- Steven Stolen opened the 15th season of his Meridian Song Project.
Resident artist Steven Stolen with Gary Walter at the piano, Trinity Episcopal Church, Sept. 25
Steven Stolen opened the Meridian Song Project's 15th season with a roster of "songs-I've-been-meaning-to-get-to." Some seemed too intimate until now, some a bit out of style range, some simply were stories waiting to get wrapped into the amazingly symbiotic way Gary Walters and Stolen bring a song into being - always allowing the lyrics to intertwine with the music's subtext as a sculpted 3D work of art. Stolen's introductions personalize and broaden, placing each song within the context of his own life and its genesis in the world of music.
Arriving to hear the last part of the concert, this reviewer gained sufficient connections to comment on why this is a turning point in Stolen's career as a soloist and member of ensembles. One has to grow into an understanding of self that allows for vulnerability yet avoids sentimentalism.
When Stolen spotlights Ira Gershwin's lyrics apart from his collaboration with brother George, he reminds us to appreciate an artist as an individual within many contexts. The same goes for Kurt Weill's music with a range of lyricists, which allows Stolen to savor an insider moment - "September Song" is "perhaps Weill's greatest standard with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. Yep, IMA's Max's grandfather." Stolen is confessional with Sondheim - sharing a desire to remain childlike in delighting life while wanting to be seen as a responsible adult building a family that some people consider out of the mainstream.