DISCOGRAPHY:MRL

DISCOGRAPHY

ANON. Irish Love Song. 1 cylinder (ca. 4 minutes): 160 rpm. 1909. Male vocal (Unnamed). U. S. Phonograph Co., Cleveland, Ohio. A copy is held by the Syracuse University Library. This would be the earliest recording of a Lang work.

BEDDOE, DANIEL “Great Welsh Tenor”.  Irish Love Song.

Dan Beddoe in 1918. Dan Theophilus Beddoe (16 March 1863 – 26 December 1937) was a Welsh tenor, particularly known for his performances in oratorio over a career spanning 50 years. (Wikipedia, accessed October 20, 2017)

Victor 64195; 78; 10”; rel 1911-14. With Victor Orchestra. Recorded May 19, 1911-recorded on one side only. A copy (the only copy according to the ILL Catalog) is found in the New York Public Library Research Library collection. This recording was uploaded on YOUTUBE August 20, 2008. By April 2015 it had received 4,239 viewings. His timing for this song is 3:36.

Victor 64391; 78; 10”; rel 1911-14 (Oja, 196)

CLINE, JUDITH. “A Sampler In Song, Art Songs By Women Composers,” accompanied by Michael Sitton includes the following by Lang: Ojala, Snowflakes, and Spinning Song. This CD is available from the Music Department of Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

CROOKS, RICHARD. “Richard Crooks In Songs and Ballads.”Nimbus, Prima Voce, NI 7888, 1997. Irish Love Song with orchestra. Recorded August 30, 1923-Matrix: B28410-9, Victor, Cat: 45373. Time: 2.52.

“The young Crooks.” Probably around the time he recorded the Irish Love Song. Richard Alexander Crooks (June 26, 1900 – September 29, 1972) was an American tenor and a leading singer at the New York Metropolitan Opera. (Wikipedia, accessed October 20, 2017) Born in 1900; at age ten sang the treble solos in Elijah with the contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink; big break at age 23 singing with New York Philharmonic which led to his Victor recording contract; 1933 Met Opera debut; retired at age 46; still singing at 70, and it was said that the voice was still as warm and flexible in old age as it had been in its prime.” (Vernon, program note for CD) The orchestration seems to use strings plus flute on the introduction, occasional celeste notes and harp for the arpeggios of the third verse. On the first and second verse crooks uses falsetto for the last phrase while on the the final verse he sings somewhat fuller, but still lightly. The Libray of Congress Jukebox entry lists Rosario Bourdon (no information given) as the conductor and Francis J. Lapitino as the harpist; he recorded for Victor from 1904-1929. The on-line Victor Discography entry for Crooks lists this recording date as 7/24/23 as describes it as “Male Voice with Harp and Orchestra.” Also on Claremont #785062 “Moon of My Delight – 21 Ballads, 1923-1939.” With orchestra accompaniment. One used copy offered on Amazon in March 2012 for $79.99.

DRAGONETTE, JESSICA. (1900-1980) Irish Love Song. Soprano with piano. H. Maurice Jacquet (1885-1954), piano. 78 rpm, 10 in. Recorded Oct. 20, 1940. Victrola: Camden, N. J. This song is on the B side. On the A side is Mighty lak” a Rose by Ethelbert Nevin with Frank La Forge (1879-1953) as the pianist. A copy (the only copy according to the ILL Catalog) is part of the New York Public Library Research Library collection.

EPSTEIN, SELMA. Rhapsody in E minor. “Mostly Romantic music by …,” a cassette made in 1987 by Chromattica, USA. There were eleven other women composers included plus one piece by John Ireland. A copy of this can be found in the Music Library at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

GARDEN, MARY. “RECORDINGS” Pearl 9067 Irish Love Song with orchestra, recorded 1912/13, Mat. 19890, Col. D 9703, timing 3’12”. Born in Aberdeen in 1874, moved to USA age six, voice lessons in Chicago, age of 21 was sponsored by a wealthy family to study in Paris, debut at the Opera Comique in 1900, moved to New York in 1907, then Chicago in 1910 were she stayed for the next 20 years, 1939 retired to native Scotland, died there in 1967. (Haynes-CD booklet)MARYGARDEN

Johnston Collection.

