Lieberson composed Neruda Songs for his wife — one of the most critically admired singers in the world until her death on July 2 of this year — on a joint commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducted the world premiere of the cycle in Los Angeles in May of 2005; James Levine and the Boston Symphony gave the score's first East Coast performances in Boston's Symphony Hall on Thanksgiving weekend of that year, followed shortly thereafter by a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Hunt Lieberson and the BSO with conductor David Robertson presented the cycle on tour in Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. in March of this year — among the mezzo's very last performances.
The new Nonesuch recording, made from the Boston concerts in November 2005, is the first released by Levine and the Boston Symphony together. It will be available as of December 19 in major record stores in the U.S., at online retailers, and from the BSO's website (www.bso.org) and its shop in Symphony Hall. The Neruda Songs CD may also be pre-ordered at Amazon.com by anyone who wishes to ensure delivery before Christmas.