CD Spotlight: Psalms and Canticles by Michael Torke, featuring Lydia Adelle Brown
It was just another CD package. Then we opened it and found ourselves looking at a photo of Rochester vocalist and songwriter Lydia Adelle Brown, who once interned at WXXI Classical.
Composer Michael Torke’s newest CD, Psalms and Canticles, is a collection of songs both wonderous and eye-opening. Producer Silas Brown, who had recorded Lydia at SUNY Purchase, reached out to her and suggested she send a demo for an upcoming project. The connection clicked. Says Torke, “Lydia was perfect for this project—a fresh voice that combines jazz and opera, resonating with a unique emotional involvement.”
The eleven tracks float, with a rhythmic pulse that carries you from the first note to the last. Lydia is particularly drawn to Canticle 2, While I Slept, a piece that she says, “Really touched me, is really profound,” recalling hearing it for the first time while walking in the rain. Like the world around her that day, she said, “it was so refreshing and inspiring.” And, as she sang the Second Lamentation, Mother’s Arms, she found herself remembering George Floyd as he called for his mother with his last breath.
“Some music really can inspire and uplift,” say Torke. “I like the possibility that music doesn’t just make you FEEL something, it can make you feel BETTER.” And Psalms and Canticles does that perfectly.
A bonus: The cover was shot by Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra trumpeter Wes Nance’s son, Brandon.