A Left Coast

A Left Coast coverA Left Coast is baritone Tyler Duncan and pianist Erika Switzer’s tribute to British Columbia and its music.  Seven composers with birthdates ranging from 1908 to 1985 are featured on the disk.  BC is a young country as far as western classical music is concerned though, of course, it has rich artistic traditions stretching far back into the mists of the north west.

It’s quite varied and, inevitably, I like some sets more than others.  My top pick is Leslie Uyeda’s Plato’s Angel songs which set poems by Lorna Crozier.  There’s a deep melancholy in the text that’s reflected in a dark, somewhat atonal musical idiom.  I also really liked Jeffrey Ryan’s Everything Already Lost; the longest set on the record, setting quite sonically/musically evocative texts by Jan Zwicky with quite varied sonorities mixing elements of minimalism and onomatopoeia, especially in the piano part.

Third pick would be the late Jocelyn Morlock’s Involuntary Love Songs setting texts by Alan Ashton.  These are quite challenging texts about love with really dense piano parts and are very effective.  But having picked three faves I have to say all the music on the record is excellent and it’s worth the time to acquaint oneself with it.  Canadian art song is such a rich vein from sea to shining sea!

The performances are excellent.  Switzer is a fine musician and interpreter and Duncan’s lyric baritone is lovely to listen too.  Excellent diction makes the supplied texts entirely superfluous even if the odd “t” o “d” shift does slightly bother my Anglo-Torontonian sensibility!

The recording too is first rate.  It was made in hi-res in June 2022 in the Roy Barnett Recital Hall at UBC.  It’s due for release on June 23rd as a physical CD and in various digital formats (MP3, CD quality FLAC and 96kHz/24 bit FLAC).  My review copy was hi-res digital.  The booklet (English only) has composer’s notes, full texts and bios.

Catalogue number: Bridge Records 9574