GRAMMY®-winning composer Herschel Garfein and former US Poet Laureate Donald Hall create a vivid and moving eleven-song cycle set in late life. Tenor Michael Slattery and pianist Dimitri Dover lead this spirited journey in song, which brims with stylistic inflections ranging from musical theater to German lieder to Sousa marches.
The cycle starts at age sixty with contented domesticity and sexual fulfillment, only to pass through harrowing confrontations with death before arriving at a transcendent recognition of love's redemptive power. A touching reversed perspective comes with the concluding song Otherwise, on a poem by Hall's deceased wife, Jane Kenyon.
The 89 year-old Hall reads his poems, lending personal and historical significance. The liner notes are by David Hajdu, three-time winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for music writing.
Includes a 44-page, full-color booklet.
Michael Slattery, tenor
Dimitri Dover, piano
Marnie Breckenridge, soprano
Donald Hall, reader
Herschel Garfein, music
Donald Hall, texts
Otherwise text by Jane Kenyon
Produced by Herschel Garfein and Kabir Sehgal
MORTALITY MANSIONS gets a rave review in Opera News
“Powerful... glowing... radiant... Garfein keeps the vocal line simple and forthright, communicating the text naturally while allowing the piano part to provide harmonic freshness. Tenor Michael Slattery is a felicitous choice to perform these songs; his smooth, flexible, appealingly direct voice is a perfect match for the immediacy of expression that is a hallmark of both composer and poet.” — Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News
A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety
New essays by former poet laureate Donald Hall:
Life as seen from the vantage point of very old age.
Available Now. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.