Lift Me Into Heaven Slowly

Lift Me Into Heaven Slowly

Songs of strong women
Libby Larsen
Tracey Engleman
Lara Bolton
Catalog Number: 
new classical
solo voice

Minneapolis, MN

Release Date: 
Jun 23, 2017
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Lift Me into Heaven Slowly: Songs of Libby LarseniTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Cowboy Songs: No. 1, Bucking Bronco02:36$0.99
2.Cowboy Songs: No. 2, Lift Me into Heaven Slowly02:36$0.99
3.Cowboy Songs: No. 3, Billy the Kid01:09$0.99
4.Songs from Letters (Calamity Jane to Her Daughter Janey): No. 1, So Like Your Father's01:43$0.99
5.Songs from Letters (Calamity Jane to Her Daughter Janey): No. 2, He Never Misses01:43$0.99
6.Songs from Letters (Calamity Jane to Her Daughter Janey): No. 3, A Man Can Love Two Women02:43$0.99
7.Songs from Letters (Calamity Jane to Her Daughter Janey): No. 4, A Working Woman04:18$0.99
8.Songs from Letters (Calamity Jane to Her Daughter Janey): No. 5, All I Have03:55$0.99
9.My Antonia: I. Landscape No. 1 "From the Train"02:28$0.99
10.My Antonia: II. Antonia02:26$0.99
11.My Antonia: III. Landscape No. 2 "Winter"04:14$0.99
12.My Antonia: IV. The Hired Girls01:37$0.99
13.My Antonia: V. Landscape No. 3 "Prairie Spring"00:51$0.99
14.My Antonia: VI. Antonia in the Field.03:03$0.99
15.My Antonia: VII. Landscape No. 4 "Sunset"02:00$0.99
16.Try Me, Good King (Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII): No. 1, Katherine of Aragon02:59$0.99
17.Try Me, Good King (Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII): No. 2, Anne Boleyn04:35$0.99
18.Try Me, Good King (Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII): No. 3, Jane Seymour02:40$0.99
19.Try Me, Good King (Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII): No. 4, Anne of Cleves01:26$0.99
20.Try Me, Good King (Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII): No. 5, Katherine Howard04:15$0.99
One Sheet: 

The solo vocal music catalogue of Libby Larsen has become a substantial staple in the American Song repertoire. As a feminist and advocate for women in the Arts, this album celebrates some of Larsen’s most beloved song cycles in which women poets and characters are the central figures. Larsen has always gravitated towards the stories of strong women: hardship-enduring women like Cather’s Antonia, gender-role defying women like Calamity Jane, and the ill-fated wives of Henry the VIII, Larsen lifts up the virtues and highlights the universal struggles of women throughout history.   

This collection of four song cycles span more than 20 years of Larsen’s compositional output. From her earliest studies in the art of text setting in Cowboy Songs, to the vivid musical landscapes of My Antonia, to the bleak last days of the Queens, Larsen utilizes musical texture, rhythm and melody in a way that unleashes the “theater of the mind” for the listener. With a musically dramatic flair, Larsen chooses to tell relatable stories through arcing melodic lines over a distinctly modern, but traditional harmonic language.

Imagery and mood are strong in these works: from the bucking horse brought to life through the piano in “Bucking Bronco,” to the slow, spacious texture and utilization of the blues scale in “Lift Me into Heaven Slowly,” to the interweaving of the American cowboy song “Goodbye, Old Paint” in “Billy the Kid,” Larsen’s writing creates vivid characters and images of the Old West.  

Calamity Jane’s letters to her daughter resonated with Larsen on many levels: the challenges faced by working women, the honesty of the mother-daughter relationship, and the directness and pride of the language. The landscape is featured in the story of Jim and a young immigrant girl, Antonia; the harsh realities of early life on the Midwestern plains, and of lives on different trajectories.  

The set concludes with letters and gallows speeches of five of Henry VIII’s six wives.  “In these songs, I chose to focus on the intimate crises of the heart” Larsen writes. “This group of songs is a monodrama of anguish and power.”

Libby Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world.

As a vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts.  A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.

With a voice the Boston Globe called “extraordinary in range, tonal quality, musicianship and dramatic effect,” soprano Tracey Engleman has gained a reputation for excellence in opera, recital, and concert.   Ms. Engleman was most recently awarded the prestigious 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Musicians.  She teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Pianist Lara Bolton has been engaged as a coach-pianist at Minnesota Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Santa Barbara, West Bay Opera, Opera Colorado, Amarillo Opera, and Mill City Summer Opera where she currently acts as chorus master and principal pianist. 



"Throughout the journey of Lift Me Into Heaven Slowly, Engleman and Bolton provide excellent realizations of character within four distinct worlds. Engleman’s rich, vibrato-heavy sound shines as she ascends to great heights and makes text speak clearly, but a more intimate atmosphere rarely comes through. Engleman and Bolton’s nuanced performance, however, allows us to experience the universal emotions while still retaining specificity. Ultimately, Lift Me Into Heaven Slowlyis a journey worth taking." [FULL ARTICLE] - Alyssa Kayser-Hirsh


"This is an attractive collection though there are some subjective caveats. Tracey Engleman is a superb singer...she can go soft as well as hitting those dramatic climaxes" [FULL ARTICLE] - Dominy Clements


"Soprano vocalist Tracey Engleman joins with pianist Lara Bolton for a collection of duets to perform the compositions of Libby Larsen. The operatic voice and stately piano sounds like high  parlor on the trio of “Cowboy Songs” while Bolton’s  dashes of Poulenc on “Antonia” and “Landscape III” support Engleman’s storytelling on “My Antonia.” Most intriguing are the five pieces reflecting the “Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII” with dramatic utterances on “Anne Boleyn” and an intriguing “Katherine of Aragon” and “Katherine Howard.” Music for high tea." [FULL ARTICLE] - George Harris