Thomas Hampson's American Song; Part Three: This Beautiful Land

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
October 16, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — The great American baritone Thomas Hampson regularly sings in the world's top concert halls and opera houses.

Just a few days after singing at Covent Garden, Mr. Hampson boarded a plane for Minnesota, re-connected with longtime friend and collaborator pianist Craig Rutenberg, and made his way to the Mississippi river town of Winona, Minnesota.

There he kicked off a yearlong series of recitals around the country celebrating American song, an art form where he feels most passionately at home. The concert was a part of Winona's Minnesota Beethoven Festival.

Surprisingly, this part of the recital begins with a song in German, a song by Charles Griffes who studied serious art-song in Europe and was only just beginning to find his own unique American voice.

"Mr. Hampson conveys the idea of an oral tradition that it is his mission to pass on, with the closed-eyed intensity of a blind poet when he is singing, and the zeal of an evangelist."
- New York Times

One work by a female composer graces this set by a woman who was better known in her lifetime by her husband's name, Mrs. H.H.A. Beach.

This Beautiful Land:

Charles Griffes - By a Lonely Forest Pathway

Amy Beach - Twilight

Aaron Copland - The Dodger

Vittorio Berger - Tell Me, Oh Blue Sky Jean Berger - Lonely People

Paul Bowles - Blue Mountain Ballads (Heavenly Grass, Lonesome Man, Cabin, Sugar in the Cane) ---

This recital was recorded by Cameron Wiley at Somsen Auditorium in Winona on July 9, 2009.


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