The Light in the Piazza Tony winner Victoria Clark, back on Broadway in the new musical Kimberly Akimbo, lends her soaring soprano to a new recording of Maury Yeston's song cycle December Songs. Listen to Clark sing "I Am Longing" from the new album above.
December Songs for Voice and Orchestra, with Clark backed by a 37-piece orchestra conducted by Ted Sperling and newly scored by Larry Hochman, is released by PS Classics on digital and streaming formats November 11 and on CD November 25. An accompanying booklet features complete lyrics with liner notes by arts writer Matthew Gurewitsch.
The album is produced by Bart Migal, Sperling, and Yeston and is available by clicking here.
Yeston’s December Songs, patterned after Schubert’s Winterreise, was commissioned in 1991 by Carnegie Hall for Andrea Marcovicci, who can be heard on the original recording, with piano-only accompaniment. For the new album, Broadway favorite Clark put herself through a four-month rehearsal period to ensure that her journey was as detailed as if she were performing it on the stage.
Yeston says, “The excitement of the sessions at DiMenna Studio was palpable. Knowing these songs only with piano accompaniment, our jaws dropped as Ted Sperling gave the downbeat, the brass came in triple forte, and Vicki began her journey with such stunning artistry. It transformed what had been chamber music to something that I felt, as a composer, so new I could never have anticipated it. Things I had written to be intimate somehow became raised to the theatrical rhetoric of virtual symphonic dimensions, yet somehow retaining still their subtleties and delicacies."
Clark adds, “In a rare experience in our current age, we went into the studio for four days, and I recorded live with the orchestra playing Larry Hochman’s magical orchestrations. The cycle celebrates a diversity of styles, from classical, to contemporary musical theatre, to cabaret, and the gamut of emotion from humor, guile, regret, longing, despair, and courage. 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.”
Clark won Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of Margaret Johnson in the Lincoln Center Theater production of the Tony-winning The Light in the Piazza. She was also Tony-nominated for her work in Gigi, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Sister Act.