by Peter C. Gerdine, Vox in Camera, Albany, New York
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Read notes for Love -- By the Water (1997) for SATB chorus and piano
Another new venue for Janower's stellar singers (No reference to the accompanist!), also a mostly new array of wonderfully fresh, different selections. Only one I recognized from any previous APM concerts was "Banks of the Ohio". This hall is large, high-ceilinged, one might say almost cavernous, & the bright acoustics reflect this kind of open space. It worked for most of the selections, even the quieter ones; however, even the reduced (42 strong) chorus sounded a bit too loud at times, even allowing for the "Ridiculous" or non-serious part of the program.
......And the singers brought it off marvelously well. Ditto for the "Drunken Sailor", especially for the rhythm & narrative flow of the ditty, & "Banks of the Ohio", while not as ineffable as some of the more "sublime" selections on the program, added punch to the concert. No reference here to sound effects! Gwyneth Walker's addition of a last verse — her works have been sung before by APM, not this one however, & are uniformly wonderful — prevents us, in our anguishing for the poor victim, from getting in over our heads!
"Oh no, dear Willie, don't grieve for me, / for I can swim, as you can plainly see! / And I am leaving you today, / I'll do the breast stroke as I swim away! / O she is leaving me today, / she'll do the breast stroke as she swims away".
All in all, a fun evening of music. Mention should be made of the accompanist, Starr Norman, who joined in singing when she wasn't playing.