Soprano Measha Brueggergosman's first disc as part of her exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammphon, titled Surprise, will feature the world-premiere recording of recently orchestrated songs by William Bolcom. Joining her on the album are the BBC Symphony Orchestra and its principal guest conductor, David Robertson. Bolcom himself accompanies Brueggergosman on the piano in many songs.
The 29-year-old sings Bolcom's Toothbrush time, George and Song of Black Max, among others; Schoenberg’s Brettl Lieder; and songs by Erik Satie, including Je te veux, La Diva de l’Empire and L’Omnibus Automobile.
“The trick is never to allow the singing to overwhelm the storytelling," Brueggergosman said of the works in a statement. "The Bolcom songs sit lower so you have a much easier time making them talky. But it’s much more of a challenge in the Schoenberg and Satie – though in the case of the Satie, which goes in for the kind of schmaltzy melodic richness that only the French can do, it’s just fine by me if people say ‘Oh, will you just listen to that!’"
Known for both her effervescence and rapturous voice, the singer showed up to the recording sessions at BBC's Maida Vale Studios in London wearing a t-shirt inscribed with the words, “BOYS NOT ALLOWED”, placed above “Men very welcome” in smaller lettering.
Her last commercial recording of Bolcom's work was released in 2005 on the Naxos label and won four Grammy Awards. The live recording of Songs of Innocence and Experience, based on the poetry of William Blake, with Leonard Slatkin and the orchestra and chorus of the University of Michigan, involved around 450 people.
Surprise is slated for release in the U.S. on October 9 and in Canada on September 11; its international release is set for early 2008.