Friday, February 10, 2012

New York Festival of Song Looks at Love

Tuesday is Valentine's Day so expect to be swamped with music celebrating affairs of the heart. There will be the usual blocks of love music on the radio and your music-loving friends will plaster your Facebook wall with Spotify playlists loaded with their favorite lovesongs. But on February 14 and 16 the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) will present a balanced view of affaires du coeur with their popular "A Modern Person's Guide to Hooking Up and Breaking Up" program. What better way to spend Valentine's Day than with a program of "songs of voyeurism, S&M, self-gratification -- and good old-fashioned heart-to-heart love."

 Artistic director Steven Blier always finds fascinating repertoire for NYFOS concerts and this second edition of the show will feature music by Frank Loesser, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Tom Lehrer, Harold Arlen, Noel Coward and many other composers. In typical NYFO fashion the program is shaped thematically, so clusters of songs will fall under the headings Young Love, Ambivalence, Kinks and Infidelities and Marriage and Cohabitations. 

Blier, an accompanist, vocal coach, Juilliard faculty member and one of the nation's most dynamic forces in nurturing young voices, founded NYFOS in 1988 with Michael Barrett, the CEO of Caramoor Center for Music and Arts and General Director of the Caramoor International Music Festival. Blier's bottomless knowledge of song repertoire is one of the cornerstones of NYFOS. Name a subject and Blier can come up with a bushel of songs about it. He also zips off informal and extremely perceptive chatter about the songs during each concert. NYFOS concerts are informal and intimate affairs that are more like musical cocktail parties than concerts.

Steven Blier

NYFOS has put together a strong cast of singers for the program, including soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird; mezzo-soprano Liza Forrester; tenors Alex Mansoori, Gennard Lombardozzi; baritone Andrew Garland and bass-baritone Adrian Rosas. NYFOS will make your heart flutter on February 14th and 16th at New York's Merkin Concert Hall.

Top row: Anne-Carolyn Bird, Liza Forrester, Adrian Rosas
Bottom row: Andrew Garland, Alex Mansoori, Gennard Lombardozzi
NYFOS has turned out some excellent recordings too.

Spanish Love Songs, featuring Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

Ned Rorem: Evidence of Things Not Seen

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