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A Lad's Love

Brian Giebler [J. Demetrie Photography]
Brian Giebler [J. Demetrie Photography]

WCLV's John Mills speaks by phone with tenor Brian Giebler about his upcoming album " A Lad's Love." This album will be featured as WCLV's Recording of the Week July 13-17.

In today's world and in the wake of landmark Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges (guaranteeing same sex couples the right to marry) and Loving v. Virginia (striking down laws banning interracial marriage), it can be easy to forget that "love is love" was a foreign concept in Western culture for many centuries. Not so long ago Oscar Wilde was jailed and his life ruined for simply having a homosexual relationship.

Young American tenor  Brian Giebler, in his new recording  a lad's love, reminds us that even with the punishing restrictions of an earlier time, poets and composers still created works of great beauty whose subject matter, though unstated, was obvious to their intended audience.  A lad's love, scheduled for release by Bridge Records (BRIDGE 9542) on  03 July 2020, is a stunning array of English songs from the early 20th century whose composers and poets were indeed operating on multiple levels in the words and music they created, words and music whose essential meaning still deeply moves us to this day.

As the CD's liner notes suggest, the songs on a lad's love consider "a delight in the friendships of one's youth...the pain of unrequited love...the love of one man for another...the destruction, horror, and futility of war...the natural world as metaphor for goodness, truth, order, safety, and home." These works were created in the face of lost youth, lost time, lost love, lost friends, lost life in the turbulent years of the late Victorian era. The album features extended works by  Ivor GurneyBenjamin Britten and  John Ireland, alongside shorter pieces by  Peter Warlock and  Roger Quilter, plus the only 21st century song, "Because I liked you better" by  Ian Venables. Most of the songs are set to the poetry of  A.E. HousmanW.H. AudenPercy Shelley and  F.W. Harvey.