GEORGE, DONALD and LUCY MAURO.love is everywhere cover

Vol. One of the Songs (with disc of printed songs also)

love is everywhere inside covernats review-1-1 nats review-1-2

Naxos of America Blog features Love is Everywhere!

The “Portara” blog from Naxos USA featured our album Love is Everywhere yesterday and even included a brief interview with Lucy Mauro (piano) and Donald George (tenor)!Here’s a little of their blog, but make sure and visit the Naxos Blog to read the whole thing:

“Donald George: Lucy and I are very excited to have Margaret Lang’s music reach a wider audience. I discovered Margaret Lang during the summer of 2007 when I was researching American art songs and found an article titled “Margaret Ruthven Lang: Boston’s Other Famous Woman Composer.” The article was by Laurie Blunsom and it discussed Lang’s many accomplishments and her studies in Munich, where I also live and where I was at the time. I sent it to Lucy to see if she knew of this composer. Neither of us had heard of Lang, but Dr. Blunsom’s article was very intriguing. I liked Lang’s connection to Germany, and we both began researching these songs.

Lucy Mauro: Interestingly, it turned out that one of the few people who had done research on Lang was teaching at a school very close to where Donald and I were teaching in southwest Virginia. Donald contacted Judith Cline, and she kindly met with us and shared her many Lang scores, her dissertation and some interesting information about the Lang family. We have since met Lang’s great nephew, Professor Fletcher DuBois, who has also told us stories of his great aunt and his visits with her. Hopefully he will also contribute to this blog [EDITOR’S NOTE: He will. We have received Mr. DuBois’ notes, and will be publishing them in a post next week].

A year later, I received a Senate Research Grant from WVU to record the CD, which has evolved, through Carol Rosenberger’s great vision at Delos, into not just one CD, but two volumes and the exciting companion CD-R with the printable scores. Our experience has been that audiences, performers, teachers, scholars and students alike have been most enthusiastic about this music and this exciting “rediscovery.” The music is truly beautiful and shows a composer who not only has a strong command of the language, but also a real gift for the song medium, with a directness and simplicity and a genuine expression…

DG: Lang had a gift for melody, and there is a craft and skill in her methods that strikes one repeatedly. Her songs are eminently singable and pianistic, and they typically show one striking idea that is emphasized throughout, often a melodic fragment or rhythm which is then developed and used throughout the song, similar in a way to Brahms or Schumann. She often featured the poets of the period and their emotional output: Reese and her gardens and children, Meynell and her religious fervor, Cheney and his looks at American life in this period. We should in the 21st century view this music afresh and in light of what Lang and her poets were trying to accomplish in creating a truly American art form with American words and American thoughts…

LM: Margaret Lang’s whole story is quite fascinating. As Donald and I researched this, we were interested to discover the musical prominence of the Lang family: her father, Benjamin Johnson Lang, B.J. as he was known, was a distinguished pianist, conductor, composer and organist in Boston. He was a member of the Harvard Musical Association and started such venerable Boston music organizations as the Cecilia Society and the Apollo Club, which are both still active today. He also helped with the formation of the Boston Symphony. The Lang family frequently hosted prominent musicians of the time, including Dvořák and Paderewski. B. J. Lang was also a friend of Franz Liszt and his daughter Cosima, Hans von Bülow and Richard Wagner. The Lang and Wagner children were playmates. He conducted the premiere of the famous Tchaikovsky piano concerto and later performed it on the piano. Margaret was raised in an exceptional musical home…

LM: Donald and I have enjoyed exploring this music and learning more about such a fascinating figure in American music. We hope this CD and the upcoming Volume Two will create a new interest in Margaret Lang, whose lovely songs are really an American treasure…

Friday, October 21, 2011. From the Delos website.

