December Songs is a song cycle by Maury Yeston, best known as a musical theatre composer-lyricist responsible for the music and lyrics for Nine, Titanic, Phantom, Death Takes a Holiday, and part of Grand Hotel. The work is a 'retelling' of Franz Schubert's Winterreise, (a song cycle of art songs), with a cabaret sensibility. The songs in both December Songs and Winterreise are linked as a sequence of reflections by the singer taking a lonely walk in winter, thinking back on his or her lost love. The piece crosses over the line from classical music to Broadway to cabaret. Where the Schubert masterpiece features words by Wilhelm Müller portraying a jilted young man's wandering the snows of the Vienna Woods and ultimately sinking into madness, the Yeston lyrics depict a contemporary young woman wandering a snowy Central Park in New York City and finding recovery and hope on her journey.
The work was written as a commissioned piece for the 1991 centennial celebration of New York's Carnegie Hall, where it was performed by cabaret singer Andrea Marcovicci. It was then performed for three months in 2004 at the Theatre du Renard in Paris, where it was sung in French by Isabelle Georges. It has been recorded seven time in English by Marcovicci, Georges, Harolyn Blackwell, and others, in German by Pia Douwes, with a German translation by Wolfgang Adenberg, in Polish by Edyta Krzemien, also in English (in Holland) by Hetty Sponselee and Sheila Conolly, and in French by Georges. Two time Tony nominee Laura Osnes recently featured 'December Songs' in her 54 Below debut, 'Laura Osnes sings Maury Yeston', and on her album 'If I Tell You'. December Songs was recorded with a male singer for the first time in 2017 by New York cabaret singer Stearns Matthews.
December Songs has been performed worldwide including France, the UK, Germany, Holland, and Poland.
- December Snow
- Where Are You Now
- Please Let's Not Even Say Hello
- When Your Love Is New
- Bookseller In The Rain
- My Grandmother's Love Letters
- I Am Longing
- I Had A Dream About You
- By The River
- What A Relief
- Vitaris, Paul. "The Unsinkable Maury Yeston." Show Music The Musical Theatre Magazine Spring, 1997: 17-23
- Pogrebin, Robin (May 19, 2003). "A Song in His Psyche, As Hummable as Fame". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- ["Strange Hurt" RCA Victor 09026-61944-2]
- "Isabelle Georges' December Songs site". Archived from the original on 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
- PS Classics
- PS Classics
- DECEMBER SONGS, retrieved 2017-12-19