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December Songs
     

December Songs

by Maury Yeston
 
Inspired by Schubert's "Winter Journey," musical theater composer Maury Yeston wrote his song cycle December Songs, ten romantic ballads, and it was premiered by Andrea Marcovicci at the Weill Recital Hall in New York City in 1991. Marcovicci recorded it as an album in 1992, and Metropolitan Opera star

Overview

Inspired by Schubert's "Winter Journey," musical theater composer Maury Yeston wrote his song cycle December Songs, ten romantic ballads, and it was premiered by Andrea Marcovicci at the Weill Recital Hall in New York City in 1991. Marcovicci recorded it as an album in 1992, and Metropolitan Opera star Harolyn Blackwell gave it another recording on her 1994 album Strange Hurt, pairing the relatively brief collection with songs from Ricky Ian Gordon's Genius Child. In 2003, five of the songs were featured on the various-artists album The Maury Yeston Songbook. French singer Isabelle Georges, who appeared in the European premiere of Yeston's musical Titanic in 2000, is co-billed with pianist Stan Cramer on this recording of the material. Yeston, who co-produced the album, wrote a new song, "Strange," for Georges to use as an encore in live performances of December Songs, but it introduces the cycle here. In effect, this is really two different albums on one disc, since Georges sings the songs in English and then repeats them (just the original ten) in French. December Songs is, as might be expected, a wistful work. Yeston's background in the musical theater certainly comes through in the sense of character and the suggestions of stories in the songs, but the cycle does not add up to a single plot, nor do the songs necessarily seem to be sung by a single female character. But the sensibility is consistent, as the singer alternately longs for romance and fears it, when she isn't recalling a past love or reflecting on other sentimental subjects. The music is more substantial and inventive than the lyrics, although one can easily imagine one of these songs turning up in a theatrical production. Georges has a warm, expressive voice, and she negotiates English effectively except when the tempo picks up and the lyrics get more numerous, such as in "Where Are You Now?" and "I Had a Dream About You." Then, her accent becomes more noticeable and her interpretations less sure. The English-language versions feature added instruments, although not many. When Georges turns to the French versions (with translations by Boris Bergman), she becomes much more comfortable, and Cramer becomes her only accompanist. This second half of the disc is very much the superior one even if, for the English speaker, it is less comprehensible.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2006
Label:
P.S. Classics
UPC:
0803607063726
catalogNumber:
637
Rank:
105653

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Strange, song
  2. December Snow
  3. Where Are You Now?
  4. Please Let's Not Even Say Hello
  5. When Your Love Is New
  6. Bookseller in the Rain
  7. My Grandmother's Love Letters
  8. I Am Longing
  9. I Had a Dream About You
  10. By the River
  11. What a Relief
  12. La neige en dècembre
  13. Où es tu
  14. Je t'en prie ne dis pas un mot
  15. L'amour voit le jour
  16. L'homme aux livres sous la pluie
  17. Tes lettres d'amour grand mère
  18. Je n'attends que d'être aimée
  19. J'ai fait un rêve de nous
  20. La rivière
  21. Tu peux souffler

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Maury Yeston   Primary Artist
Martin Agee   Violin
Clay Ruede   Cello
Steve Kenyon   Clarinet
Larry Hochman   Percussion,Celeste,Conductor
Michael Nicholas   Viola
Brian Miller   Flute
Stan Cramer   Piano
Brian Miller   Flute
Ellen Katz-Willner   Oboe D'amore
Isabelle Georges   Vocals
Michael Nicholas   Viola

Technical Credits

Philip Chaffin   Executive Producer
Tommy Krasker   Producer
Maury Yeston   Composer,Lyricist,Producer
Phil Chaffin   Executive Producer
Bernard Jacobson   Liner Notes
Bill Moss   Engineer

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