Baritone Stephen Swanson and pianist/composer David Gompper perform a program of songs about animals, including the world premiere recording of The Animals by David Gompper, which is a cycle of nine songs based on poetry by Marvin Bell. Ravel’s Histoires naturelles is based on prose poems by Jules Renard. Ravel experimented with new methods of setting text in this elegant song cycle. Reger’s songs were based on nursery rhymes and dedicated to his children. The selections from The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann include some of the most popular of this team’s collaboration. Beautifully sung by Stephen Swanson, a professor of voice at the University of Iowa, these bestiaries offer animal songs in English, French and German.