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Soprano Laura Strickling writes: "Song serves as one of the most important building blocks of western civilization. "The Bard" in the Ancient Greek world sang Homer's epic poems for small groups of people, probably accompanied by a simple stringed instrument like a lyre. All of our best research indicates that the Sumerian Gilgamesh Epic, give or take 1,000 years earlier than Homer's Iliad, was also likely sung, not recited. Like the contemporary songs on this album, these ancient texts shared material that was intensely personal and timelessly universal - detailing the inner world of the protagonist, revealing hopes, insecurities, fear, and longing... When a composer sets beautiful and important words to music, we hear, understand, and internalize them in a different way than we do when we read them or hear these words as speech. In the course of any recital the audience learns something about who I am as a singer, but also who I am as a person - what I believe, what moves me, my insecurities, my struggles, my fears, my hopes, what makes me happy. Connection and communication are essential to the human experience, especially right now. In opera there are costumes, cast, orchestra, conductor, elaborate sets, staging, and blinding spotlights. The composer, librettist and director determine the narrative and the cast shows the story to the audience. But in a song recital, singer and pianist share a narrative they craft through their repertoire choices and offer this narrative directly to the other people sharing their space in a concert hall, or in a room listening to a recording like this one. Song requires a commitment to honest interpersonal communication and invites an audience to participate in a group intimacy people tend to avoid these days. It is far easier to hide at home behind our technological devices..."