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A Song for Anything - Songs by Charles Ives / Finley, Drake

Album Summary

>Ives, Charles : Feldeisamkeit
>Ives, Charles : The Things our Fathers Loved
>Ives, Charles : Memories
>Ives, Charles : The Housatonic at Stockbridge
>Ives, Charles : Swimmers
>Ives, Charles : The Cage
>Ives, Charles : The Greatest Man
>Ives, Charles : General William Booth Enters into HEaven
>Ives, Charles : Remembrance
>Ives, Charles : Berceuse
>Ives, Charles : West London
>Ives, Charles : Tom Sails Away
>Ives, Charles : When stars are in the quiet skies, song for voice & piano, S. 389 (K. 6B13)
>Ives, Charles : Eyes so Dark
>Ives, Charles : Ich grolle nicht
>Ives, Charles : The Old Mother
>Ives, Charles : Where the eagle cannot see, song for voice & piano, S. 390 (K. 6B42b)
>Ives, Charles : Walking, song for voice & piano, S. 383 (K. 6B40)
>Ives, Charles : Yellow Leaves, song for voice & piano, S. 399
>Ives, Charles : The Side-show
>Ives, Charles : Elegie
>Ives, Charles : The New River, song for voice & piano, S. 308 (K. 6B49)
>Ives, Charles : Like a Sick Eagle
>Ives, Charles : Ann Street
>Ives, Charles : Slugging a Vampire, song for voice & piano, S. 350 (K. 6B40c)
>Ives, Charles : Thoreau
>Ives, Charles : Serenity
>Ives, Charles : Tolerance, song for voice & piano, S. 377 (K. 6B45e)
>Ives, Charles : Charlie Rutlage
>Ives, Charles : One, Two, Three
>Ives, Charles : A Song--For Anything, song for voice & piano, S. 355 (K. 6B14)
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"This is far and away the best program of Ives songs currently available, 31 of them, lasting slightly more than 70 minutes. Most of them come from the monumental collection of 114 Songs that Ives published himself, but there are selections from other sources as well. Ives was a fabulous song-writer, one who really did re-imagine what a song could be, but at the same time one who never lost touch with the need to use every means at his disposal to make the text musically vivid. The program opens with his lovely setting of Feldeinsamkeit, one of four German songs included here--so different from Brahms', but equally valid. The other three are Ich grolle nicht, Du alte Mutter, and Weil' auf mir, all revealing a thorough familiarity with the Lied tradition and its conventions.

Baritone Gerald Finley happily doesn't shy away from some of Ives' thornier material. He offers a stunningly characterized General William Booth Enters Into Heaven, one of the very greatest of the songs, and his attack on Swimmers has all of Fischer-Dieskau's gusto with none of his tendency to bark. Accompanist Julius Drake is splendid here, as he is with all of the often virtuosic accompaniments. Some of the most popular songs, such as Memories, Like a Sick Eagle, Ann Street, and The Housatonic at Stockbridge, appear on other collections pretty regularly, but Finley manages to personalize them all.

Perhaps most memorable is Charlie Rutledge, where Finley's lazy, not-very-precise Texas drawl really does capture the strangeness of this tragicomic, off-kilter narrative, and kudos to Drake for including his own raucous vocal part (in the score, but almost never performed) during the roundup episode, just before poor Charlie meets his maker to the pulverizing sounds of perfectly timed fists pounding down on the keyboard. Finley also gives a deeply moving performance of Thoreau, a song extracted from the Concord Sonata--and several other pieces (Walking, When Stars are in the Quiet Skies, The New River, Tolerance, and the very last, A Song -- For Anything) will be new to many listeners. The sonics are ideally balanced, warm, and tangible. An Ives song program offers such a challenging mix of styles that very few singers capture their full range of expression. Finley does, and then some." -Classics Today

'... outstanding. Gerald Finley has a voice of great beauty, but it's always under the control of his penetrating intelligence: he risks bending pitches for expressive effect, and he adapts his golden timbre and almost English diction to the childlike tones of The Greatest Man and the cowboy drawl of Charlie Rutlage. Julius Drake is an equally versatile pianist, adept alike in simplicity and complexity ... Overall, a disc offering sustained illumination and enjoyment' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Baritone Gerald Finley combines a glorious sound with great dramatic instinct. At the climax of General William Booth Enters Heaven, you feel he's holding nothing back. But his voice has an exquisite lightness too, and the moments of lyrical ecstasy are beautifully handled. With some great accompanying from Julius Drake, it's a disc crammed with colour and variety' (Metro)

'Gerald Finley's magnificent, burnished baritone is the ideal instrument for the generous selection presented here ... The Canadian baritone's superb diction in three languages is an especial pleasure. A triumph' (The Sunday Times)

'I cannot praise Gerald Finley's performance too highly. It takes a very special artist to bring such unembarrassed fervour to General Booth Enters into Heaven and to encompass all its extraordinary changes of mood. What a contrast with the intimate and poetic setting of his own words in Berceuse and the magical Tom Sails Away. The whole disc is a revelation of beauty and owes much to Julius Drake's equally perceptive playing of the piano accompaniments' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'Gerald Finley and Julius Drake flourish in Ives's complex, often contradictory, never dull musical world. Listen to Swimmers and the extraordinary General William Booth, and I swear you'll be hooked' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Finley is always essentially a singer - his tone and command of the singing line are a pleasure in themselves. But he also has the absolute mastery of the composer's idioms and, with Julius Drake, his fearless and totally committed pianist, the technical, virtuosic skills to realise his intentions with (amid all the quirks) complete conviction of naturalness' (Gramophone)

