a lad's love
with STEVEN McGHEE, piano
featuring REGINALD MOBLEY, countertenor
Bridge Records, Inc. 9542
2021 GRAMMY® Nominee
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
When I first discovered Ivor Gurney's Ludlow and Teme during my graduate studies at the University of Michigan, it made a lasting impression. I programmed the cycle on my degree recital, which coincidentally, was also the first time that Steven and I performed together.
Ever since that first outing, we have wanted to record the work. A. E. Housman’s poetry set by Gurney was so affecting, that we started digging for other settings by lesser-known British composers of that time. That led us to John Ireland’s songs, and ultimately to living-composer Ian Venables’ 21st Century setting of “Because I liked you better.”
As we dove further into English poetry and songs of the early 20th Century, we found an array that tell stories of loss or unrequited love—like Quilter’s pleading setting of Shelley and Britten’s intimate settings of W. H. Auden—that are bolder, more self-assured statements of desire. Yet the consistent emotional intensity of the text binds them together seamlessly.
All of the works on this album are, therefore, unified by the depth of feeling expressed by the lover, not by the gender of the object of his affection, which is conspicuously absent from any of the texts. Loss is at the center of these songs, whether due to death, societal standards, unrequited love, the passage of time, or inaction.
selected CRITICAL ACCLAIM for a lad's love
"The themes that bind 'A Lad's Love' embrace friendship, sexuality, betrayal and nature, each enveloped in music of tender and youthful vibrancy. Certainly Giebler is a model of those qualities as he imbues every phrase with warmth and clarity...Giebler applies fresh yearning to the songs in vivid conversation with pianist Steven McGhee"
- DONALD ROSENBERG, GRAMOPHONE
"The two Benjamin Britten selections that anchor the collection deploy the melismatic writing characteristic of the music tailormade for his life partner, Peter Pears. Giebler shows the requisite ductility but also boasts a more attractive timbre than Pears did... he shows an excellent command of diminuendos, and his dynamic control is commendable... Aficionados will want to hear these performances of these intriguing songs... Giebler is quite expressive here, and... is fully up to their musical demands... Withal, this is an original, compelling recital."
- DAVID SHENGOLD, OPERA NEWS
"...the beauty, sweetness, and youthful sheen of Brian Giebler's extremely fine tenor is ideally suited for this collection of English songs...more important is Giebler's innate sincerity, which is so intelligently allied with his choir boy-like tonal clarity that it unfailingly brings the beauty and meaning of his chosen songs and lyrics to the fore...the performance is so convincing that you'd think Britten wrote Canticle II for him and Mobley rather than his partner, Peter Pears, and Kathleen Ferrier. Highly recommended."
- JASON VICTOR SERINUS, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE
"...his impressive solo recording debut...A must-listen, it’s the perfect introduction to Giebler’s bold, clear, and ringing tenor, and on at least one occasion his heavenly falsetto. Art-song duos...offer vivid pictures of emotion, and showcase the tight-knit partnership between Giebler and McGhee."
- JARRETT HOFFMAN, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL
“The first moments of a lad’s love demonstrate that Giebler possesses a beautiful, evenly-produced voice capable of communicating an expansive array of emotions, but each subsequent phrase further immerses the listener in the perceptibly personal narrative created by the young tenor’s singing... his vocalism distinguished by impeccable musicianship and reliably secure intonation. Giebler approaches Gurney’s and all of the songs on a lad’s love with stylistic cogency, his interpretations kaleidoscopically expressive but never exaggerated. None of a lad’s love’s successes is more consequential than its declaration that song, when performed with love, can be a refuge from humanity’s horrors.”
- JOSEPH NEWSOME, VOIX DES ARTS
"Brian Giebler has a wonderfully lyrical and light tone quality. This can rise to considerable power when required and almost entirely clear diction..his understanding of Gurney is well worth the purchase of the disc, let alone the passion he conveys in the Venables and Ireland settings."
- GARY HIGGINSON, BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY
"Five stars: An accomplished young American masters English art songs. It is the sense of drama that makes this album so gripping; I doubt I’ve heard a tenor use his voice so courageously since the young Pears."
- HUNTLEY DENT, FANFARE
BILLBOARD TOP 15 (TRADITIONAL CLASSICAL ALBUM)
a lad's love debuted on the Billboard Charts at #14 the week of July 18, 2020!
OPERA NEWS CRITIC'S CHOICE
VOIX DES ARTS BEST ART SONG RECORDING OF 2020
RECORD OF THE WEEK: WCLV Cleveland Classical
a lad's love has been chosen to be Recording of the Week July 13-17 by Cleveland's mighty classical radio station WCLV, which has also broadcast an interview with Mr. Giebler (available here) by program host John Mills.
AMAZON'S HOT NEW RELEASES (CLASSICAL)
This album has been charting (as high as #7) on Amazon's Hot New Releases top 100!
I owe my sincere gratitude to the numerous supporters who have contributed to the production of this album, including:
My true love Jordan Peterson, Gary and Barb Giebler, Adam and Stephanie Grube, Ginna Peterson, Dale and Debbie Peterson, Jack and Carole Giebler, Nancy Varnum - in loving memory of Ron Varnum, Kallie Ferguson and Zachary Mayer, Jan and Gene Hannum, The Ivor Gurney Society, Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, True Concord Artists, Jeanne and Rick Farleigh, Jean and Jim Rautio, Peter Lee, Daniel Cohen, Robert Berg - in memory of Diane Berg, Sarah Berg, Herbert and Paula Molner, Andy and Cammie Watson, Paul Lorah, Craig Scott Symons, James Wilson, Dail and David Richie, Naomi Cohen, Sarah Bedal, Jeannie Bourget, Michael Reynolds, Kurt Ollmann, Nathan Young, Rich and Rebecca Barkley, Rob and Janet Ferguson, George and Nancy Cockerill, Mary RuDell Kylander, Sherry Root and Roger Craig, Katie Conwell, Paul Adkins, Jan Opalach, Kolene Bailey, Dorothy Falk, Naki Sung Kripfgans, Eric Holtan, Melissa Baker, Betty and Kevin Casey, Dolores Cenci, William Nemir, Sherezade Panthaki, Ryan Brandau, Logan and Cat, Luthien Brackett, Terry Claus, Amy Justman, Brandon Ulrich, Steven Hrycelak, Jason Pesick, Gregory Sikora, Heather Yanke, and to the numerous supporters who chose to remain anonymous.
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a lad's love was part of Giebler Musical Arts, which is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit public charity. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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