Fresh off her successful solo debut at Carnegie Hall, soprano Natalie Mann tackles an ambitious project—the songs of Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas—with palpable confidence and a thrilling balance of vocal strength and sensitivity. Ably accompanied by pianist Jeffrey Panko, Mann has never sounded better, her round tone and emotional range sublime or thunderous as the material demands. Mann makes Emily Dickinson’s meditations on God (which Thomas quotes from “I Never Saw a Moor”) ring with dewdrop tenderness and poignancy. Highly recommended.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).