One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961)
Unexpected Shadows
The Breaking Waves (2011): Music [2:58]
The Work at Hand (2015) [18:39]
If I Were You (2019): “Ice Cube Aria: I don’t have to do a thing” [3:28]
Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian (2015) [15:32]
Of Gods & Cats (1996) [6:29]
Statuesque (2005) [19:23]
Jamie Barton (mezzo)
Jake Heggie (piano)
Matt Haimovitz (cello)
rec. 2019, Skywalker Sound, Marin County, USA
Notes and text in English
PENTATONE PTC5186836 [66:40]

This is a recital disc of the songs of American Composer Jake Heggie, whose name has been most associated with his opera Dead Man Walking, which was based on the book by the Roman Catholic Sister Helen Prejean; an account of her years working with death row inmates. Heggie has also been a prolific composer of song cycles, so a new CD of his work is always welcome. This one is especially welcome because of the presence of star mezzo Jamie Barton. The collaboration between composer/accompanist and singer has obviously benefitted from a mutually sincere artistic connection. The auditory evidence for this is strewn throughout this recital in each song on the program.

The recital opens with “Music” from the Breaking Waves cycle. This was collaboration with Sister Prejean in which she reminisces about discovering that an inmate she was working with was deprived of listening to music for over a year, and how he came alive again once she arranged for him to have a tape player. Work at Hand is taken from the poetry of writer Laura Morefield, who was diagnosed with cancer in her late 40s. During the cycle we are taken through an artist’s journey that shifts from focusing on how the loved ones in her life will cope in “Individual Origami”. This passes into “Warrior One” which is a personal resistance song against the overwhelming forces of the disease. The final song of the cycle,“The Slow Seconds” reveals a soul beginning to let go by passing into parts of the natural world around her. Here, Barton’s pointed singing is restrained and delicate, especially in a moving rendition of the downward melisma that concludes “Warrior One”.

The Ice Cube aria” from the opera If I Were You has the feel of a two-o’clock in-the-morning torch song, yet is really an almost gleeful account of a Mephistophelian character observing human resolve ever melting like an ice cube. In the cycle Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian, the songs play with the inner worlds of four Presidential wives via the objects they have left in the Smithsonian Institution. In the song “Abraham Lincoln’s Hat” the repeated refrain of “in a world where this can happen / Only madness rhymes” is a stunningly apt metaphor for the current global crisis. The next cycle, Of Gods and Cats the songs conceive of God as an undisciplined little child creating and destroying his playthings for which he gets scolded by his mother. The true highlight of the disc is the incredibly witty, erudite cycle Statuesque which places the listener inside the minds of five renowned female sculptures that were created by artists such as Picasso and Giacometti. The final song of “Winged Victory (We’re Through!)” concerns the famous statue dating from 190 BC which is prominently displayed in the Louvre Museum. This song is a tour-de-force conclusion to this disc as Heggie and Barton leap into the wonderful irony of the disjointed thoughts running through the mind of a headless statue. 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. Pentatone’s excellent presentation features a gatefold style case coupled with the wonderful sound engineering making this CD one of my choices for Recording of the Year.

Mike Parr

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3