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Bridge Records Releases "Songs and Encores" Featuring Songs of Tobias Picker

Dec. 01, 2006

Bridge Records has released "Songs and Encores" featuring several songs of Tobias Picker sung by soprano Judith Bettina.  Among the Picker selections included on the new disc are Native Trees and To The Insects on texts of W. S. Merwin; Half a Year Together on a text by Richard Howard; When We Meet Again, a setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay; and not even the rain on a text of e. e. cummings.

Judith Bettina's long and intimate history with these songs is reflected in her comments about these works:

When We Meet Again was an unexpected gift; the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem was chosen to cheer me up, which it immediately did.  When the Group for Contemporary Music invited both Tobias and me to give a recital in New York, Half a Year Together was composed just in time for the concert. I can’t help but wonder if our busy schedules that year influenced the rapid tempo in the setting of the poem by Richard Howard. As Tobias started spending more of his time surrounded by trees in his home outside of Manhattan, he was drawn to poems about nature. He chose to set two W.S. Merwin poems, To the Insects and Native Trees.  No longer living in New York either, my husband, pianist James Goldsworthy, and I performed these songs over the telephone, which is how Tobias heard them for the very first time. Wending my way back East, the premiere of not even the rain was given in New York. It is a song of great intimacy, reflecting both the unique syntax and punctuation of the e. e. cummings poem. And so, these songs have been a journey; a journey that I have been honored to be part of.  Each song is a landscape of longing and love that touch the heart.


With the release of this new recording, the distinguished American soprano Judith Bettina has assembled a highly varied recital of recent American song.  Accompanied by pianist James Goldsworthy, the pair present numerous first recordings of songs composed for and dedicated to them.  Indeed, this disc is a tribute to Ms. Bettina’s long relationships with a stylistically broad range of American composers including, in addition to Tobias Picker, Milton Babbitt, Christopher Berg, Chester Biscardi, Mel Powell and David Rakowski. 

For more information about Tobias Picker, please visit

For more information about Judith Bettina, please visit

To purchase the Bridge CD, please visit