Emily Jaworski Koriath is one of the shining lights among contemporary classical vocalists. Her mezzo-soprano voice has graced the international stage in both the opera and choir setting and has seen her perform with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra amongst others. These Distances Between Us (21st-Century Songs of Longing) is the recently released album by Emily and her husband – piano extraordinaire, Tad Koriath.
Featuring the works of four different American composers, this NAXOS release produced by Craig Brandwein serves as a stunning exhibition of contemporary art song. We are taken on a beautiful journey by the artists; approaching the music of a different composer at each stage of the record.
The Giver of Stars: 6 Poems of Amy Lowell, is the first collection of songs, and it sees Emily and Tad showcase the compositional skill of Edie Hill. Tad’s exquisite playing navigates us through some sharp harmonic changes and Emily’s soaring voice cuts through the dissonant chords with a heart-wrenching intensity. The words of these poems introduce us to the dominant theme of the album; estrangement from one’s lover. “Why are you not here to overpower me with your tense and urgent love?” implores the final line of Vernal Equinox. Only the piano responds, reaching a thunderous crescendo and leaving the singer stranded within the ensuing silence.
Two Poems of Sulpicia sees composer Jonathan Santore adapt his original compositions for the synthesizer with which he accompanies Emily on the recordings. These atmospheric textures bring an otherworldly presence to the Roman poet’s ancient writings.
Some of the most memorable moments of this album are found within the Jessica Rudman compositions. These Distances Between Us is the suite of songs from which the release takes its name. Continuing to explore feelings of loneliness and longing, part 1 offers up some powerful imagery. “How many ways must we say goodbye?” begins Emily, sweeping us away into her forlorn soundscape. Her skillful vibrato fills the words with anguish, they seem to reach out to us from some forgotten corner of the universe… “And I am suddenly a stranger / playing a refugee in your heart.”
These Distances Between Us (21st-Century Songs of Longing) is a hauntingly beautiful body of work. It is the perfect marriage of poetry and complex, modern composition. Emily’s voice is stellar throughout and the compilation of such a diverse array of material shows her and Tad’s immense vision for this project. A highly recommended listen for any fan of the classical arts.
BELOW: Listen to These Distances Between Us (21st-Century Songs of Longing) and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Emily Jaworski Koriath and Tad Koriath by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!