Art Song in Boston: Florestan Recital Project

      A recent e-mail from Boston once again confirms that the world-wide web is a great way for art song lovers to connect: "Hello! I've recently run across your fine website. My name is Aaron Engebreth and I'm a professional baritone living in Boston, as well as co-artistic director of the Florestan Recital Project, an organization devoted to the art of the song recital in Boston. I would be so happy if you might have a look at our website: www.florestanproject.org, and see if it is something you might consider linking to your site. I think you'll find us very much in a similar artistic spirit to your site."

      We visited their website and found biographies of the four founders who are also the artistic directors. They currently have a roster of twenty other artists. Most are singers but there are several pianists and an organist, a guitarist and a lutenist.

      In their first year their recitals explored American Students of Nadia Boulanger which included songs by Leonard Bernstein, Mark Blitzstein, Paul Bowles, Theodore Chandler, Virgil Thompson and others. The second season brought Music of Ned Rorem and Daniel Pinkham in their 80th Year. The review in the Boston Globe in January , 2003 of the song cycle of thirty-six pieces titled Evidence of Things Not Seen by Ned Rorem was glowing. "The performances by the quartet of singers and two pianists were deeply felt and impeccably prepared. Of the vocalists, baritone Engebreth and mezzo River stood out for the beauty of their voices as well as their eloquence." Visit their website to read the entire review.

      This year Florestan Recital Project has highlighted songs by the French composers known as Les Six (Auric, Durey, Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc and Taileferre) and the complete songs of Francis Poulenc.

      Florestan, like Artsong Update is working to build the audience for art song. When I questioned Mr. Engebreth about attendance figures, he told me that it was around fifty per recital but growing as they get more press coverage and as listeners spread the word. As we did this season, we will continue to list their recitals on our website Calendar, just in case you're in the Boston area.

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