December Songs

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/7/2006
  • Label: P.S. Classics
  • UPC: 803607063726
  • Catalog Number: 637
  • Sales rank: 118,128

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Strange, song (3:31)
  2. 2 December Snow (3:22)
  3. 3 Where Are You Now? (1:11)
  4. 4 Please Let's Not Even Say Hello (1:52)
  5. 5 When Your Love Is New (2:01)
  6. 6 Bookseller in the Rain (3:04)
  7. 7 My Grandmother's Love Letters (3:50)
  8. 8 I Am Longing (3:35)
  9. 9 I Had a Dream About You (2:43)
  10. 10 By the River (3:44)
  11. 11 What a Relief (4:06)
  12. 12 La neige en dècembre (3:27)
  13. 13 Où es tu (1:08)
  14. 14 Je t'en prie ne dis pas un mot (1:31)
  15. 15 L'amour voit le jour (1:56)
  16. 16 L'homme aux livres sous la pluie (3:05)
  17. 17 Tes lettres d'amour grand mère (3:47)
  18. 18 Je n'attends que d'être aimée (3:26)
  19. 19 J'ai fait un rêve de nous (2:28)
  20. 20 La rivière (3:43)
  21. 21 Tu peux souffler (3:53)
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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
Joe Yannece Mastering
Bill Moss Engineer
Phil Chaffin Executive Producer
Joseph Yannece Mastering
Bernard Jacobson Liner Notes
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