|Journal of Singing Reviews Patricia Green's "UNSLEEPING"|
There is not much one can criticize about this recording. It features an intriguing array of interesting repertoire performed in exemplary fashion. Singer Patricia Green possesses a gleaming, vibrant voice which is radiant in every register and at every dynamic level. Even more impressive is how musically and effortlessly she sings even those songs that pose a plethora of potential stumbling blocks, technically and otherwise. The repertoire spans three languages (English, German, and Spanish) and a fairly wide swath of styles, but Green embraces them all with consummate skill and poise. Pianist John Hess is her partner, and as dazzling as his pianism may be, still more impressive is how seamlessly his playing melds with Green's singing even in the most intricately complicated songs. And in several songs, such as Schafer's "Hollywood” one would be forgiven for thinking that the accompaniment was for piano four hands.
The disk opens with what has to be among the most unsettling lullabies ever composed, Jonathan Harvey's "Lullaby for the Unsleeping." The soloist's meandering melodic line is suspended above a throbbing ostinato in the accompaniment, creating a mounting sense of mystery and suspense. Hungarian composer Andre Hajdu's Bestiary is the most daringly contemporary music here and the most vividly evocative as well. Green and Hess traverse these complex scores with seeming ease, even in the relentlessly unpredictable rubato of "The Jaguar" or the breakneck energy of "The Rat's Dance." Schafer's Kinderlieder is a superb showcase for the singer, calling to mind the best of Bolcom and Weill, among others. The songs by Robert Sierra pose ferocious challenges for pianist Hess, which he surmounts with ease, and Green is heard to superb advantage here. Her loveliest singing, however, emerges from her performance of the song cycle Mystery by Lori Laitman. There are fleeting moments when the mezzo soprano forgets to deliver the wonderful words with that perfect clarity heard elsewhere on the disk, but otherwise this is gorgeous vocalism, and these enchanting songs deserve nothing less.
Full texts are provided along with biographies of every composer and background information on the particular compositions at hand. This is how one properly introduces new musical works to the world: with exquisite performances and careful attention to the details.