Singers
Acclaim
CD Review: a lad’s love, tenor Brian Giebler

In his impressive solo recording debut a lad’s love, released on Bridge Records, the New York City-based tenor turns his focus to British songs from the first half of the 20th century — a mix of cycles and individual works — and tops off the playlist with a touch of the modern...

 

One such work is the opener, Ivor Gurney’s Ludlow and Teme. A must-listen, it’s the perfect introduction to Giebler’s bold, clear, and ringing tenor, and on at least one occasion his heavenly falsetto. It also shows off the skill and perceptiveness of the entire ensemble as they convincingly navigate a variety of moods...

 

At the opposite end of the disc is another memorable sextet, “Because I liked you better” from Ian Venables’ Songs of Eternity and Sorrow (2004). The lone venture outside of the 20th century, its sound world still fits nicely into the tradition of English song. But its sadness is perhaps more forward and raw than any of the earlier material, making its impact at the conclusion of the playlist all the more stunning.

 

Another highlight is Benjamin Britten’s Canticle II: “Abraham & Isaac.” In the role of the father, Giebler fills his voice with religious conviction, while countertenor Reginald Mobley brings beautiful sensitivity to the son who gradually comes to terms with the idea of being sacrificed.

McGhee offers characterful underpinning in Britten’s sometimes quirky writing, and the pair of singers mingle and trade off parts with artfulness and precision. Most poignant is when, in the end, after Isaac has in fact been spared, Giebler and Mobley join together in “Amen” — a mirror image of the beginning, when they sang together as the voice of God.

Art-song duos by Britten, Peter Warlock, Roger Quilter, and John Ireland offer vivid pictures of emotion, and showcase the tight-knit partnership between Giebler and McGhee. In a few of them, the tenor hints at his experience in musical theater with an extra pure and straight-toned voice..."

Jarrett Hoffman, ClevelandClassical.com
CD Review: ACRONYM Brings Neglected Works To Vivid Life

"Cantica Obsoleta: Forgotten Works from the Düben Collection. ACRONYM. Olde Focus Recordings FCR917

 

It is no wonder why listening to the repertoire on ACRONYM’s latest disc is so rewarding. The 12 pieces are culled from 2,300 in the collection of the Düben family, whose members over three generations served as Kapellmeisters for the Royal Swedish Court in Stockholm; they are the best of the best...

 

...why these individualistic and characterful works should ever have become obsolete is a question hard to answer. The good news that yet another example of historical injustice in the field of music is being set aright. ACRONYM has a reputation for doing just that in their concerts and recordings.

 

The instrumentalists of ACRONYM are also among the best of the best...Listening to the vocalists — soprano Hélène Brunet, alto Reginald Mobley, tenor Brian Giebler, and bass Jonathan Woody — in the opening phrase of Cantate domino canticum novum by Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725), the word that comes to mind is opulent — four gem-like voices that reflect off each other as if set in a diadem...

 

...Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe by Johann Martin Radeck (1623-84) starts with a long instrumental movement before the tenor begins his aria of brave devotion. Radeck flourished as an organist at a number of churches in Copenhagen. I hope he had a tenor with the same ringing and spacious quality as Giebler..."

Benjamin Dunham, Early Music America
CD Review — ACRONYM: Cantica Obsoleta

"...For their 10th album, Cantica Obsoleta, the Baroque band has selected instrumental and vocal works from what is known as the Düben Collection, a set of 2,300 manuscripts in the library of Uppsala University in Sweden...Based on what’s packaged here, the Düben is truly buried treasure...

 

...Each vocalist receives their own solo track...A long, thoughtful introduction from the instrumentalists of ACRONYM sets the stage for tenor Brian Giebler’s solemn, spirited, and dramatic portion of Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe, by Johann Martin Radeck..."

