Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Ocean of Forgiveness: Five Poems of Joanne Regenhardt, for Mezzo Soprano or Soprano, and Piano

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Ocean of Forgiveness: Five Poems of Joanne Regenhardt, for Mezzo Soprano or Soprano, and Piano

Article excerpt

Abel, Mark (b. 1948). The Ocean of Forgiveness: Five Poems of Joanne Regenhardt, for mezzo soprano or soprano, and piano. Classical Vocal Reprints/Oceangoing Music (ASCAP), 2017.

1. "Desert Wind," 2. "Sally's Suicide," 3. "In Love With the Sky," 4. "Reunion," 5. "Patience." (Duration: 18 minutes)

Abel's work has been reviewed earlier in this column, most recently The Palm Trees are Restless (September/ October 2016). Here, he has chosen to set the poems of another Southern California poet, Joanne Regenhardt, a former opera singer who resides in La Jolla. Abel is often drawn to sitespecific texts; in Kate Gale's poetry in The Palm Trees, Los Angeles is the setting. Here in The Ocean of Forgiveness, at least in the first and third songs, Abel has chosen texts describing the austere and beautiful Anza-Borrego State Park, situated east of San Diego. In the opening, "Desert Wind," we are immediately immersed in the composer's signature style, free flowing and improvisatory, and tinged with jazz and pop/rock elements. "Sally's Suicide" is a more subdued setting of a heartbreaking "depiction of a friend undone by life's cruel strokes." The metaphoric sea anemone of the poem, anchored but vulnerable, is buffeted by the sea, which Abel has effectively drawn with a static piano part that quickly morphs into a moving line, ornamented by trills and appoggiaturas. …

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