Journey of Desire: Behold the Archer's Skill
Since First I Heard His Name
When He Pressed His Lips
Let the Flame of my Passion
The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Playmates
Catarina to Camoens / I
Elyse Anne Kakacek :
ELYSE ANNE KAKACEK RELEASES - UNTETHERED ON TRUE CAPTURE RECORDS SEPTEMBER 1
Album contains the world premiere recording of Valerie Saalbach's complete song cycles; Journey of Desire, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Catarina de Camoens.
Award winning soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek has joined forces with accompanist Christopher Fecteau to create a recording of American composer Valerie Saalbach's complete song cycles. The album, entitled Untethered, will be released on Matthan Black's True Capture Records label on September 1.
The album celebrates the world premiere recordings and interpretations of Saalbach's complete song cycles by soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek, praised by OperaNews for her "compelling, lyrical singing."
The first song cycle is entitled Journey of Desire and champions the poetry of Steven Kowit's book Gods of Rapture. This book was inspired by amatory poetry of India which Sanskrit prosodists call srngararasa, the erotic mood. The original texts upon which Kowit's poems were based are from some of the most celebrated philosophers and poets in India between the 4th and 12th centuries.
Saalbach's settings of The Poems of Emily Dickinson follow this erotic journey in a compilation which the composer says "ranges from a childlike delight to the wonder of a Morning, to the depths of love and passion."
The final song cycle contains selections from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Catarina de Camoens- poems rooted in the great love story of 16th century Portuguese poet Luis de Camoens and Catarina de Ataide. These poems were written during Elizabeth's forbidden betrothal to Robert Browning at a time when her health was failing her. The inscription under the title of the collection reads "Dying in his absence abroad and referring to the poem in which he recorded the sweetness of her eyes."
Kakacek and Fecteau first performed selections of Saalbach's Journey of Desire in the summer of 2017 as a part of dell'Arte Opera Ensemble's Untamed Festival (of which Fecteau was the Artistic Director) at La Mama Experimental Theatre in New York City. In preparation for this performance, Elyse worked closely with Saalbach in her New York City apartment, which culminated in an impromptu reading session of the composer's other song cycles.
The idea to create an album of these song cycles arose in the summer of 2018. Matthan Black of True Capture Records approached Elyse about launching a new classical music record label with an album of modern art song. "I thought of Valerie (Saalbach) right away," says Kakacek. "I saw an opportunity to give voice to a living female composer, with feminine centric music and poetry, in this time when our culture is desperately craving healthy femininity. I saw an opportunity to use music to promote social change- which can be a rare thing in classical music."
Kakacek and Black (also an opera singer) met collaborating as performers in Chicago- namely, in their work with the progressive company, Chicago Fringe Opera. Together they interpreted operas ranging from Rossini's La Cenerentola to Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. "I knew from experience that having Matthan's golden ears to guide me on this journey would make this project very special for the audience. This music is gorgeous, and not well known. I truly could not think of a better person to help me bring it to light," says Kakacek.
Black created True Capture Records to empower emerging talent to create new art. "True Capture Records exists to shine a light on the best emerging talent in classical voice," Black says. "We give the newest and brightest a chance to make art on their own terms. No huge corporations. Just pure voices doing what they do best. Telling their stories their way."
"Elyse has a particular depth of expression and artistic openness that perfectly lend themselves to this kind of open-hearted music. I knew we had something special on our hands, but I could never have imagined how poignant and impactful this recording would become," says Black.
Untethered is produced, engineered and mixed by Matthan Black. It is mastered by David Merrill.