The hour is striking so close above me

The hour is striking so close above me

Knowing Brad Mehldau’s work as a jazz pianist little prepared me for his opulent and somewhat aphoristic art songs for voice and piano, for which Mehldau accompanies soprano Renée Fleming on a new Nonesuch disc. Mehldau’s lush fin-de-derriere-siècle might sound a little anachronistic in these early years of the 21st century, but given that he’s setting poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, any other approach would probably not have done proper justice to the words. Besides, at this point anything goes, right? So don’t worry about the particular vintage and just enjoy the wine.

—FJO

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