Various Artists

A Memorial Tribute to David Diamond

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Soon after David Diamond's death in 2005, composer and conductor Jack Stamp assembled this CD as a memorial tribute, including both Diamond's music and music written in his honor. Stamp conducts the Keystone Wind Ensemble in Diamond's Heart's Music (1989) and Tantivy (1987), both written at Stamp's instigation, and the brief Ceremonial Fanfare (1950). All are attractive and skillfully written pieces, but Tantivy stands out for its wit and inventiveness. Jack Stamp's tribute, Variations on a Bach Chorale, displays his mentor's influence in its compositional ingenuity. The bulk of the CD is devoted to Diamond's songs, performed by soprano Mary Logan Hastings, baritone Curt Scheib, and pianist Jan Halmes. The songs, which set an extremely wide range of writers, from Shakespeare to Marilyn Monroe, are well written for the voice but rarely take wing, due partly to a lack of memorable melodies and partly to the stolidity of most of the accompaniments. The quality of the recordings, made under a number of diverse circumstances, varies considerably, from a slightly grainy sound for the songs to a clean, bright sound for the wind ensemble pieces.

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