Thomas Hampson's American Song, Part One: The Journey Begins
August 14, 2009
St. Paul, Minn. —
Part of what makes a virtuoso soloist so great is his connection to the music he makes. How does the music make him feel? What does it mean to him? How is something old -- a classic -- relevant to his time?
For baritone Thomas Hampson, he experiences music on many levels -- the intellectual, the emotional, as well as through the sheer power of the story told by the text.
Thomas Hampson began his "Song of America" tour with a recital on the banks of the Mississippi River, in Minnesota Bluff Country.
This is music that sings our collective history -- from the cheap tricks in presidential elections, to our spiritual foundation; from the thousands killed on the Western Front in World War I to the beauty of an Appalachian morning.
"You're the first people in the first state of many to hear this new program," a grinning Hampson told the capacity house after opening the concert with another first, Francis Hopkinson's "My Days have been So Wondrous Free" -- the work George Washington and other sources took to be the United States' earliest composed song.
Listen to that song -- and the entire recital -- with Thomas Hampson narrating. The recital has been parsed into four mini-recitals. Hear part one by clicking to the right.
The Journey Begins:
Francis Hopkinson - My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free
Stephen Foster - Open Thy Lattice Love
Aaron Copland - The Dodger
Charles Ives - Circus Band
Edward MacDowell - The Sea
Aaron Copland - The Golden Willow Tree
This recital was recorded by Cameron Wiley at Somsen Auditorium in Winona on July 9, 2009.
Thomas Hampson: American baritone Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular career as a recitalist, opera singer and recording artist, and maintains an active interest in teaching, music research and technology. He has performed in all of the world's most important concert halls and opera houses with many of today's most renowned singers, pianists, conductors and orchestras; he is one of the most respected, innovative and sought-after soloists performing today. With his ongoing "Song of America" project he is considered the "ambassador" of American song.
Craig Rutenberg: Pianist Craig Rutenberg has worked at many of the great opera houses, accompanying Frederica von Stade, Erie Mills, Sumi Jo, Olaf Bar, Stanford Olsen, Roberta Peters, and Regina Crespin. Mr. Rutenberg can be heard on the fortepiano on the recording of 'Le Nozze di Figaro' featuring Thomas Hampson as the Count and has recorded songs to texts by Walt Whitman with Mr. Hampson for Angel/EMI.