International Kudos for “Love is Everywhere”

Day may at last be dawning for unjustly obscure American composer Margaret Ruthven Lang, thanks to the vision, determination and performing excellence of tenor Donald George and pianist Lucy Mauro. Love is Everywhere, their recent Delos release of Lang’s selected Art Songs, is beginning to attract positive international attention, indicating that Lang (1867-1972) – after nearly a century of sad neglect – may well be on her way to reclaiming her rightful status as an important American composer.

We at Delos have recently taken steps to expand our distribution base and press coverage abroad – and the first fruit of these efforts is a glowing review of Love is Everywhere from Margarida Mota-Bull of Musicweb International: a well-respected United Kingdom review site. Ms. Mota-Bull’s obvious delight with Lang’s music prompted her to go the extra mile and conduct a detailed and revealing interview via email with the performers.

Allow me to whet your appetite with some telling review excerpts. Ms. Mota-Bull homed straight in to the heart of the music’s appeal, writing, “… I found (all of the songs) not only extremely accomplished but also possessed of an incredible freshness that both touched and moved me. Love is everywhere, Irish Love Song … and Snowflakes … are exquisitely beautiful pieces, with appealing melodies, where text and music merge in perfect harmony … Lang’s music is witty, full of a fine, subtle sense of humour, wonderfully demonstrated in the amusing though refined lines of the ‘Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures Songs.’ Moreover, I was amazed at her extraordinary talent to illustrate the poems in music.”

Our perceptive reviewer further praised the album’s performers, noting that “Throughout the disc, I had the impression that this recording was a labour of love for tenor Donald George and pianist Lucy Mauro … (their) care and dedication in performing and bringing these songs to the general public is patent in every single track of the CD. Undoubtedly, there is a great musical rapport between the two, creating a harmonious partnership between voice and piano … George is in great form here and Lang’s pieces suit his voice. He sings them with obvious enjoyment and great expression, as if narrating a story in song. His tone is very warm and his diction crystal clear … Mauro’s piano accompaniment serves George’s vocals perfectly … (she) performs the pieces with apparent delight and marvellous clarity, displaying not only an excellent technique but also a detailed understanding of Lang’s scores.”

Finally, Mota-Bull also had some good things to say about the album’s sound quality, liner notes, packaging, and the usefulness of its companion data disc (containing texts, scores, selected manuscripts and more). You can enjoy both her complete review and interview right HERE.

For reasons that remain unclear, Lang – a shy and unassuming lady – stopped composing in 1919, and destroyed most of her unpublished scores, to include those of her choral and orchestral compositions. This was despite the fact that her music was widely admired and critically acclaimed, even in an era when the musical establishment tended to scorn the creative abilities of women. Take, for example, the following excerpt from the program notes for a 1901 Baltimore Symphony concert:

“Among the most prominent American women, whose position in the front rank of the best modern composers is no longer a question, stands Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang of Boston.”

The Delos team therefore invites you to join us in our exciting journey of re-discovery, as we place this amazing woman’s works before the musical public once again – in the hopeful expectation that her long-forgotten reputation will soon be restored. Delos will release Volume II of her lovely songs in January, and a collection of her choral works is in the planning stages.

And YOU, dear Delos fans, can be part of the process!

… Lindsay Koob (Writer of the program notes)

Love is Everywhere:

Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang, Vol. 1. Donald George, tenor, Lucy Mauro, piano; CD + CD-ROM;CD-ROM Includes PDFs of All Sheet Music!

Margaret Ruthven lang was the first American woman composer to have works performed by major symphony orchestras in the US, beginning with the Boston Symphony under Nikisch. Her musical family associations included Liszt, Wagner, Dvorak and Paderewski. She studied in Munich with prominent teachers of the time, and in the U.S. with such figures as Chadwick, Paine and MacDowell. These delightful songs are mostly in the Late Romantic tradition. Donald George and Lucy Mauro are currently performing these songs internationally. Donald says: “Hers is a music of remarkable freshness and originality.” The companion disc also contains printable song text for both volumes, and a list of the songs categorized by degree of difficulty: a valuable resource for singers, teachers and students.

newlove must rise cover

           Vol. One of the Songs                              Vol. Two of the Songsgramophone_aug_2012_na_reviews_11                         The above is from Gramophone, August 2012

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The following is an article from OperaPulse reviewing the two song CDs:

Ruthven Lang

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I am an art song fanatic and have never heard of Margaret Ruthven Lang. I even polled some of my former teachers and voice/piano colleagues and came up blank. Regardless of which, the CD “Love is Everywhere: Selected Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang” was sitting in my lap. Where had Ms. Lang been all of my life? Fear not, Donald George and Lucy Mauro have made their mission clear: to educate the world on the music of this astonishing lost American composer.  They’ve collaborated with Delos Records to present two recordings to help spread Ms. Lang’s amazing works; I hope they’ll change your life as they did mine.

