Stearns Matthews has released the first-ever male recording of Maury Yeston's December Songs, a song cycle that explores the emotional journey made during a difficult break-up. The new recording is now available from iTunes and StearnsMatthews.com.
The recording also features Markus Grae-Hauck on piano, Amy Crafton on woodwinds, and Dave Richards on bass. A new woodwind orchestration has been written by Matthews himself, with the bass orchestration by Matthews and Richards. The CD also features liner notes written by NYC playwright-songwriter-director Barry Kleinbort.
Cabaret singer Andrea Marcovicci premiered the cycle in 1991, a commission made by Carnegie Hall for their centenary season. Since its premiere, the piece has been recorded several times in multiple languages, all performed by female singers. Matthews became interested in taking on the cycle because of its universal themes: "These feelings are as genderless as they are timeless."
Yeston's inspiration for the cycle came from Schubert's Die Winterereise, which chronicles a young man wandering the Austrian forest and lamenting the end of a love affair. Yeston's December Songs sees a young woman walking through present-day Central Park.
Matthews will celebrate the release of December Songs with two performances: December 2 at 7pm in Montclair, New Jersey, and December 20 at 9pm at New York City's Urban Stages. For more information on both performances, visit StearnsMatthews.com.
The vocalist's debut album Spark won the 2015 Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording as well as the LaMott/Friedman Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs Award for Outstanding Recording. He also won the 2015 MAC Award for Best Male Vocalist.
December Songs is released by Chlo-Rita Productions. The album is produced by Randy Crafton, with Stearns Matthews for Clo-Rita Productions as executive producer. Mixing and vocal engineering is by Randy Crafton, and the album has been mastered by Gene Paul at G&J Audio. The CD design and packaging is by Michael Hetrick.