Here's your classical disc of the week for Nov. 10, 2013. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.

Artist: Suzie Leblanc, soprano; The Elizabeth Bishop Players, Dinuk Wijeratne, conductor; The Blue Engine String Quartet.

Repertoire: Songs on poems by Elizabeth Bishop; music by Alasdair MacLean, John Plant, Emily Doolittle and Christos Hatzis.

Label: Centrediscs.

Since 2007, when she stumbled across a leaflet about the poet Elizabeth Bishop at a church in Great Village, Nova Scotia, the Acadian singer Suzie Leblanc has been obsessed with the acclaimed American writer. Leblanc has made it her mission to bring Bishop's Canadian heritage to light, and to celebrate this brilliant writer by commissioning new song settings of her poems.


The title track from the album "I am in Need of Music" featuring soprano Suzi LeBlanc, written by composer Christos Hatzis.

Bishop, who was born in Massachusetts, spent periods of her childhood with her grandparents in Nova Scotia. She went on to become one of the most acclaimed writers in America, appointed Poet Laureate in 1949 and awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1956.

Leblanc says she was "mesmerized by Bishop's view of things" and invited several Canadian composers to set her potent texts to music.

The result is I Am in Need of Music, a terrific new CD out on the Canadian Music Centre's Centrediscs label. It features the work of five Canadian composers who bring their individual voices to bear on Bishop's words.

And while their compositional styles vary, each composer enhances the rhythmic sensuousness of Bishop's texts. The result is contemporary art song with broad appeal found both in the words and in the music it has inspired. Leblanc, ably accompanied by a 17-piece instrumental ensemble, sings with clarity, ease and a gorgeous top register that is quite simply dazzling.

posted by Denise Ball on Nov 09, 2013