Life Cycle (CD)

Move Records
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Gian Slater, Sonya Lifschitz, Zoe Knighton

Life Cycle traces the emotional journey of impending motherhood through the music of highly regarded composer Emily Hall and the words of acclaimed poet Toby Litt. It's presented by Gian Slater (vocals), Sonya Lifschitz (piano), Zoe Knighton (cello)

Zoe Knighton: "Song cycles invariably tell an emotional story, but this one hit me immediately with the absolute sincerity of the text and the way the music hugs the words. It is the ultimate tribute to motherhood. In first hearing these songs, I felt simultaneously grateful for my mother and also for the gift of motherhood which is one of life's most precious. One of the most extraordinary elements of this work is that the words truly get inside the pregnant psyche ... and they were written by a man."

Moving, occasionally shocking and ultimately uplifting, its story develops through the themes of anxiety and impatience which often comes with pregnancy, through sleepless nights nursing a newborn and the changing perspective of watching a child grow.

Life Cycle is about the rarely explored theme of the wonder and lurking fear of motherhood. It is composed by the highly regarded young British composer Emily Hall, with lyrics by acclaimed author Toby Litt. Toby Litt’s lyrics have an almost uncanny ability to capture female experiences of motherhood, and has returned to the theme of losing and having children both in fiction and in his autobiographical writing.

Life cycle was commissioned by Opera North (UK) and was premiered in 2011. Emily Hall and Toby Litt have collaborated on three songs cycles to date. Others include Befalling on unrequited love and Rest on death.

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  1. Stillborn ‘She isn’t, but she was’
  2. Instrumental I
  3. And so I test myself
  4. I am the pregnant woman
  5. We are counting
  6. The very thought of children being hurt
  7. Instrumental II
  8. A ghostly home
  9. Instrumental III Amnio – ‘Skeleton I see and sense’
  10. I am alone
  11. Hello 
  12. Look at my child
  13. Upon your chest 
  14. The gap so small
  15. Not just milk There used to be a woman in this body
  16. Hushabye 
  17. The first turn
  18. Instrumental IV 
  19. A field of snow I see you here, all clear and all aglow