Elisabeth Welch

Live in New York

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When Ms. Welch gave this 1989 recital, she had already been performing for 66 years, making her debut in the 1923 musical, Runnin' Wild. Although in her repertoire for many years, Ms. Welch delivers these familiar tunes with feeling and enthusiasm. Like any good Cabaret singer who's sensitive to the meanings lyricists are trying to convey, Ms. Welch's performance doesn't leave an emotional stone unturned. The pathos of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," the regrets expressed by Miss Otis that a rendevous is simply not possible because she's in the clutches of a lynch mob, the humor of "Boy What Love Has Done to Me," Ms. Welch handles all of these with aplomb. Then there's the risque, which occupies a respectable niche in Cabaret, in "She Didn't Say Yes" and Cole Porter's commercial for the world's oldest profession, "Love for Sale." And she expresses the anguish of constant, but unfulfilled love with "The Man I Love" and "Always." There's a vocal tip of the hat to French cabaret with "Jai Deux Amour" and Edith's Piaf's signature song, "La Vie en Rose." Humor, too, is part of the Cabaret style and Ms. Welch pays tribute to it with "One Life to Live" and the cockney-accented "Solomon." The most powerful tug of the heartstrings from this session comes with an unmatched rendering of Noel Coward's bittersweet, "I'll Follow My Secret Heart." Peter Howard's piano is very supportive, playing softly or dramatically, whatever the occasion calls for. Judging by the audience's response, Ms. Welch, after 66 years, continues to be a favorite of the followers of Cabaret.

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