No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  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.




 |  Amy Owens

It’s a day for favorites: My favorite composer, Richard Strauss, my favorite song, “Ständchen”, and my favorite singer, Kathleen Battle. As soon as I declare a favorite, my mind immediately thinks of a dozen other “favorites,” but I don’t intend to be dishonest! You music lovers know what I mean. There are always many favorites.




 |  Amy Owens

For years, I have adored the Chants d’Auvergne, folk songs from the Auvergne region of France in the local language, Occitan. The collector and arranger of these landscape-inspired songs was Auvergne native Joseph Canteloube, who took more than thirty years (1924-1955) to complete his compilation.




 |  Amy Owens

“The singer recounts all the lovely memories of spending new year in Iran: the smell of the flowers, the excitement of people buying new clothes, the smell of gift wrap papers, the sound of grandma’s prayers, etc. Then he repeats (chorus): With these memories I am able to get through the winter. With these thoughts I can comfort my tired mind and body.”




 |  Amy Owens

I am grateful and excited to contribute to this week’s Song of the Day, which gives us something beautiful to ponder about in the midst of chaos. Today, I have chosen a song by the great Leonard Bernstein: “Silhouette,” or “Galilee.”