Robert Schumann’s “Frauen-liebe und -Leben” performed by Katherine Merryman

Robert Schumann’s “Frauen-liebe und -Leben” performed by Katherine Merryman

Over the summer we were delighted to be approached by Soprano Katherine Merryman (USA) who was looking for a set of recordings to create a studio album. She chose to work with our existing recordings for Robert Schumann’s iconic song cycle Frauen-liebe und -Leben. Earlier this month her hard work came to fruition and we were able to take a listen to her beautiful interpretations! Hot off the presses just a few weeks ago, we caught up with Katherine to find out about the project and her life in song.

Tell us, where does your Schumann project get its origins? Why did you select this work in particular?

I had a performance with another operatic soprano on the horizon, and wanted to have an album ready for the audience by that date, so I selected Frauenliebe und -leben for both practical and personal reasons. Practically speaking, I had limited time, so this song cycle was a great album candidate since I had learned half of it many years ago, and the other half would be a swift learn.

On that personal level, I have lived the emotions of the first six songs so I could pour myself into the music and text in a way I could not have, say, 20 years ago before I met, fell in love with, and married my extraordinary husband.

Lieder, Art Song, and Mélodies/Chansons are very accessible to listeners new to the classical/operatic “sound.” This style serves as a welcoming introduction more so than dramatic, heavy opera arias that could intimidate or turn off a potential audience. Another reason is the range: Yes, I am a soprano, but there is a warmth and a richness to one’s lower range, which these songs really allow me to embrace.

So, how did you go about creating your recording?

I tend to be methodical in my approach to most everything. Being a planner and excellent time manager by nature, I treat the time between the “here and now” and the date I have scheduled with my sound engineer the way I treat the projects I manage at work. I select a date by which I want to have the work 85% ready, 95% ready, and 100% ready, focusing on the pieces, or sections of the pieces, that need more practice while keeping those I already have under my belt in good condition. 

Eventually, I arrive at the point at which I run through the entire work over and over so that I can walk into the recording studio confidently. There is a caveat to recording day, however, as I am a terrible self-critic and pick apart every single detail of my singing. My sound technician is so patient with me, doing take after take after take, even if it is just one measure due to a single note that simply will not do. 

How would you describe your purpose with these recordings? Or singing in general?

My purpose for singing is to fulfill the task given me by God. This is my gift and instrument to be used to serve His purpose. It is also pure joy to me to simply sing just as painting is to a painter or dancing to a dancer.

I felt moved to continue my pursuit of singing, to have a legitimate album available on my Electronic Press Kit, and to put myself out there doing what I was created to do. This, I have found, inspires others -which is a purpose in and of itself. What we do should inspire those around us and give them courage to dive into their own passion that has perhaps been left on the back burner, or left behind entirely.

I walked away from my music once for many years. The fruits of my return to it will, I hope, encourage someone else to pick up his or her lost passion and bring it to life again. And of course YOURACCOMPANIST is my automatic go-to. Any vocalist NOT tapping into this treasure of a resource is missing out on a goldmine of opportunity.”

Listen to the album

Find Katherine online

It was a pleasure to support Katherine in this successful production and we hope you’ll be inspired to collaborate with us on your own recordings. We are on hand to support you, and aim to tailor projects with your specific artistic vision and budget in mind.

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