Songs to the Moon (1998)
+Program Notes


Part 1: "Fairy-Tales for the Children" Poetry by Vachel Lindsay. Commissioned for Frederica von Stade by MUSIC ACCORD. Premiere: August 20, 1998 at the Ravinia Festival, Illinois, with Martin Katz, pianist

1. Prologue: Once More - To Gloriana

2. Euclid

3. The Haughty Snail-King

4. What the Rattlesnake Said

5. The Moon's the North Wind's Cooky (What the little girl said)

6. What the Scarecrow Said

7. What the Gray-Winged Fairy Said

8. Yet Gentle Will the Griffin Be (What Grandpa told the children)

Songs To The Moon was commissioned by MUSIC ACCORD, INC., a consortium of music presenters, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood; The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York City; The Krannert Center, University of Illinois, Urbana; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; The Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL; San Francisco Performances, San Francisco, CA; Spivey Hall, Clayton State College, Morrow, GA; University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and the Wolf Trap Foundation, Vienna, VA.


Dallas Morning News (February 26, 2002), Olin Chism

COMPOSER HEGGIE ALIVE AND THRIVING. Voices of Change recital honors the creator of "Dead Man Walking." The most immediately appealing of Heggie's works was a vocal cycle called "Songs to the Moon." These are witty, charming verses closely matched in tone by Heggie's music. The melodies are attractive and seem much closer to Broadway than to European art songs. By turns jazzy, folksy and bluesy, they are backed by clever and by no means predictable piano accompaniments. More sophisticated was the vocal cycle "The Starry Night." Much more serious in tone, they are impressive dramatic statements.

The Chicago Tribune (August 22, 1998), John von Rhein

"Songs to the Moon" is the third and latest in a series of song collaborations between the San Francisco composer and Von Stade. Musically the idiom slips in and out of classical, blues and jazz styles; song, speech, scat-singing and rhythmic clapping make surprisingly happy bedfellows... Heggie has captured Von Stade's personality as artist, entertainer and mother. The performances of the singer and pianist were just like the songs -- clever, charming, amusing, eager to please. The composer was present to share the audience's enthusiastic response. [recital at Ravinia]

The Sacramento Bee (April 27, 2000), William Glackin

A cycle of eight "Songs to the Moon" by the talented San Francisco composer Jake Heggie was wonderfully full of fun, both in the singing and in Heggie's exploration of the possibilities of the original poems, from "Fairy Tales for the Children" by the American poet Vachel Lindsay. The ideas are witty, both as comedy and music, and full of the unexpected. Lindsay, who believed in strong rhythms and gestures, would probably have been pleased.

Songs to the Moon
Download PDF Infosheet

Composer: Jake Heggie

Instrumentation: mezzo and piano

Premiering Artists: Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano; Martin Katz, piano

Duration: 17'

Publisher Contact
William Holab
Bill Holab Music, agents for Bent Pen Music, Inc.

Artist Contact
Frederica von Stade official site

Jake Heggie. Credit: Emily Appel
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Frederica von Stade. Credit: Robert Miller
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