A Song Cycle With Bells On

pregardien2_small.jpgBY FRED KIRSHNIT [NY Sun, 13 December 2005]
There are four distinct types of song recitals. The most popular are those mounted by opera singers, who are often woefully untrained to sing lieder; the song portion of the evening tends to be short at these events, and everyone waits for the encores, which will consist of opera highlights. Recitals can also be crazyquilts of individual songs with little rhyme or reason to their juxtapositioning. Then, of course, there are the programs wherein an actual lieder singer comes to perform. And then there are presentations of a much more substantial menu that impresses with a unified structure designed by its composer: the song cycle.