This Island

“this album may well prompt a continued exploration of deeply literate composers who need not be lost and have much to offer”


“consummately expressive performers … extraordinarily well curated … one of the best recordings I have heard thus far in 2023” 


GRAMMY® Award-winning American soprano Susan Narucki, “one of the great practitioners of contemporary vocal music” (Opera News) presents This Island, a specially curated, unique set of 21 art songs written in the first half of the 20th century, chiefly by women and some receiving their world premiere recordings.

The catalyst for This Island was a line from a collection of letters by Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke:

“… If you could only be here with me so I could share with you the happiness of these great poems, they would let you realize what we all now need more urgently: that transience is not separation …”

The poems Rilke cites are by Belgian Symbolist Emile Verhaeren, whose poetry – Susan discovered – has been set to music by composers both familiar and virtually unknown, including Nadia Boulanger and her Paris Conservatoire teacher Raoul Pugno, Belgian Irène Fuerison, Dutch Henriette Bosmans and the mysterious Parisian composer Elizabeth Claisse. Susan rounds out the album with songs by American composer and educator Marion Bauer, who studied in Paris and met Boulanger and Pugno, and Dutch composer Henriette Bosmans whose music Susan was familiar with, bringing the project full circle.

Avie Records

Released February 10, 2023

Recorded: 3–5 March & 27–29 June 2022, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall,
UC San Diego Department of Music, San Diego
Producer: Judith Sherman ·

Engineer: Andrew Monsey
Editing assistant: Jeanne Velonis ·

Mastering: Jeanne Velonis and Judith Sherman