In My Memory: American Songs and Song Cycles

Centaur Records has released a new CD featuring tenor Kerry Jennings and pianist Amanda Asplund Hopson. This CD includes the premiere recording of Lori’s “On A Photograph” (John Wood, poet) as well as a new rendition of “The Apple Orchard” (Dana Gioia, poet). Other composers represented are Libby Larsen, Richard Pearson Thomas and Tom Cipullo.

“Lori Laitman’s two songs possess a narrative quality reminiscent of Sondheim. The first, The Apple Orchard, uses “spring’s ephemeral cathedral” as a metaphor for a love the fails to seize the moment and thus is lost forever. Laitman composes long, melismatic vocal lines here over a resonant accompaniment. Her second setting is of an incredibly touching poem by John Wood imagining a homosexual love between two men in an old photo, taken “back when my grandparents were children.” The music has an autumnal quality with a direct gentleness characterizing the lovers, eventually depicting the loss of nearly everything about them except the photo. Jennings sustains the song’s mood with skill and judgment. ” (Arkiv Music, 2014)

“ There are two songs by the prolific composer of art songs, Lori Laitman. The Apple Orchard with text by Dana Gioia is a reminiscence, recalling that moment long past, of being in love but never lovers on an April day with blossoms open and he hesitatingly unsure. The second song, On A Photograph…, on a poem by John Wood, is a superb example of her art song writing skill. The poet looks at a photograph of two men and imagines their life together as a couple. Mundane events and their deep understanding of each other are captured convincingly in the flexibility of tempi matching the conversational tone of the poem. Ms. Laitman wrote to Mr. Jennings “…The tempo changes in On a Photograph are so important and so difficult, but you and Amanda nailed them. I am delighted.” This is the debut recording of On a Photograph I Found of Two Young Factories Workers Standing beside a Piece of Heavy Machinery Inscribed on the Reverse “Sacred to the Memory of Friendship.” ” (Artsong Update, 2014)