Irena Welhasch Baerg, soprano
Mark Payne, piano
Works by Dvorak, Debussy, Poulenc, Stepovyj, Schubert, R. Strauss
I am thrilled to announce the official release of double-disc recording of Art Song classics. This project is a culmination of my beloved art song repertoire that had to take a backseat to the sheer number of operas performed over a 20 yr. operatic career. When my husband, accepted a university position in 1996, we moved our family to London, Ontario. Finding a great pianist to work along side us for the next part of our journey happened quite soon upon arriving. We found a young man by the name of Mark Payne. His talent and commitment to making great music continued to inspire. Years of recitals and gala concerts, accompanying so many of our students covered, literally, thousands of songs. As we chose the songs for a recording, we decided to do the first one jointly with my husband. Thus, was born our La Mystique D’Amour recording. Our beloved Debussy’s Proses Lyrique had to wait until the next time, as the Baudelaire Cinques Poemes won out as my choice for the first recording. In fact, Mark and I recorded the Proses Lyriques 15 yrs. ago and now again, for this labour of love: Songs My Mother Taught Me. As the list of composers and languages was formed, Lysenko (Ukrainian) Dvorak (Czech) Schubert and R. Strauss (German) Debussy and Poulenc (French), I saw before me the very route my mother took through these countries, escaping World War II, Ukraine. Thus, the very personal title of Songs My Mother Taught Me from Dvorak’s Gypsy Songs was chosen as that of our recording. The picture on the cover is, that of, my mother, Sofia Welhasch (Tukalo).
In addition to the collection of art song on this recording is, Mark Payne’s piano solo contribution. This became such a highlight for me in the continuity of a collection of this magnitude. Mark chose five wonderful solo works by the various composers which suited the groups of songs beautifully. It created an elegant passage from language to language, country to country. He presents works by Debussy, Poulenc, Kossenko, Ljudkevich and Richard Strauss.
Alex Baerg and his business partner, Randy Rektor of Studio B – Music Services engineered the recording from start to finish. Printing and mechanical merchandising is under Indie Pool.
I hope you enjoy this collection of songs and piano miniatures. They tell the story of many lives. Some lives are done, some are works in progress and some are, yet to be. The stories are universal and yet, very personal.
Special thanks to Mark Payne, Ted Baerg. Alex Baerg and Sofia Welhach (Tukalo).