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Classical 101

Julia Bullock, 'One by One'

For anyone concerned with the beauty and expressive possibilities of the human voice, you must hear this song sung by Julia Bullock. While she's in demand in opera houses the world over, the St. Louis, Mo. native has chosen a deep cut from left field as the first single from her much anticipated debut recital album due this December.

This simple and yet profoundly moving love song is by Connie Converse, the pioneering singer-songwriter whose brilliance flickered for but a brief moment in New York in the 1950s before, in 1974 at age 50, she disappeared, never to be heard from again.

Bullock, accompanied only by a piano, gives the song a hushed, almost prayerful tone. Listen to her stretch out the ends of the lines with exquisitely sculpted phrases. It's an intimate interpretation that, along with Converse's deceptively naïve wordcraft, you might mistake for Schubert in one of his most bittersweet moods.

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Classical 101
Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.