Stopping By

Kyle Bielfield (tenor)/ Lachlan Glen (piano)

DECC A 481 1163

TPT: 71’ 54”

reviewed by Neville Cohn

 

Kyle Bielfield - Stopping By

This is one of the most satisfying CD debuts I can recall in years.

I had not known of Kyle Bielfield’s work as tenor until I listened to this compilation. I’d come

home late at night after a very long day when I found the CD in my mailbox. I thought I’d listen to

a couple of tracks before turning in for a much needed rest. But having a sleep was put on hold for

more than an hour because this was musicmaking far too persuasive to leave over for the morning.

I savoured each minute of this splendid musicmaking.

Kyle Bielfield sings the words as if they really mean something rather than just as a medium for

producing a pleasing sound; he’s a storyteller who draws the listener into the idiosyncratic world

of each song. But there’s more – far more – to these recordings than even this. Australian

accompanist Lachlan Glen reaches for the stars in each miniature, doing wonders in assisting the

singer to establish the unique essence of each art song. These recordings are a model of integrated

musicianship at a very high level.

In a broad sense, American art songs – North American relations to German lieder and the French

chanson – have yet to establish themselves firmly in an international; sense. And what Bielfield

and Glen are doing so persuasively through recordings such as this is to bring American art song to

a wider constituency – and not before time. Michael Samis’ contributions on cello are masterly.

There are established favourites – Copland’s setting of Simple Gifts, Amy Beach’s Autumn Song,

Stephen Foster’s Beautiful Dreamer. But there are also vocal miniatures that deserve to be far, far

better known than they, in fact, are. There are no fewer than three settings of Stopping by Woods

on a Snowy Evening by Samuel Barber, John Duke and Ned Rorem respectively. And with

performances of such insight and skill, there’s every reason to believe these will be taken up by an

international constituency.

Many of these songs were a revelation for me – and in the most positive sense. I hope they are for

you, too.

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