Melanie Mitrano

All Things Gold

Year: 2009

Duration (in minutes): 54 min

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: mixed instrument quintet

Publisher: Ivy Cottage Press

Description: All Things Gold is a collection of 15 vocal jazz compositions with original lyrics by the composer, set for solo voice, rhythm section, and varied horn solos. There’s a lot of variety here, from good old-fashioned swing to Latin grooves, soulful pop ballads, and gritty tunes in unusual meters. The emphasis, though, is on story-telling. The lyrics are engaging, smart, and shockingly honest. The result is new music that maintains its innovation, yet seems to evolve naturally from the past, like new additions to the American Songbook. The songwriter refers to her brand of music as “jazz in a champagne glass,” a nod to both her inability and unwillingness to disavow her classical side. “Immune” is dark, raucous, and irreverent. “Smarten Up” is a spicy 5/4 siren song. “Backstory” is evocative, earthy and sensual. “All Things Gold” was inspired by Robert Frost’s signature poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay. The lyrics rail against the inevitable passing away of love, beauty, and life, yet the music suggests the futility of this hope. “Never Been to Brazil” is a fun, quirky, deliberately unrefined bossa nova. “You Can’t Unring Bells” is a nod to the 1940s swing era. The melancholy ballad “Something to Go On” is followed by “I Ain’t Got You,” humorous and playful with an old-school Tin Pan Alley flavor. “The King of Cryptology” is a scathing, sarcastic jazz rhumba. “The Man You Used to Be” is an angst-filled jazz waltz, the use of uneven phrase lengths here keeps the music feeling satisfyingly off-kilter, unsettled and agitated. “Another Song about the Moon” is a clever romp that quotes numerous moon-titled jazz standards, all paired with original material. “She Floats Away” is a haunting and spare ballad, with a sense of fragility and a feeling of weightlessness. “My Finest Hour” is a swing tune in 7/4 time. “Wednesdays” is an ingenuous, sweetly simple jazz waltz. “Toccata Talk to Me” borrows melodic and harmonic material from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, redefined in a new musical context.

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