Jarrett Hoffman, ClevelandClassical.com
A Lad's Love and More from Brian Giebler

"...the beauty, sweetness, and youthful sheen of Brian Giebler's extremely fine tenor is ideally suited for this collection of English songs...Giebler's innate sincerity...is so intelligently allied with his choir boy-like tonal clarity that it unfailingly brings the beauty and meaning of his chosen songs and lyrics to the fore...Giebler gives his considerable all to the recording’s centerpiece, Britten’s almost 17-minute Canticle II, Abraham & Isaac Op. 51 (1952).  Ideally abetted and balanced by countertenor Reginald Mobley, whose Isaac sounds so sweet, innocent, desperately fearful, and trusting that you could cry, Giebler imbues Abraham with convincing passion. His swell from piano to forte is seamless, and the performance so convincing that you’d think Britten wrote Canticle II for him and Mobley rather than his partner, Peter Pears, and Kathleen Ferrier...Ultimately, A Lad’s Love is a collection of beautifully sung English songs that explore the love and loss at the core of the human experience. Like all great art, the meaning and beauty of songs and lyrics are universal. Highly recommended."

 

 

Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

"Perhaps the finest was the tenor Brian Giebler’s aria, 'Erwäge' ('Consider'), rendered with lovely tone and deep expressivity, and beautifully accompanied by the violinists Lorenzo Colitto and Beth Wenstrom."

James Oestreich, New York Times

"The aria soloists each brought personality and a high degree of musicality to their work and were markedly different in voice from the leading characters. There was not a weak link in the bunch. The sweetness of Giebler’s impressive high tenor created the image of a youth witnessing the passion unfolding before him, yet only able to internalize his thoughts about the action. Giebler was especially fine in the coloratura da capo aria Erwäge ('Ponder'). In the repeated first section, he reduced his dynamic, yet was in full control of his sound and the many notes. He was the only one of the soloists who did much in the way of added ornamentation during the da capo repeats." 

Timothy Robson, ClevelandClassical.com
Apollo’s Fire: “Sacred Bach — a spiritual journey” at St. Paul’s, Cleveland Heights (Mar. 24)

"It's not always the case that vocal soloists and choruses rise to the same level as their instrumental colleagues, but on Friday evening, sopranos Molly Netter and Madeline Apple Healey, countertenor Daniel Moody, tenors Brian Giebler and Jacob Perry, baritone David McFerrin, and Apollo’s Singers were every bit as polished as Apollo’s Fire itself. Moody’s bright, strong voice, Netter’s rich but lithe singing, Perry’s warm tone and communicative skill, Giebler’s expressive and elegant phrasing, and McFerrin’s robust declamation distinguished both recitatives and arias in the two cantatas, and Healey and Moody contributed a lovely duet in the “Domine Deus” of the Mass...a brilliant concert."

 

 

Daniel Hathaway, ClevelandClassical.com
Cleveland Orchestra: all-Stravinsky with Cleveland Orchestra Chorus & Seraphic Fire (Mar. 16)

"Those who say they like or don’t like the music of Igor Stravinsky risk being detained for further questioning: which of the different styles the composer took on and discarded during his long 20th-century career are you referring to? There were several to be heard on The Cleveland Orchestra’s all-Stravinsky program on Thursday evening, all masterfully performed under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst with the help of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Miami’s Seraphic Fire...

 

The second half of the program was devoted to Exhibit D, a single work from Stravinsky’s late period. After toying with 12-tone composition, he finally went all the way with Threni: Lamentations of Jeremiah in 1957-58, creating a work that Welser-Möst, in an unusual speech to the audience, called “hellishly difficult.” So difficult, in fact, that its early performances in Venice and Paris were disastrous.

 

Scored for large orchestra, chorus, and vocal sextet, Threni sets the Hebrew letters that head each verse of Jeremiah’s bleak poetry about the desecration of Jerusalem along with the traditional Latin text of the Book of Lamentations...

 

...The performance was ritualistic, riveting, and thoroughly impressive. The six singers from Seraphic Fire (Margot Rood, Margaret Lias, Steven Soph, Brian Giebler, James K. Bass, and Charles Wesley Evans), prepared by founder Patrick Dupré Quigley, were in complete command of their vocal roles, plucking entrance notes seemingly out of thin air...

 

...This was the kind of performance that would have delighted Stravinsky in 1958 — one that he never lived to hear...."

