Review: Adrianne Greenbaum, Alissa Lieser - Sounds of America


Album Cover - Sounds of America
Sounds of America
 Artist: Adrianne Greenbaum, flute, and Alissa Lieser, piano
 Album: Sounds of America
 Date of Release: 1993
 Label: Pvt. Release
 Cat. No.:  
 Country of Release: US
 Genre/s: Classical

 Sub-Genre/s: 20th C., Chamber
 Type: Studio
   Time: 62:07
   Date of Review: 2003/02/20 (2003/01/29)
   Web Site:

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Photo of Adrianne Greenbaum
Adrianne Greenbaum
Phot supplied by/used with permission of the artist
Sounds of America

I have just had the great pleasure to listen to another recording of Adrianne Greenbaum's, whose albums Fleyt Muzik and Family Portrait (with The Klezical Tradition) are reviewed elsewhere on this site. While not klezmer related in any way, Sounds of America still seems relevant in the context of Jewish music reviews as it includes compositions by prominent Jewish American composers.

On Sounds of America, flautist Adrianne Greenbaum is teamed with pianist Alissa Lieser in a series of mainly light classical pieces by a variety of American composers. The selection is exquisite and covers a much wider spectrum of composers than can usually be found on such recordings. The title is ambitious, but Sounds of America succeeds in being an uncommonly representative cross-section of American music of the 20th century, and even in being quintessentially American. It succeeds by embracing as wide a range of American song (mainly) as an album of this kind permits, including musical theatre, ballads, instrumental songs, even an early jazz standard.

Adrianne Greenbaum, one of the most outstanding artists of the flute of our age, is beautifully complemented by Alissa Lieser's piano on this outstanding recording. If anybody needs convincing of Ms. Lieser's talents and artistry, let them listen to Jelly Roll Morton's Shreveport Stomp - it is undoubtedly one of the finest interpretations of this standard that it's been my pleasure to come across. You could be forgiven for imagining you're sitting in on a date by Morton himself (and indeed, the improvisations included were faithfully transcribed from a piano roll made by the maestro himself). The empathy of both musicians with their chosen composers and pieces is outstanding. They present these light or popular classics with uncommon depth as well as a refreshing enthusiasm and sense of exploration.

The excellent liner notes provide further insight into the selections and their composers.

Sounds of America is an album that one finds oneself drawn to listen to again and again, a bit of a rarity in itself among recordings of light classics. Most such recordings tend to be pleasant enough, but often simply do not hold the listener's interest beyond the occasional casual listen. Sounds of America not only holds the listener's interest, but arouses curiosity and interest in investigating some of the music and composers in greater depth perhaps.

Indeed, several weeks after my original review of this album on the Jewish Music mailing list, I still find myself drawn to playing this album several times a week, and enjoy this wonderful music greatly.

Grab it if you can!

© 2003 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

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Track List:

 1. John Duke: Loveliest of Trees - 2:09
 2. Charles Ives: Side Show - 0:24
 3. Charles Ives: On the Counter - 1:15
 4. Mrs. H.H.A. Beach: Sheena Van - 2:07
 5. Wilhelm Popp: Fantasy and Variations on an American Theme - 9:33
 6. John Corigliano: Voyage - 7:30
 7. William Grant Still: Here's One - 2:40
 8. Clara Edwards: Ol' Jim - 2:17
 9. "Jelly Roll" Morton: Shreveport Stomp - 4:33 Peter Schickele: Spring Serenade
10.   I. Invocation - 3:39
11.  II. Pastorale - 1:32
12. III. Whirlwind Watz - 4:01
13.  IV. Song - 2:38
14.   V. Finale - 7:52 15. Jerome Kern: All The Things You Are - 1:36
16. Cole Porter: The Physician - 1:28
17. Leonard Bernstein: Glitter and Be Gay - 5:17


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Adrianne Greenbaum, flute
Alissa Lieser, piano



Purchasing Info:

Sounds of America can be purchased:
Direct from Adrianne Greenbaum via email

Online from FluteWorld

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