This idea of a song recital on the theme of night is nothing new, but it's also not surprising when you consider the wealth of repertoire the subject has produced. On "Night and Dreams" Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman presents 21 varied ruminations on night from the 19th and early 20th centuries, with a bit of Mozart for good measure. It’s our Album of the Week.
After the exuberance of “Surprise,” Brueggergosman’s 2007 album of cabaret-inspired songs for Deutsche Grammophon, this collection captures a more refined and reflective side to her musicianship. The songs she has chosen balance thoughtfully between the familiar -- Mozart's "Abendempfindung an Laura," Duparc's "Chanson triste," Hahn's "L'Heure exquise" – as well as the lesser-known including Poulenc's "C'est ainsi que tu es," and Brazilian composer Francis Hime's "Anoiteceu."
For composers and poets at the turn of the 20th century, night was a time of heightened awareness, fascination and enchantment. Brueggergosman sometimes paints some of these nightscapes with a broad brush, as she does in her ravishing approach to Faure ("Claire de lune") and in the lushness of her Strauss ("Die Nacht"). But she also focuses her tone, applying a beguiling elegance to Debussy's "Beau Soir" and stunning romantic expression to "Sleep," by the English composer Peter Warlock.
"Night and Dreams" arrives after a period of personal highs and lows for the 33-year-old Brueggergosman. In 2009 she underwent emergency open-heart surgery to repair a dissection in her aorta. That same year, she divorced her husband, Markus Brugger, after more than a decade of marriage. Yet the following year saw her performing on major stages including the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver (where even NBC analyst Bob Costas took note of her performance). This Thursday, she and her excellent pianist, Justus Zeyan, perform selections from "Night and Dreams" at Carnegie's Zankel Hall.
Night and Dreams
Available at Arkivmusic.com