Monday, July 1, 2013

Poetry Monday: Ellen Mandel does it again

Ellen Mandel has done it again.  She's released a new CD full of beautiful, mostly classic poetry set to utterly appropriate music. The Cat and the Moon takes its title song from the WB Yeats poem of the same name:

Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn. 
The CD contains works by Yeats, Thomas Hardy, Seamus Heany and Daniel Neer's own Haiku series which takes us through a series of ordinary moments in the life of a NY actor that reminds me a bit of Frank O'Hara.  Daniel also provides the vocals for all the music on this CD, in his exquisite voice that melds smoothly with Mandel's jaunty piano.  Neer's own brief pieces are quite funny and light ("who needs a day job?") while the Hardy is intense and dark:

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.

The range of styles is well conveyed by the combination of piano and vocal and the arrangements are all deeply moving.  Nicely balanced, utterly listenable, and still pure poetry, The Cat and the Moon is another wonderful poetic offering from the maven of musical poetry.  Mandel's deep underlying respect for the poetry around which the music is built shines through this new CD.  To get hold of the CD, visit Mandel's site at

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