Margaret Ruthven Lang (Ruthven is pronounced [ r I v ə n]) was born to a musical family in Boston. Her father was Benjamin Johnson Lang, a famous conductor & solo pianist. As a child, Margaret Lang traveled to Europe frequently with her family on their musical adventures, and even had the children of Richard Wagner (know him?) as playmates! Her musical education was extensive, starting early studies with her father and eventually studying in Europe and throughout Boston. Later in life, Lang decided to destroy most of her compositions. To this day, the reason behind such destruction remains a mystery, but through the research of Donald George and Lucy Mauro we have a better understanding of what might have happened.

Donald George, the tenor on these recordings, is a current Associate Professor of Vocal Music at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Lucy Mauro, the pianist, serves as Assistant Professor of Music at West Virginia University. Together, they form the ensemble DuoDrama. George and Mauro’s collaborations have culminated in two recordings: “Love is Everywhere: Selected Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang” which serves as Volume 1 and “New Love Must Rise: Selected Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang” which is Volume 2. According to George:

“”Blossy” as her relatives call her wanted to be forgotten and systematically destroyed all she could.  None of her orchestra works remain, all were destroyed: piano concerto, string quartets, cantatas, oratorios, orchestral arias, German songs, French Songs all destroyed.  There are many causes, perhaps we will never know… the relatives have no idea.  I have found her songs and choral works only because she was published in abundance and copies remain here and there.  We have circa 80 songs of around 130 published.  Of the choral pieces we have around 25.”

Nonetheless, Lang’s vocal works are nothing short of impressive. She captures the essence of great American art song with beautiful flowing vocal lines paired with interesting and diverse piano accompaniments. George has an ideal voice for this repertoire. The pitches sit seamlessly in his range and the shadow game that his voice and the piano harmonies play make for an hour’s worth of delightful tenor listening. He is able to articulate each consonant clearly while still maintaining control of effortless legato. Mauro, on-the-other-hand, really has her work cut out for her with this repertoire as Lang uses the extreme range of the piano in her compositions. Mauro, however, is successful in finding depth in every character she portrays and within each scene she sets with the piano.

As far as content, the songs in the two recordings deal with plots ranging from unrequited love, lullabies, nature, and silly songs to children. It is truly a charming collection of works that is very different from what we identify as American art song or the more progressive composers of Europe working during the same time. The music is quite lovely, to be honest, and very easy to listen to.

In case you need yet another reason to purchase these CD’s: the first volume comes with a data disc of PDF documents to all of the music on the two recordings! As a voice teacher, this made me absolutely giddy. The data disc contains lists of songs rated in difficulty, song texts for the two volumes and a file of selected manuscripts.

George and Mauro have made it so easy for us to learn about Margaret Ruthven Lang. You can listen to their recordings; you can look at the manuscripts and music; you can use the pieces as tools in your studio; and those who wish to perform exciting and obscure works should look no further for that perfect American art song set or encore!

To listen to examples or purchase the CD’s please visit the Delos website.

———————————————————–Stephanie Blythe Reviews “Love is Everywhere”!

