Many, Many Philadelphians

Lyric Fest took an inclusive view of who counts as a Philadelphia composer in preparing this past Sunday’s survey of the city’s contributions to song repertoire – natives, residents, those who studied here, even those who summered near here as a child (Sondheim). Barber and Rorem were represented, but also Rorem’s students, down to the second generation. There was a exquisite very early song by George Crumb, an intriguing multi-part setting of Stevens by Persichetti, a charming song by Kile Smith on a 17th century text, and much more (the full list of composers is here). I was there to hear my “Cinder” from the cycle Holy the Firm, and I was delighted by a powerful performance from soprano Randi Marrazzo and pianist Laura Ward. Their reading was a bit slower than some others I have heard, and the song seemed to thereby gain in expressive intensity. I think they connected strongly with the audience – there was that extra moment of silence after the piece ended.