Daniel Hathaway, ClevelandClassical.com

"Brian Giebler (Arnalta) used his high-placed tenor with great skill, illuminating the camp episodes but offering a ravishing 'Adagiati, Poppea'."

David Shengold, Opera

Brian as Apollo in Handel's Semele with The English Concert and Clarion Choir, under the direction of Harry Bicket.

Brian Giebler brought impressive legato and attractive timbre to Apollo who brings the good news that a phoenix, actually baby Bacchus, will rise out of Semele’s ashes. A number of F-sharps were especially refulgent and Giebler has excellent breath control and an appealing light vocal color...” 

 

Jonathan Sutherland, Opera Wire

"Handel’s operatic genius comes through most powerfully in his arias for lower voices. The baritone John Brancy, singing with Musica Sacra, summoned real fire-and-brimstone energy in “Why do the nations so furiously rage together.” His onstage colleague Brian Giebler showed that tenors can storm, too, in a temperamental “Thou shalt break them” that ended with him slamming his score shut."

 

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times

Brian as Arnalta in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea with Boston Baroque:

 

"At Friday evening’s performance at Jordan Hall, the top-shelf cast admirably carried the serpentine plot, which often turns from tragedy to triumph and comedy to agony within the space of a few notes. For the most part, the singers inhabited their roles with great nuance, and no character was easy to wholly love or hate. The strong supporting cast further elevated the show. The best among those included Emily Marvosh devastating as the spurned empress Ottavia, Brian Giebler as a bawdy and sweet Arnalta, Sonja DuToit Tengblad doing double duty as the goddess Fortuna and the easily duped lady Drusilla, Kevin Langan as a staid, rational Seneca, and Carrie Cheron as a bratty Cupid and randy pageboy.”

 

Zoë Madonna, Boston Globe
Brian as Apollo in Handel's Semele with The English Concert and Clarion Choir, under the direction of Harry Bicket

Brian as Apollo in Handel's Semele with The English Concert and Clarion Choir, under the direction of Harry Bicket:

Brian Giebler, in his deus-ex-machina cameo as Apollo, sang with a light, pleasing tenor.” 

Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review

"But most impressive over all was Brian Giebler, a tenor, singing Mordecai with bright, clear tone and lively personality."

James Oestreich, New York Times

Brian as Arnalta in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea with Boston Baroque:  

Brian Giebler couldn’t help camping up Poppea’s cross-dressing nurse Arnalta, who realizes she soon will be ascending to be a great lady at court. Again we’ve seen this kind of thing before, but I enjoyed his voice and campy stage presence.” 

Susan Miron, Boston Musical Intelligencer

"Hodgins as the older Cosette also manages some beautiful vocal moments and she's the perfect counterpart for the dashing Giebler whose voice would make anyone melt."

Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld.com
BW Bach Festival Concert 4: St. John Passion (April 20)

"...Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion in Gamble Auditorium on the BW campus. Festival Director Dirk Garner conducted the Motet Choir and a professional orchestra that included members of Chatham Baroque, who had performed earlier in the Festival...Brian Giebler’s high lyric tenor was true in sound and intonation, and captured the emotions of the text. Perhaps his most effective moments were in the unaccompanied Civil War song, 'Just Before the Battle, Mother.' It was heartbreakingly simple.”

 

Timothy Robson, Cleveland Classical

"No matter how many times audiences have visited the titular setting in Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods, it's likely they've never seen the woods quite like in Charlottesville Opera's clever and masterful production running through August 5 at the Paramount Theatre. Brian Giebler may have outgrown the beanstalk but proves that age doesn't matter onstage, bringing loads of energy and childlike mannerisms to the pivotal role of Jack. His spotless tenor vocals are a highlight of the production."

Jeremy Bustin, Broadway World

Brian as Apollo in Handel's Semele with The English Concert and Clarion Choir, under the direction of Harry Bicket:

 

"The brief deus-ex-machina part of Apollo was voiced with shine and clarity by Brian Giebler."

 

David Shengold, Opera News

"One happy find among the young leads is Brian Giebler, whose choirboy looks and faultless high tenor make him a winning Marius, the ardent young revolutionary."

Misha Berson, Seattle Times
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