The fabulous mezzo-soprano, Stephanie Blythe, 2009 Musical America Vocalist of the Year, has allowed us to share her wonderful review of the new Delos release “Love is Everywhere: Selected Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang”:

“As a long time admirer and singer of art songs, I am always on the lookout for new works, and my acquaintance with tenor Donald George has proven to be a wonderful source of great songs and great singing. Upon hearing “Love is Everywhere” by Margaret Ruthven Lang for the first time, I was struck by the wonderful craft in her songs, and her brilliant ability to set text, the hallmark of a great songwriter. There is a definite German influence in these pieces, but they are extraordinarily original- Ms. Lang most definitely has her own voice. The melodies are lovely, and Ms. Lang has created a beautiful voice in the piano- gorgeous, building lines that sometimes explode with joy, and other times whisper of hope and love. Her charming sense of humor, as evidenced by the Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures is positively darling. There is a great feeling of nostalgia here as well, especially in “An Irish Love Song”. It is no wonder that this song was so popular with so many singers. Bringing this repertoire to the fore, Donald George and his pianist Lucy Mauro, have done a wonderful service to the art of song with this recording- his singing is fresh and beautiful, with immediate diction, and their partnership is palpable throughout the selections. Her playing is as crystalline and telling as his singing. This recording takes the listener on a lovely journey, and I know that my recital repertoire is about to grow by quite a few songs, thanks to the genius of Margaret Ruthven Lang.”

Here’s a little about Stephanie Blythe: Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered to be one of the most highly respected artists of her generation.

Ms. Blythe has sung in many of the renowned opera houses in the US and Europe including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opera National de Paris. Her many roles include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila , Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon, and Guilio Cesare; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in the Il Trittico, Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress, Jezibaba in Rusalka, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites; Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri, Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, Ino/Juno in Semele, and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus.

Ms Blythe recently starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orfeo ed Euridice and Il Trittico. Her recordings of works by Mahler, Brahms, and Wagner and of arias by Handel and Bach are available on the Virgin Classics label.

This season, Ms. Blythe appears as Fricka in the Metropolitan Opera’s new productions of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre and makes her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Un Ballo in Maschera and The Mikado. She also appears in concert at the Concertgebouw and with the Collegiate Chorale in Carnegie Hall.

Ms. Blythe was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award.                                                                                  For more about Stephanie Blythe, read her full biography on Opus3Artists.com.

Choral Music

choral CD

 

M.R. LANG: “All the Heart of Me!”

 Choral Music of Margaret Ruthven Lang. Choirs, soloists and orchestra of The Crane School of Music. English texts. Delos DE3426

“All the Heart of Me” features music by Margaret Ruthven Lang, who died in 1972 at the age of 104. Born into a wealthy and musical Bostonian family in 1867, Lang was exposed to great music and famous composers, was friendly with Wagner”s children, and studied briefly in Munich before returning to Boston. At a time when choral societies served as social and musical gathering places that provided uplifting community activities, Lang”s father conducted many of these groups, and programmed several of Margaret”s early choral pieces.

Various ensembles and soloists from the Crane School of Music, State University of New York, Potsdam make a strong case for Lang”s sacred and secular choral music, particularly the hymnlike “In Praesepio” and “The Star of the Night,” a four-movement Christmas work with its lovely treble-choir “Vision of Mary.” Lorraine Yarros Sullivan brings clarity and firm mezzo tone to “The Heavenly Noel,” a large-scale work for vocal solo, choir, cello solo, organ and orchestra, conducted by Rebecca Reames.

Lang was the first woman whose compositions were played by American orchestras, but the pieces, which existed only in manuscript, were destroyed, most likely by Lang herself. More than 130 of her songs were published during the composer”s lifetime, and one of the most popular, “Irish Love Song,” was recorded by Ernestine Schumann-Heink and Alma Gluck. A choral arrangement of this attractive and tuneful piece is recorded here along with ensemble versions of four of Edward Lear”s Nonsense Rhymes. The Pointercourts Men”s Group brings a hearty, collegiate feel to these. “Wind” is a particularly inventive piece for a cappella women”s chorus in eight parts, and its text by John Galsworthy is handled with sweet subtlety by The Crane Women”s Chorus under Heather Eyerly.

Lang stopped composing in 1919 and pursued religious work, while keeping abreast of musical life. Donald George, an Associate Professor at Crane, worked from manuscripts and archival material to edit much of the music recorded here, and has made scores available online from the Delos website. In addition George is the accomplished tenor soloist on two tracks, with an especially crisp rendition of “Alistair MacAlistair,” a Scottish song for male chorus and piano.

