I long and seek after

to be released March 22nd, 2024

My earnest work as a composer started at the age of 40, when I could no longer ignore the task of truly figuring myself out. I naturally gravitated toward art song for several reasons: the first being the ridiculous amount of hours spent watching MTV in the 80’s and that subsequent imprinting on my musical sensibilities; the second being how so much of my performance career happened to be in collaboration with many amazing vocalists; and finally how thankful I am that the combination of words and music together was the only thing that could attempt to explain or express what was going on inside me as I made efforts to find out exactly who I was.

Ever since I started composing, I have been dedicated to writing art song where instruments other than the piano evocatively give sonic emotional support to vocalists. This album showcases the many collaborations I have had since 2016, and it also comes when I turn 50 this year. Instead of pining for younger days, I celebrate this with excitement – especially when I am in such awe of the wonderful artists I am fortunate enough to call my colleagues.

About the Pieces

Space, in Chains is a set of three songs using the text of acclaimed poet Laura Kasischke. Her poetry is a series of abstract, yet vivid episodes that paint a surrealist portrait of everyday suburban life and these three particular poems address loss in very different ways.

Welcome to the Broken Hearts Club features the poetry of then seventeen-year-old Weatherspoon, whose verses speaking about the glory, the beauty, the awkwardness, and the inconvenience of love reflect those of someone in their 40’s instead of the young person we have before us. Meyer says, “In this piece, I take inspiration from various song genres – from Art Song and Opera to Broadway and Pop – while painting an aural canvas that gives much room to showcase the emotional gravitas of the text.”

The text for Things I forgot to tell you is taken from a letter written by Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller, during a year where her revelatory sexual and spiritual awakening evolved in tandem with her bouts of obsessive love, captured eloquently in her religiously kept journals. The violist serves to tell the story of the text – from using harmonics as if they are instead playing an indigenous flute, to a series of florid and passionate gestures to express that moment when one is blind to anything else but the built-up fantasy of how one perceives the situation.

Jennifer Beattie is a poet (and mezzo-soprano) who writes very emotionally direct text. This is exuberantly showcased through Meyer’s visceral musical narrative in On fire, no…after you. According to Meyer, “It is about that moment when you realize you have fallen in love and that breathless-passionate-yet-anxiously-fragile feeling that can overwhelm you in the early stages of such a relationship.”

The Last Rose is a setting of Thomas Moore’s poem “The Last Rose of Summer” that also serves as a commentary on how certain uses of social media, the internet, and texting can make humans feel even lonelier than before this technology was invented.

The title work, I long and seek after, uses Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho fragments as a 21st Century response to Schumann’s famed song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben. Meyer writes, “While the final movement of his work signaled the end of a woman’s hopes and dreams with the death of her husband, I instead wanted to depict women having the courage to live their lives boldly, while growing older gracefully, assuredly, and proudly.”

© Copyright 2017-2024 - Jessica Meyer | Composer, Violist, Educator