Live
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Les Silhouettes
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
To One Unknown
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
The Day is no more
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
The Player Queen
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Four Settings of Ancient Chinese Poetry
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Two Night Songs
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
The Little Turtle
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Four Langston Hughes Settings
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
The Hermit Crab
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

John Alden Carpenter, composer
Two Mireille Havet Settings
Robert Osborne, bass-baritone, Dennis Helmrich, piano

Review:
"The songs of John Alden Carpenter... reflect the man: elegant and sophisticated." (Fanfare)
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