No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Charles McKay

Song of the Day is off for the holidays, but we are re-posting a week of holiday songs from NYFOS Managing Director Charles McKay. This post first ran on December 22, 2016. No better way for getting in the mood for the holidays!  This recording takes me back to my earliest memories.  It was made […]




 |  Charles McKay

When I knew I was going to offer a week of holiday music, it was a no brainer that one day would be devoted to Robert Shaw. While at Carnegie Hall, I ran the Professional Training Workshops that included Shaw’s Choral workshops. From 1992 to 1998, for one week each January, I had the honor and privilege of being right there with him, watching and listening as he prepared one of the great choral masterpieces.




 |  Charles McKay

I’m offering a full recording today, Gloria, Gloria. It was recorded June 1987 in the Gorard College Chapel, Philadelphia and features soprano Benita Valente, The Philadelphia Singers and Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia with Michael Korn conducting. I bought this when it was released later that same year, as a cassette…yes, a cassette. I enjoyed it many times and then set it aside (switched to CDs and then to internet radio) and was so thrilled when I recently came across it on Youtube.




 |  Charles McKay

It is Price at her prime and her best and in the hands of Karajan with the Vienna Philharmonic it is a magical collaboration rarely heard. The recording captures that gorgeous shimmering lush sound that she was famous for and here, performing these beautiful carols and hymns, it is simply one of the loveliest Christmas recordings (or recordings period) ever produced.




 |  Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

The final song of the day for this week is Andrea Clearfield’s arresting You Bring Out the Doctor in Me from the 2013 AIDS Quilt Songbook. The AIDS Quilt Songbook (AQSB) is an ongoing, collaborative song cycle that had its initial premiere in Alice Tully Hall in 1992, a truly desperate time for New York and many other cities hit hard by the AIDS epidemic. The project was conceived by the late HIV-positive baritone William Parker as a way to raise money and awareness, as well as to sing songs specifically about the disease, something which had not been done in classical music before then. At that time there were no medications to fight this disease, and a feeling of hopelessness and rage infused the original collection of songs with an undeniable power.




 |  Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

Written for soprano/conductor/force of nature Barbara Hannigan, and the Berlin Philharmonic, let me tell you is a song cycle by Dutch composer Hans Abrahamsen on texts from British writer Paul Griffiths 2008 novel of the same name which takes the 481 words Ophelia speaks in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and creates a first-person narrative. The work is […]




 |  Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

My second choice this week is the tongue-in-cheek song “The Jazz Discharge Party Hats,” by another American, and wearer of many hats, Frank Zappa, from his 1983 release The Man from Utopia. Zappa wrote music in all genres from rock to orchestral, and was noted for the theatrical nature of many of his works and wild lives shows, his embrace of the avant-garde (in both America and Europe), and his staunch political and social stances which often clashed with established norms.




 |  Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

My first selection is Jewish-American songwriter Abel Meeropol’s “Strange Fruit,” as performed by the incomparable Nina Simone from her 1974 release A Portrait of Nina. Meeropol penned the initial poem in 1937, under the name “Bitter Fruit,” in reaction to Lawrence Beitler’s photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. Meeropol eventually set the poem himself as a protest against lynchings and violence toward people of color and changed the title to what it is is today.