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for Voice and Orchestra

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December Songs
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Posted on Friday, October 21, 2022

December Songs for Voice and Orchestra

Having known Maury Yeston since 1977, and having worked with him on several productions, I’ve often had the good fortune of hearing his theatrical scores as they were being written. He called me on the phone and played me songs from Grand Hotel as he was writing them in Boston. I was there as his Phantom took shape. And I remember so clearly when he sent me his December Songsin 1991, well before it had received its first performance. I was instantly taken with its story of a woman coming to terms with a failed relationship and gaining the strength and wisdom to move on. I myself was going through a bad break-up at the time — the kind that often precedes one finding one’s true love — and I said to Maury when I had finished listening, “You just saved me thousands of dollars in psychotherapy.“

I was smitten with the work, and was thrilled to see this song cycle designed for voice and piano not only embraced by critics and audiences, but performed throughout the world. But from knowing Maury, I knew that his great dream was to see it enlarged to symphonic proportions. Maury and I started to toss around that idea a few years ago, and brainstorm artists who could both soar above a 37-piece orchestra yet retain all of the subtleties and nuances of the piece. Someone who could triumphantly make it their own. When we thought of Vicki Clark, we knew we had the answer. There are few artists who so devote themselves to a work, who pour every ounce of talent and emotion they have into a piece — and watching her tackle the song cycle over a four month rehearsal period and then commit to it so forcefully in the studio was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.

As Vicki herself noted, following the recording dates,“As I studied and worked, the songs began to take on a momentum of their own, guiding and teaching me about my own life— moments I had overlooked or forgotten, powerful or painful or triumphant turning points that I had brushed aside or pushed down, and it seemed that my whole life came rushing back to me like leaves falling all around me on a blustery day. For me December Songs is about grace, acceptance and ultimately forgiveness, as a woman in the winter of her journey puts the pieces of her life back together again and finds joy and relief once more in this moment. There is no question that recording this album was one of the greatest gifts of my professional life.” Philip and I are so proud to unveil December Songs for Voice and Orchestra.

— Tommy Krasker, October 2022
       
     

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