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.