Dr. Seuss's Gertrude McFuzz & Polar Express
Featuring Isabel Leonard and Nathan Gunn
Two of the most famous and iconic Children’s Classics are turned into musical extravaganza by Composer Rob Kapilow, one of the most successful
and most performed composers on the planet. He is joined by International Superstars Nathan Gunn, who sings Polar Express and Isabel Leonard who sings Gertrude McFuzz. POLAR EXPRESS is one of the most recognizable and beloved children’s book. This piece is already the best seller at Schirmer’s and now there is finally a recording. Accompanied by full orchestra, this is a must have for Christmas and all times of the year.
Excerpt from Gertrude McFuzz
Electronic Press Kit
Kapilow is especially sensitive to Van Allsburg’s pacing: listeners can easily hear the places where
the composer moves from one page of the book to the next. The music is supportive of the narration
but also has a delightful character all its own. In The Polar Express, for instance, snatches of
Christmas carols are woven into the musical tale, while in Gertrude McFuzz,
little bits of well-known tunes are included in a score that nicely characterizes the participants –
Gertrude’s Uncle Dake, for example, gets a jazzy beat,
while Gertrude herself is accompanied by rather whiny notes that neatly
complement her temper tantrums. The performers are all first-rate,
not over-intellectualizing any of the words but not talking down to the
intended audience, either. Nathan Gunn narrates with seriousness
befitting that of an older man looking back on childhood
while retaining a sense of wonder and communicating it to children,
while Isabel Leonard offers bounce and brightness and just enough
snottiness to show a narrative disapproval of the demands of Olivia Lombardi,
who gets her comeuppance in typically gratifying and amusing Seussian fashion.
I love this new recording of Rob Kapilow's settings of Dr. Seuss's Gertrude McFuzz and
Chris von Allsburg's story The Polar Express.
Both pieces are favorites in the "family music" repertoire for young people's concerts, and it's a delight to hear them both.
Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard sings the story of Gertrude McFuzz,
a clever young bird who wants more feathers to become more
beautiful. She learns beauty comes at a price, and eventually regains her former form in order to be able to fly.
This piece is full of fun, and easily accessible to young listeners.
Baritone Nathan Gunn sings The Polar Express, the story of a young boy
who learns there actually is a Santa Claus by taking a trip on the Polar Express, a train to the North Pole.
This is the longer of the two pieces, full of descriptive language about the journey and what the boy finds at the end of it. On hearing the story, one's mind is full of beautiful images of snow and magic and joy.
Both singers are very accomplished in the opera world.
They both sing these pieces with great love and care to phrasing and text, and
there didn't seem to be a single word I couldn't understand. That is great praise for any singer, in my book!
I think this CD would be a great holiday gift for any child
who loves a good story, who loves singing, or who loves fun. I recommend it highly.
David Browning, Taminophile
Steven Jude Tietjen, Opera News, April 2015
Excerpt from Polar Express