Few singers — few musicians in any branch of the art, for that matter — can have ranged with comparable expertise over so wide a range of repertoire as the American soprano Carole Farley. From Monteverdi and Mozart to Shostakovich and Berg (she took the title role in the first British production of Lulu), from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by way of Offenbach and Grieg and Lehár’s Merry Widow to Poulenc and Weill and the music of her husband, composer-conductor José Serebrier, taking in Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, Strauss, Ives, and Aubert Lemeland along the way, and recently adding an exceptional disc of Rorem songs, she has performed opera, oratorio, and song with commanding vocal fluency, dramatic flair, and an astonishing linguistic versatility.
This selection by Carole Farley of my songs covers forty years of my writing for both concert and theater. Not everyone can shift stylistic gears as easily and brilliantly as she from straight-out Broadway parody (Casino Paradise’s Night, Make My Day) to difficult art music (the I Will Breathe a Mountain cycle). Who but a courageous soprano would start a recording with a scream? Carole has begun her programme with You Cannot Have Me Now, from the 1969 opera for actors Greatshot, written for the Yale Repertory Theater in 1969; the character is a German war-bride …….William Bolcom
Tapestry is the second album by American singer-songwriter Carole King, released in 1971 on Ode Records and produced by Lou Adler. It is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. In the United States, it has been certified Diamond with more than 10 million copies sold. It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year. The lead single from the album — "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move" — spent five weeks at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts. In 2003, Tapestry was ranked number 36 on Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
A devoted disciple of Falla, Ernesto Halffter (less avant-garde a composer than his older brother Rodolfo or his more famous nephew Cristobal) gave up so much of his time and energy to the colossal task of making sense of, and completing, his mentor’s Atlantida that his own output remained modest, consisting chiefly of a chamber opera, ballets, concertos for violin and for guitar, and a handful of other works. The first of his Esquisses symphoniques (written before he was 20), the exuberant “Chanson du lanternier”, is heavily indebted to early Stravinsky: more individual (though with Debussian overtones) and very impressive both for its orchestral writing and its eloquence, is the second, “Paysage mort”. But it was his sizeable Sinfonietta, completed shortly afterwards in 1925, which really attracted attention at home and abroad. There have been three or four previous recordings of it (including the very last recording – on Spanish Columbia – made by the conductor Ataulfo Argenta), but none are currently in the catalogue.