Daniel Neer sings music by Ellen Mandel at the ”Pianos Plus Concert”
New songs to poems by Thomas Hardy, Seamus Heaney, WB Yeats, e.e. cummings, and others, including a World Premiere of Yeats’ sweet “The Cat and the Moon.”
Also on the program: Pianists, Sarah Bob, Marti Epstein, and John McDonald, performing music by Barish, Epstein, McDonald, and Woolf, and an exhibit of works by multi-media artist Chelsea Revelle. REVIEWS:Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR:
A couple of cold, rainy Sunday afternoons ago, I got dragged to a concert in downtown Washington, and stayed enthralled to hear a striking collaboration: the playful poetry of e.e. cummings set to music by New York composer Ellen Mandel and sung beautifully by Cincinnati baritone and actor Todd Almond.
I discovered that there’s a CD of the same program. It’s called a wind has blown the rain away. I wish I could give it to every poetry lover I know, to remind them that spring is coming. And with this music, sooner than later.
MARGO JEFFERSON, New York Times:
That night I heard a composer who was new to me, Ellen Mandel. Her settings of four poems by E. E. Cummings were ardent and spiky with meter and key changes that felt refreshingly organic. Her music lives in that borderland between theater song and classical song, where singers like AudraMcDonald and Dawn Upshaw often dwell. I’d love to hear them sing her work.