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Album Review: The Lover
Michael Hoppé and Tim Wheater
Cover image of the album The Lover by Michael Hoppé and Tim Wheater
The Lover
Michael Hoppé and Tim Wheater
2001 / Spring Hill Music
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I must warn you that The Lover is so utterly classy that you will feel you should dress up to listen to it! Originally released in time for Valentine’s Day shopping, this mostly spoken-word CD is wonderful at any time of the year. Michael Hoppé has created loving backdrops of washes of music to enhance Tim Wheater’s reading of the love poems of Carl Sandburg. I have been a longtime fan of Wheater’s flute playing, but had no idea he has such an incredible voice - a rich, deep baritone full of strength and tenderness. This CD came into being because of Hoppé’s earlier collaboration with cellist Martin Tillman, “The Poet”. That album was Hoppé’s music composed to go with photographic portraits his grandfather, E.O.Hoppé, had taken of various poets, including Carl Sandburg. Sandburg’s granddaughter, Helga, discovered the album and shared it with Sandburg’s biographer, Penelope Niven. None of the Sandburgs or the biographer had ever seen E.O. Hoppé’s portrait, and Niven was compelled to learn more about the photographer. This quest brought the biographer and Michael Hoppé together to discuss the fusion of poetry and music. Hoppé then asked Wheater to read some of Sandburg’s poems aloud so he could listen and begin to compose. The result is an incredibly beautiful package that includes a booklet with the poems written out. The poems themselves are short, and range from the love of an elderly mother for her son to a husband wishing he had never met his wife. The emotional span is wide but never melodramatic, and the background music is very quiet and unobtrusive. Hoppé also includes six “interludes” which are musical pieces without any words over them. Three of these pieces are from other Hoppé albums or compilations, and complement the poems beautifully. They also refresh the ear before going on to more spoken voice. Michael Hoppé is one of my favorite artists, and this album is one more reason why. The collaboration of three artists of such a high caliber is always breathtaking, and this is no exception! Highly recommended.
April 4, 2001
More reviews of Michael Hoppé albums
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