'Gerald Finley and his accompanist Julius Drake are fully able to convey the expressive range of these songs ... Finley brings an refreshing refinement to many of these songs, and always cleans his boots thoroughly after tramping around in the great Ivesian outdoors' (International Record Review)

'This range calls for a voice of great flexibility, which Finley exhibits in singing that at will can be wickedly humorous, touchingly heartfelt or transcendentally awed. Julius Drake is an ever resourceful accompanist, matching Finley's ability to span Ives's breadth from Victorian ballad style to polytonal modernism' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Listening to this disc is like walking into the perfect bookshop; with reams and reams of unusual volumes to leaf through at leisure, and no one to disturb you ... Finley's singing is communicative, assured and colourful, Drake's playing neat and proper. Absolutely brilliant' (Independent on Sunday)

'Gerald Finley, Julius Drake, and Hyperion here give us the best-ever male-voice selection from one of the most astonishing volumes in vocal history ... We ordinary citizens have the right to hear the whole Ives songbook, from these artists. So don't stop now, Hyperion' (Fanfare, USA)

'Ives, an insurance man for whom composing was an avocation, deserves wider recognition as one of the art-song greats. It's flawless, arresting performances like Finley's - and his supremely elegant accompanist, pianist Julius Drake - that will help make this happen' (Toronto Star)

'the perfect match of singer to song' (The Financial Times)

'Gerald Finley's ebony-rich voice and lively imagination gets a workout in this wide-ranging program ... Finley is superb throughout, with alert support from Julius Drake' (Time Out, New York)

'Brilliantly sung by Canadian baritone Gerald Finley, it has become the gold standard by which all future recordings of these pieces will be measured. Finley meets the daunting vocal and dramatic challenges with total commitment and superb musicianship' (La Scene Musicale, Canada)

'As the program unfolds, there's always what you're not expecting next - moments of piety or exultation, sarcasm or simple grief. When you're done, you've heard one of the most stimulating and provocative of song recitals, as well as one of the most varied and difficult' (Opera News, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
These songs, drawn from Ives's 200, can encourage at one extreme a rough declamatory style and at the other an almost voiceless intimacy.

Without in any way underplaying, Finlay is always essentially a singer - his tone and command of the singing line are a pleasure in themselves. But he also has the absolute mastery of the composer's idioms and, with Julius Drake, his fearless and totally committed pianist, the technical, virtuosic skills to realise his intentions with (amid all the quirks) complete conviction of naturalness. This is a selection that very satisfactorily balances early and late, rumbustious and contemplative.

Several of the early German settings are included, always beautiful and always develop- ing with some touch that is entirely personal. Of a quite distinctive beauty are those like Remembrance, Berceuse, and The Housatonic at Stockbridge where voice and piano work a dreamy, misty spell. And still more characteristic are the settings of his own verses evoking memories of childhood. The 'character' songs (such as Charlie Rutlage) and the 'big' numbers (GeneralWilliam Booth Enters into Heaven) become less prominent than they commonly seem in a recital group where they are programmed as an effective tour de force. The total impression is of an astonishing individuality and, more importantly, of a completely honest, dauntless and increasingly to be valued musical identity.



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Works Details

>Ives, Charles : Feldeisamkeit
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1898

>Ives, Charles : The Things our Fathers Loved
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1917

>Ives, Charles : Memories
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1897

>Ives, Charles : The Housatonic at Stockbridge
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: by 1914

>Ives, Charles : Swimmers
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915

>Ives, Charles : The Cage
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1906

>Ives, Charles : The Greatest Man
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : General William Booth Enters into HEaven
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1914

>Ives, Charles : Remembrance
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : Berceuse
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1903

>Ives, Charles : West London
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : Tom Sails Away
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1917

>Ives, Charles : When stars are in the quiet skies, song for voice & piano, S. 389 (K. 6B13)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1898

>Ives, Charles : Eyes so Dark
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1902

>Ives, Charles : Ich grolle nicht
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1898

>Ives, Charles : The Old Mother
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1900

>Ives, Charles : Where the eagle cannot see, song for voice & piano, S. 390 (K. 6B42b)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1906

>Ives, Charles : Walking, song for voice & piano, S. 383 (K. 6B40)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1900

>Ives, Charles : Yellow Leaves, song for voice & piano, S. 399
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 10/1923

>Ives, Charles : The Side-show
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : Elegie
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1901

>Ives, Charles : The New River, song for voice & piano, S. 308 (K. 6B49)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : Like a Sick Eagle
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1920

>Ives, Charles : Ann Street
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : Slugging a Vampire, song for voice & piano, S. 350 (K. 6B40c)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1902

>Ives, Charles : Thoreau
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915

>Ives, Charles : Serenity
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1919

>Ives, Charles : Tolerance, song for voice & piano, S. 377 (K. 6B45e)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1913

>Ives, Charles : Charlie Rutlage
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1920-1921

>Ives, Charles : One, Two, Three
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Ives, Charles : A Song--For Anything, song for voice & piano, S. 355 (K. 6B14)
  • Performers: Julius Drake (Piano); Gerald Finley
  • Notes: All Saints Church, East Finchley, London, England (11/10/2004-11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1892