Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Passing By


It is with great, slightly belated pleasure that I announce the release of a new disc on which I had the extraordinary privilege of participating: please give a hearty welcome to Jake Heggie's most recent compilation of his compositions for voice and piano, with a string quartet thrown in for fun entitled PASSING BY.

As if exploring new music and poetry wasn't incentive enough, he managed to draw an unbelievable line-up of singers, including Susan Graham and the legendary Frederica von Stade, to bring these pieces their world premiere recording. Jake has written an incredibly witty, gritty, heart-wrenching cycle of 4 Mother-Daughter duets - Susan joins Flicka for two, and I join her for the others, and if I tell you it was, without a doubt one of THE highlights of my musical life to sing these pieces alongside her, I think you'll understand why, once you give them a listen.

As fate dictated, I recorded them while I was in San Francisco performing Der Rosenkavalier (yes - over 3 years ago!) and my own Mother had just passed away the previous month. To sing next to Flicka as she urged me with her plangent voice to "Let it go, let it out of your heart..." the entire reason for music to exist was confirmed solidly and immovably for me, for it gave emotion to the things I was not yet ready to comprehend. I still can't quite manage to listen to the duet "Facing Forward" all the way through, and yet it was one of the most therapeutic gifts I've ever been given.

6 comments:

Squillo said...

Holy mother of Kazan, it's a mezzo lover's feast! Von Stade, Graham and DiDonato: it's like dying and going to heaven.

I'm looking forward to hearing you and Ms. Von Stade in Dead Man Walking. (Making a special trip to Houston because I can't bear to miss Flicka's final performance in an opera. She's been such a mainstay of my opera-loving life.)

Had the privilege of hearing Ms. Graham as Sister Helen at the premiere; can't wait to hear you do it.

New Older Woman said...

Dear Joyce
I feel the same way about Facing Forward/Looking Back after I play it for people they always ask for a moment, dry their eyes, and say "Play it again." I think Jake has a way of putting these poems together and making them more than they were before. "Let It Go" is the perfect ending for the emotional journey this brief song cycle takes us on. But then, I'm prejudiced. Jake has set three of my poems, all for Flicka.

Charlene Baldridge

Sarah said...

Wow. I was in SF to hear Susan Graham (and Paul sang too!) in Iphigenie - I hadn't seen the Met "Figaro" encore when I bought tickets, so I totally kicked myself later when I put two and two together and realized that I missed you as Octavian. Three years ago! Just as I was getting started in being an opera fan . . . and think about how much you have shared with us since then. Thank you!

Robin said...

I had no idea this album existed and just downloaded it from iTunes. I'm looking forward to listening to it during my run this morning.
:-)
-Robin
www.TheAthleticPerformer.blogspot.com

Haimes said...

A perfect tribute to yor mother. My album just arrived yesterday!

Keep up the great work!
Howard

Terrific Teacher said...

Yay! Can't wait to listen to it.