Friday 10 September 2021

Faced with the lack of representation of their own experiences in the traditional song repertoire, soprano Samantha Crawford and pianist Lana Bode set about creating their own programme

Lana Bode and Samantha Crawford performing dream.risk.sing (Photo Frances Marshall)
Lana Bode and Samantha Crawford performing dream.risk.sing (Photo Frances Marshall)

Faced with the challenge of finding song repertoire which reflected the diversity of their experiences and frustrated by the lack of representation in traditional song repertoire, British soprano Samantha Crawford and American pianist Lana Bode have set about doing it for themselves. The two have created a programme that tells women's stories from a woman's perspective. The result, dream.risk.sing was developed during 2020 and Crawford and Bode will be presenting a pared down version of the recital at the Oxford Lieder Festival on 22 October 2021 at a late-evening concert which will also be live-streamed and available on the festival's website until 30 November 2021.

The centrepiece of the recital is the premiere of a song cycle by composer Charlotte Bray and poet Nicki Jackowska. Crossing Faultlines explores the topic of women in the workplace, perhaps the first song-cycle so to do. Also in the programme are two new piano arrangements of songs from Judith Weir's orchestral song cycle, which was originally written for Jessye Norman in 2000 and the cycle formed the inspiration for dream.risk.sing.

There are songs by Carson Cooman, about women oppressed through religious fundamentalism, by Ricky Ian Gordon, his tribute to his mother, by Helen Grime, songs from her cycle about motherhood, and by Michele Brourman, about passing the torch to future generations of women. There are also older songs, Dvorak's Songs my mother taught me and Florence Price's The Heart of a Woman.

Crawford and Bode are also recording a fuller version of the programme for Delphian records, and the disc will also include songs by Libby Larsen, Rebecca Clarke, Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler.

Further details of the concert from the Oxford Lieder Festival website.

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