Heggie - Unexpected Shadows | Pentatone PTC5186836

Heggie - Unexpected Shadows


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Label: Pentatone

Cat No: PTC5186836

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 18th September 2020



Jamie Barton (mezzo-soprano)
Jake Heggie (piano)
Matt Haimovitz (cello)


Heggie, Jake

Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian
If I Were You
» Ice Cube Aria 'I don't have to do a thing'
Of Gods & Cats
The Breaking Waves
» III Music
The Work at Hand


Jamie Barton (mezzo-soprano)
Jake Heggie (piano)
Matt Haimovitz (cello)


Star mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton presents a recital of songs by American composer Jake Heggie, with the composer at the piano. Unexpected Shadows is a celebration in words and music of powerful, exceptional women. The programme contains four song cycles, a single song, and an opera aria. The Work at Hand, set to poetry of the late Laura Morefield, contemplates on the brave fight against cancer that she, and millions with her, went through. Matt Haimovitz’s cello playing adds an extra layer to this profoundly moving song cycle. Iconic Legacies, on texts by Gene Scheer, offers four portraits of remarkable First Ladies. Scheer also wrote texts for Statuesque, inspired by five iconic sculptures of women and the deeply human stories within them. Of Gods & Cats, based on poetry by Gavin Dillard, offers playful parodies on religious allegories. Music, on a text by Sister Helen Prejean, addresses the transformative, healing, and humanizing power of music, while the so-called Ice Cube Aria from Heggie’s opera If I Were You, on a libretto by Gene Scheer, shows the female demon Brittomara reflecting on the delicious predictability of human nature.

Multi-award-winning mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton makes her PENTATONE debut. Jake Heggie has a vast discography with the label, including the opera It’s a Wonderful Life (2017) and song recital albums by Melody Moore, Lisa Delan and Joyce DiDonato. The same applies to Matt Haimovitz, who has released several albums on PENTATONE, from contemporary classical and jazz and rock covers to Bach’s complete cello suites.


Barton is sensationally good at that, as she is depicting a proud line-up of American First Ladies, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, in Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian. The jury at Cardiff Singer of the World knew what they were doing when they awarded the young Barton the song prize, as well as the main prize, in 2013. This disc is surely in line to win awards itself.
Financial Times
Haimovitz plays the introductory solo superbly. Other works benefit from Barton’s relish of bluesy and cabaret-like idioms, and witty declamation of Gene Scheer’s sly words  (Album of the Week)
The Sunday Times
Throughout the CD Barton employs her rich and gloriously velvet textured tone with restraint and taste only to switch to delicious abandonment such as the concluding song where she sings with such gleeful relish as to make this one track alone worth the price of the entire CD.
MusicWeb International
Jamie Barton’s all-embracing talent – her powerful presence, her spectacular vocal equipment – has a whole lot of Heggie to get hold of here. But there’s a whole lot of motivation, too, a bevy of inspiring women waiting patiently in the wings or, as the album title would have it, the ‘Unexpected Shadows’ of this collection. ... Heggie’s way with music, the way in which his choices unlock and intensify the poetry and drama of the words, is consistently illuminating, full of surprises.  Edward Seckerson
Gramophone Awards 2020
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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