Ruby Hughes releases "Songs for New Life and Love" with BIS

3 September 2021

For her latest recording, Songs for New Life and Love, Ruby Hughes has devised a recital focussing on the timeless issues that shape human existence: love and loss, pregnancy and parenthood.

The process began in 2018 when Ruby Hughes and Joseph Middleton gave the world première of Helen Grime’s Bright Travellers, a set of five poems charting the interior and exterior worlds of pregnancy and motherhood. Ruby soon set about planning a programme which would converge with Grime’s music and the themes of new life and of love in all its aspects. The recital is bookended by two song cycles by Gustav Mahler which explore love, grief, loss and reconciliation through quite different lenses. In the opening cycle we experience Mahler as solitary wayfarer and hear of unrequited love. In Kindertotenlieder, the second cycle, the poet Friedrich Rückert pours out his pain as a grieving father in songs about the beauty and innocence of children. Completing the programme is Charles Ives – described by Ruby Hughes as Mahler’s ‘musical kindred spirit’ – with a selection of love songs, prayers and lullabies.

A teaser trailer of the album can be viewed here.

Recent review from Geoff Brown, The Times:

"I can’t recall a recent vocal album curated and performed with such care. Its starting point was a 2017 song cycle by Helen Grime powerfully charting the motherhood experience in words and music both poetic and blunt. This led Hughes and her nimble piano partner, Joseph Middleton, to songs by Mahler and Charles Ives (a most fruitful pairing), variously musing over love, new life and its corollary, death. The result is an album not designed for cherry-picking but for splendid absorption as a whole.

Hughes feels deeply every word she sings...

… nothing obscures this glorious singer’s radiant tone and sensitive phrasing or the strong sense of her beating heart."

Out now for purchase via Presto Classical - Songs For New Life and Love - BIS: BIS2468 - SACD or download | Presto Music.

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