Record label TRPTK has released the new album To The Thawing Wind, which focuses on classical songwriting.
Paul Edward Gay (1936), who hails from the United States, is best known as a classical conductor. He also has a considerable reputation as a composer and teacher. That he is also a jazz trombonist makes him a colorful figure. Especially in the New England region, Gay is active with various orchestras. He has composed symphonic works, chamber music and for solo piano. He has a great love for vocal music, and in this he connects directly to the rich tradition of Debussy, Poulenc, Copland, Barber and Britten.
Taking the oeuvre of poets like Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and his own work as his starting point, Gay has made an album for the leading Dutch TRPTK label that focuses on the art of classical song. Together with soprano Madison Leonard, baritone Shea Owens and pianist Artem Belogurov, Paul Edward Gay demonstrates how irresistibly beautiful this genre can be: music that leaves no one unmoved.
The album ‘To The Thawing Wind’, released under the wings of TRPTK, contains eleven songs, ten of which are sung solo and one of which has the form of a duet. A special role is played by the great acoustics of Schiedam’s Westvestkerk: a space that literally gives an extra dimension to this vocal music. Listen to the powerful ‘Reluctance’, the impressionistic ‘Going for Water’ and the solid outbursts of baritone Shea Owens in ‘Pan with Us’.
Note the subtly supporting piano playing of Artem Belogurov in ‘Stars’, ‘Snowflakes’ and the lyrical ‘Wind and Window Flower’. More than impressive is the vocal duet in ‘Peony’: music that reverberates for seconds. Of particular note is the subtle musical translation of Emily Dickinson’s ‘Have You Got a Brook In Your Little Heart’, in which soprano Madison Leonard and the pianist seem to seek out silence literally and figuratively.
The fierce forces of nature are palpable in the title track “To the Thawing Wind,” starring an almost ecstatic Shea Owens. An extremely emotional moment that transitions into the more relaxed ‘Now Close the Windows’. Almost meditative is the closing ‘Descending into Dreams’, with a deeper than deep reaching baritone.
From highlight to highlight
‘To The Thawing Wind’ has become a production that literally carries the listener from peak to peak. An album that is given extra lustre by the splendid recording of TRPTK engineer Brendon Heinst, who is given the final word:
“Nothing is as recognizable to us as the human voice. As a human being you have been conditioned from birth to listen to voices, so you soon hear if it is even a little bit wrong. By combining advanced microphone techniques with state-of-the-art high-end recording equipment, we ensure that you can experience the album as if the musicians were standing in your living room. And even make the voices sound hyper-realistic. As a result, you get an unparalleled sense of being there.”