Songs from Spoon River

Record Details

Songs from Spoon River Album Art

Songs from Spoon River, Reflections of a Peacemaker, and Other Vocal Music by Lita Grier

Five Songs for Children

Michelle Areyzaga, soprano;  Welz Kauffman, piano

1.  Afternoon on a Hill
2.  The Seashell
3.  Someone
4.  Who Has Seen The Wind
5.  The Bluebird
6.  Sneezles

Michelle Areyzaga, soprano;  Anne Bach, oboe;  Tina Laughlin, percussion; William Billingham, piano

Five Songs from a Shropshire Lad

Robert Sims, baritone;  William Billingham, piano

7.  I
8.  II
9.  III
10.  IV
11. V

Two Songs from Emily Dickinson

Michelle Areyzaga, soprano;  Welz Kauffman, piano

12.  I
13.  II

Songs from Spoon River

Elizabeth Norman, soprano;  Michelle Areyzaga, soprano;  Scott Ramsay, tenor; Alexander Tall, baritone;  Levi Hernandez, baritone;  Welz Kauffman, piano;  William Billingham, piano

14.  The Hill (Part I)
15.  Sarah Brown
16.  Zenas Witt
17.  Lucinda Matlock
18.  Anne Rutledge
19.  Petit the Poet
20.  Margaret Fuller Slack
21.  Fiddler Jones
22.  Rita Matlock Gruenberg
23.  The Hill (Part II)

Reflections of a Peacemaker

Chicago Children’s Choir / Josephine Lee, conductor;  John Goodwin, piano

24.  As it was in the Beginning
25.  Eternal Role Call
26.  The Pirate Song
27.  About Living (Part III)
28.  I Am

2009  ~  Cedille Records CDR 90000 112


“Soprano Michelle Areyzaga quickly substantiates her fine reputation as a song recitalist and chamber musician through a translucent tone that shimmers across the wide range of these songs. She communicates text particularly well in a high tessitura, whether singing over spare accompaniment or at the dramatic climax of the cycle. The tone color is well chosen, reflecting the simplicity of the poetry but not neglecting the lush sounds audiences have come to expect from her singing.”
—Jamie Reimer, Journal of International Alliance for Women in Music


A find.  Michelle Areyzaga stands out as a singer who reaches out to a listener without resorting to hokey vocal clichés.
—S.G.S. – Classical CD Review


“CD of the week – Lita Grier: “Songs from Spoon River” (Cedille).

This is a wonderful collection of songs and song cycles spanning the entire career of Chicago composer Grier. Her settings of 10 poems from Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology” (a result of three Ravinia commissions) lend evocative counterforce to their bittersweet sentiments and are beautifully performed by Elizabeth Norman, Michelle Areyzaga and other local singers, with pianists Welz Kauffman and William Billingham furnishing the apt accompaniments to Grier’s 2004-09 cycle as well as to the rest of the songs on this excellently recorded disc.”
—John von Rhein – Chicago Tribune


“She’s also fortunate to have some very fine singers and pianists to present her work on this recording. Sopranos Michelle Areyzaga (who performs the majority of the songs) and Elizabeth Norman are both superb, their technique solid and their voices eminently listenable (and I don’t often say this about sopranos!)”
David Vernier – Classics Today


These musicians also literally caress the songs: it is easy to imagine Areyzaga singing to a group of children sitting in a half-circle before her.
Marvin J. Ward – Classical Voice Of New England


“Michelle Areyzaga is superb in her faultless diction and, most important, in her fine spirit. Areyzaga’s light soprano emerges as high contrast in the two Dickinson songs, set while Grier was at UCLA. The two poems are “I cannot live with you” and “I taste a liquor never brewed.” The first receives a porcelain-delicate setting that is shattered by the acerbic harmonies that underpin “And I, could I stand by/And see you freeze.” Particularly impressive in this song is the accompaniment of Welz Kauffman (although Areyzaga’s control in the slow, perilous, unaccompanied final gestures is eminently noteworthy too). The second song operates in high contrast: ‘I taste a liquor never brewed’ is a response to nature, far more intoxicating than any alcohol.”
— Colin Clarke — Fanfare