JUDITH MALAFRONTE

                           Above from Opera News

LANG: Choral Music 

Crane School of Music – Delos 3426—61 minutes

Sometimes a good story can make the music oh-so-much-more interesting. Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972) was born into an upper-crust Boston family that was perched at the center of the city’s cultural life. Her father had studied with Liszt; her mother was an admired singer whose performances in private salons brought together the cultural and social elements of Boston’s musical life. Dvorak and Paderewski were guests in the family home.

Of course young Margaret had a top-notch music education, even though the conservatory route was very much closed to women. George Chadwick and John Knowles Paine were among her teachers, and she spent 1886 in Munich learning theory, orchestration, and the rest. The efforts were not wasted. Two of her early concert overtures were the first works composed by a woman ever to be performed by major American orchestras. She crafted over 100 songs. Her works for piano also were admired and performed, as were her choral compositions. She was successful in the marketplace as well, with the solo version of her ‘Irish Love Song’ selling nearly 145,000 copies. And then, in 1919—at age 52, the midpoint of her life— Margaret Ruthven Lang destroyed all her original scores and stopped composing. She never published another note.

Some of the Lang catalog has been reassembled—27 choral works survive—so we are treated here to a healthy sampling of what’s left. Her music is the juicy sort of stuff that singers like to sing, and it’s never in a rut. Styles shift to meet the demands of the texts. When Lang wanted to craft stiff-upper-lip Episcopalian fare, she could go Anglican with the best of them, as in her stately Te Deum. For a lush, romantic depiction of the Christmas miracle, she brought on a choir of angelic sopranos to warble and coo over the Christ Child (‘The Heavenly Noel’). But when she wanted to remove all excess and go straight for the simple beauty of the incarnation, she com- posed a lovely ‘In Praesepio’ that any of us would be pleased to hear on Christmas Eve. And you can be sure that her ‘Irish Love Song’ and ‘Irish Mother’s Lullaby’ had more than a few ethnic Bostonians sniffling up a storm on St Paddy’s Day. The cello obbligato in that Lullaby, by the way, is performed here by Natasha Farny, a great grandniece of Margaret Ruthven Lang. As I said, a good story never hurts the music.

The Crane School of Music of the State University of New York at Potsdam has come together with all its flags flying to put this program together. The soloists—mostly voice teachers at the school—are very good, as are the instrumental accompaniments. Intonation gremlins are at work in some of the vocal ensembles, especially when the fellows are on duty. Still, a winning case is made for the choral legacy of Margaret Ruthven Lang.

Finally, I must tell you that as I was reading the notes, I thought to myself that whoever wrote them knew how to tell a good story. Wouldn’t you know that one of the annotators turned out to be ARG’s very own Lindsay Koob. Good show!

– Philip Greenfield  from American Record Guide.

GLUCK, ALMA.“RECORDINGS” Marston 52001,1997 Irish Love Song with Efrem Zimbalist at the piano. Born in Romania, brought to America at an early age, married in 1902 to a man 12 years older, “discovered” in 1906 and given lessons, signed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1909, first recordings in 1911, had the first Victor Red Seal million seller with “Carry me Back to Old Virginny,” divorced in 1912, fell in love with Efrem Zimbalist, married him in 1914, died in 1938 aged 54. Her recitals included classical pieces, but “she always pleased her fans by including the ballads that comprised such a large part of her discography.” Pearson, p. 10)

Victor 64346 (B-12976-2); 78rpm; 10”; recorded March 13, 1913(Oja, p. 196)

MARKS, ALAN AND NERINE BARRETT.Reponds moi and Ojos Criollos by Gottschalk.Nimbus CD: NI 70445/6 “Gottschalk-Piano Music for 2 and 4 Hands.”

MAURO, LUCY. From the Unforgetting Skies-The Piano Music of Margaret Ruthven Lang. Delos DE 3433. Released June 2013.

piano music - mauro unforgettingThe pieces on this recording can be downloaded from:                     http://delosmusic.com/2013/10/download-lang-piano-scores/Lucy review

American Record Guide.

