Songs of Love and Justice
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The first volume in a series of songs by noted composer Adolphus Hailstork is performed by Louise Toppin and colleagues.

Adolphus Hailstork's interest in the voice dates back to childhood, when he became a member of a boys' cathedral choir in Albany, New York. This recording of his songs is the first volume of a series and includes his first set of songs, Lollipops, written in 1959. Hailstork utilizes a variety of styles in his song writing, changing style to suit the texts. Soprano Louise Toppin has received acclaim for her performances throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Her discography includes 17 recordings of music by American composers. A professor of voice at the University of Michigan, Ms. Toppin is director of the George Shirley Vocal Competition and the non-profit organization, Videmus. Her collaborators include pianist John O'Brien, harpist Lydia Cleaver, double bassist Rick Robinson, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Julius P. Williams, conductor.
Contents:
Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Songs of Love and Justice
Louise Toppin (soprano); Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Julius P. Williams (conductor)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Preach the Word
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Lollipops
Louise Toppin (soprano); Lydia Cleaver (harp)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Song (for Sandra Fox)
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
A Charm at Parting
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
I've Seen the Day
Louise Toppin (soprano); Rick Robinson (double bass)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Tell Me Trees What Are You Whispering?
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Thou Art the Soul of a Summer's Day
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Loveliest of Trees
Louise Toppin (soprano); Lydia Cleaver (harp)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Go Now to your dwelling place
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Adolphus Hailstork, composer
Sunset and Night
Louise Toppin (soprano); John O'Brien (piano)

Review:
The composer Adophus Hailstork has always had an inclination toward singing, which goes back to his time in a choir as a child, and here Louise Toppin provides her inestimable pipes and John O’Brien brings his piano prowess to compositions that go back to 1959. The title track starts the listen with soaring, expressive singing alongside the intricate and dreamy strings from the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and “Preach The Word (Cycle)” follows with O’Brien’s warm piano alongside the emotive pipes. In the middle, “Song (For Sandra Fox)” illustrates Toppins’ diverse range as much intimacy is explored, while “A Charm At Parting” moves with a profound grace that pairs the sublime keys with gorgeous vocal work. “Tell Me Trees What Are You Whispering?”, the album’s best, then flows with bare beauty as well as more firm moments of agile piano leave the listener hanging on every note. The trees theme continues with “Loveliest Of Trees”, where intricate harp playing by Lydia Cleaver complements the bright singing, and “Sunset And Night” meshes Toppins’ soprano and O’Brien’s proficient piano playing with a timeless and accomplished execution. The first installment in a series, Toppin and O’Brien, along with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Julius P. Williams, make for a very alluring 65 minutes, as they certainly do justice to Hailstork’s exceptional work. (Take Effect)
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