There's nothing like a pleasant surprise, and I had one yesterday when I found, in my mailbox, a small package bearing baritone Tom Meglioranza's return address. Now, Tom and I had had an exchange of email during the day, but there had been no mention of this! Inside the envelope was a card and a CD.
The CD is entitled Because: Choral Music by Mark Zuckerman, performed by The Goldene Keyt Singers. Tom's card explained that it was recorded a few years ago, as a demonstration of Mr Zuckerman's work. Instead of rounding up a chorus, he hired four singers and gave them plenty of time to rehearse. What he got was not your ordinary demo but a highly finished product. Soprano May Ellen Callahan, alto Hsi-Ling Chang, and tenor Michael Steinberger join Tom in a capella performances of Mr Zukerman's intricate music. I've got permission to make it possible for you to hear one or two of the cuts, and I've chosen "Reyshit Khakhmah" for starters. This is the final number of Proverbs for Four at Fifty, a suite of Biblical settings in Hebrew. Turn to Proverbs 4:7 for the text. But don't expect anything terribly pious from the setting, which is delightfully playful. I'll bet you can't listen to it just once.
In the event, a dandy birthday present.