October 11, 2022
Historic recordings of some of the great singers of yesteryear include numerous performances of salon type songs that included an obbligato instrument. Some of these pairings included Enrico Caruso with Mischa Elman, John McCormack with Fritz Kreisler, Marian Anderson with William Primrose, Alma Gluck with her husband Efrem Zimbalist, as well as Bing Crosby and Jascha Heifetz! Susanna Phillips, Paul Neubauer and Anne-Marie McDermott continue this tradition with SPA. This trio of stellar artists first performed together in 2011 in Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles, and have enjoyed exploring and performing songs that include an obbligato instrument.
Zachary Lewis at The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) sums it up: “But it wasn’t just the lineup, which included the remarkable pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, that made the evening so special. Also unique was the repertoire itself, a fetching blend of art and parlor songs from all over 19th- and 20th-century Europe. Phillips herself required zero assistance. A singer known for starring roles at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she proved a singular authority, brandishing a golden, powerful instrument and treating each song to generous servings of eloquence and feeling. But how much better to hear Phillips in tandem with Neubauer, a former principal violist of the New York Philharmonic, and witness the gorgeous dovetailing of the viola’s warm, expressive tone with that of the human voice, its closest musical relation. At times, the two were almost indistinguishable.”
- Susanna Phillips, soprano
- Paul Neubauer, viola
- Anne-Marie McDermott, piano