Notorious RBG in Song

Notorious RBG in Song

Patrice Michaels

Album review

“Having been the subject of a book, an opera by Derrick Wang, and a film, the life of U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now treated in a song recital on the Chicago label Cedille. The project is not quite as unexpected as it might appear; Ginsburg has contributed to Cedille projects in the past, and this project appears to be the brainchild of her daughter-in-law, soprano Patrice Michaels, making the release into something between a family album and a Festklang, one might say. Michaels is not only the singer but the composer of the main work on the album, The Long View: A Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Nine Songs. Michaels sets letters real and imagined, as well as other Ginsburg family documents, concluding with a montage of Ginsburg opinions on the Supreme Court and the speech that gives the album its title. This last, pitched at a more expressive level, is quite inspiring. The appeal of the rest of the songs depends instead on the unexpected effect of hearing prosaic texts set to song. A few songs by other composers are included and draw on this same effect; choice among them, and perhaps the highlight of whole project, is Vivian Fung's Pot Roast à la RBG, which is exactly what it sounds like: a recipe. The finale is an excerpt from Wang's opera Scalia/Ginsburg. Sure to delight RBG fans, this is, in its way, a remarkable tribute to a great American.”

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Record label



    8 June 2018