No doubt this has been an exceptional year, in mainly unfortunate ways. Challenging times also present us with opportunity: to see things differently, to shake up old habits, to do things that weren’t possible during the status quo. And so, the Modern Muses project was born.
Well, not born exactly, because we have been performing this music for years, ever since we became good friends and wanted an excuse to spend more time together and collaborate. It so happens that there aren’t a lot of well-known pieces for soprano and cello duet, and so began a treasure hunt of sorts. After hours in the Northwestern University library and combing the internet, we found a neat little collection of pieces to perform, vowing that one day we would record these hidden gems, many of which have never before been recorded.
It’s hard to carve out time in the margins for special projects, and this album got pushed to the back burner season after season until the world came to halt in the spring of 2020, as COVID-19 made it unsafe to carry on with our performance commitments. We saw our chance to at last fulfill our intentions, and in August, the gears started turning to make it happen.
Although we’ll remember this year as one full of obstacles, we will have something wonderful to show for it, with what we hope will be a lasting contribution to an underappreciated niche of classical music.