Gregg Kallor -
'Go to the top of the class.'
In October 2008, at the Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo, New York City pianist/composer Gregg Kallor and mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala celebrated the release of their new album, Exhilaration, in a recital to support homeless New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS (www.songsworkshop.com/site/)
Commenting on Kallor's compositions, American Record Guide observes, they 'are as touching, lilting, and vulnerable as the poems he sets'.
And Opera News says 'Kallor knows how to make these words sing, and Zabala gives (them) perfect flight'.
The present album takes its name from Kallor's song-cycle of poems by Emily Dickinson, selected as the runner-up in the 2008 American Art Song Competition.
The first and last of Dickinson's chosen nine lyrics both begin with the word 'Exhilaration', ie :
Exhilaration is the Breeze
That lifts us from the Ground
And leaves us in another place
Whose statement is not found --
Exhilaration -- is within --
There can no Outer Wine
So royally intoxicate
As that diviner Brand
Emily Dickinson's deeply considered verse is set to immediately striking tonal music, much of it notable for its beauty, though a few brief passages are apt to border on the histrionic. Nonetheless, to his credit, Kallor has created a satisfying unity of vision, truly alive to the poetesses' subtleties while effectively cementing the nine song cycle together...
Copyright © 15 February 2010
Masterton, New Zealand
CD INFORMATION: EXHILARATION