Art Songs

Harbison Late Air CD Cover

Check out my Late Air review!

Late Air 2
Late Air 1
Tim Weiss, conductor - Peggy Pearson, oboe - Kendra
The Reckless Heart CD Cover
Oberlin's Clonick Hall - Kayo Iwama, piano

“On her latest CD, Late Air — Music by John Harbison, soprano and Oberlin voice professor Kendra Colton reminds us that the celebrated composer has a special talent for writing art songs — she also proves herself to be a sensitive interpreter of them.”

Harbison has set the texts abstractly. The busy piano parts have the feeling of ostinatos against which the vocal lines are almost secondary. Colton’s diction is impeccable, her singing agile and responsive to mood changes in the poetry.

In number three, ‘Why Mira Can’t go to Her Old House,’ Colton graphically delivers the lines:

I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders 
and now you want me to climb on a jackass? 
Please be serious. 

And in number five, ‘The Clouds,’ an emotional lament to the Dark One, Colton demonstrates her expansive vocal and dynamic range.

Harbison brings his jazz piano chops and his experiences in the vocal jazz world to his settings of After Hours, three songs with texts by Murray Horwitz. They fit Colton’s voice and musical personality perfectly. Her performance brings a smile to your face and makes you want to sing along. This set is the highlight of the album and benefits from the artistry of pianist Sanford Margolis — you can feel the jazz idioms running through his veins.


Released on the Oberlin Music label, Late Air is an intriguing snapshot of Harbison’s vocal music, wonderfully brought to life by Colton and her colleagues.”, Mike Telin

(Harbison Late Air CD, Oberlin Music label)