Let Evening Come: American Songs Old & New

Released by Albany Records on February 1, 2020, this new compilation by sopranos Emily Martin, Ariana Wyatt and pianist Richard Masters includes works by Frank La Forge, Robert Spillman and Lori Laitman. Emily Martin and Richard Masters perform two of Hester Prynne’s arias from The Scarlet Letter — “Beyond All Price” and “This Canopy of Trees.”

To purchase the CD, please click here

From Colin Clarke in Fanfare Magazine, Sept/Oct 2020 issue:

“Emily Martin lives each word, her soprano strong and pure. Richard Masters is a fine accompanist, and obviously an equally fine soloist as his performances of Frank La Forge’s Two Pieces proves…Lori Laitman has proved her talent for word setting a multitude of times. It is good, though, to see parts of her 2014 opera The Scarlet Letter here (the opera is available on Naxos: it was reviewed by James H. North in Fanfare 41:4 and subsequently made his Want List). On the Naxos recording, the part of Hester was sung by Laura Claycomb, where we get the wonderful tang of Laitman’s orchestration underpinning her soaring, lyrical voice in Hester’s Lullaby (“Beyond All Price”), which forms part of act I scene 2, “The Prison” (on the Naxos recording the lullaby begins almost exactly 10 minutes into the track that covers the entire scene). Hearing the opening dissonances on piano offers a more abstract approach, and the melting into the lullaby is arguably more effective. Ultimately, Claycomb on Naxos is the finer interpreter, her voice soaring with more abandon and less edge than Martin’s; yet to compensate there is more intimacy in the voice and piano version. Moving to the second scene of the second act, “The Forest,” and Hester’s aria “This Canopy of Trees,” here the protagonist’s sorrow is palpable, the light through the canopy reflecting the “light and shadow of our life.” Martin is touching, but the ear is often drawn to the excellence of Richard Masters’s contributions. If, in the final analysis, the premiere recording on Naxos offers the final ring of truth, it is wonderful to see this music excerpted so soon after its premiere. Laitman’s lyrical mode of utterance, her sense of color and her sensitivity to the words, are present in all their glory.”