Piano Review I Piano Review II Piano Review III 1

Written by Steven Kennedy on his site, Cinemusical.

Margaret Ruthven LANG (1867-1972)
From the Unforgetting Skies
Lucy Mauro (piano)
rec. 8, 9, 21 August 2012, Bloch Hall, West Virginia University. DDD
Full track-listing at end of review
DELOS DE3433 [65:34]

In both 2011 and 2012 Delos released discs of songs by the almost-forgotten American Margaret Ruthven Lang. These recordings showed Lang to be a unique voice among American song-writers of her time and were very well-received (see reviews: DE3407 and DE3410). On this new disc, Lucy Mauro, the accompanist on the afore-mentioned discs, presents a programme of Lang’s music for piano. While the piano works do not have the same intensity as the songs they are still quite inspired.

Margaret Ruthven Lang was the daughter of Benjamin J. Lang, a pre-eminent musical figure in Boston in the latter half of the 19th century. She received her first music lessons from her father and later studied with Chadwick and MacDowell. She wrote extensively in almost all forms, but stopped composing at about the age of fifty, even though she lived for more than a half-century after that.

At first glance Lang’s piano works seems to have a lot in common with those of MacDowell. They are mostly short evocations of nature or of various emotions. However, Lang’s works possess a rhythmic variety and a searching use of harmony rarely found in MacDowell’s piano music although his works have a wider emotional range. Another notable feature of the Lang pieces is the thematic consistency in the multi-movement works, best seen in the Petit Roman in which a semi-Wagnerian use of leit-motif technique is used to tell a chivalresque tale of doomed love. The same techniques appear in the simpler One Summer Day and the Pieces for Children. Both of these works also feature an almost Baroque use of figuration as a tool in the thematic development. It should also be said that both these works give an insight into the child’s mind without themselves being childish.

Of the single-movement pieces two that stand out are Twilight, with its effective use of dissonance, and Meditation in which the development is much more varied than the title would suggest. The most impressive is The Spirit of the Old House in which the elegiac main theme is slowly fragmented by progressively more dissonant harmony, finally generating a deep sense of regret. Of the remaining works Springtime and Starlight are the most effective.

Lucy Mauro would deserve the highest praise just for bringing Lang’s piano music to our attention, but her performances on this disc are so committed and fluent as to be equally noteworthy. Most impressive are her presentation of Lang’s unique harmony and her sensitivity to the emotional content of these pieces. This disc merits high praise both for performance and as another step in reviving the fame of an important American composer.

William Kreindler   From the Music Web

From the Unforgetting Skies: The Piano Music of Margaret Ruthven Lang

Lucy Mauro, piano

“My intentions have been poetic and never purely (i. e. merely) musical, often dramatic and sometimes story-telling. I disapprove of pianoforte or vocal music which has no definite meaning to convey …” — M. R. Lang, c. 1900

This, in a nutshell, sums up the musical philosophy of Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972). Such an artistic outlook, along with this music itself, has led this album’s performer, Lucy Mauro (and its producer, Donald George) to characterize Lang’s lovely and beautifully crafted piano pieces as her own “songs without words.”

Lang was born into a socially and artistically prominent Boston family. Her father – himself a student of Liszt – recognized his daughter’s precocious gifts, and saw to her thorough musical education, including a year in Europe. Before gradually slipping into obscurity after she stopped composing in 1919, Lang had been one of America’s pioneering woman composers in an era of male artistic domination. Her two early concert overtures (which she later destroyed) were the first works by a female composer to be performed by major American orchestras.

Most of Lang’s published output consists of art songs, piano pieces and choral works. Delos has sparked a revival of interest in her music with (thus far) two volumes drawn from her nearly 130 art songs – which we now follow up with this enchanting survey of her piano music. Distinguished pianist Lucy Mauro – who collaborated with tenor extraordinaire Donald George in the two art song albums (DE 3407 & 3410) – brings Lang’s remarkable keyboard creations to vibrant life with deep sensitivity, touching emotion, and admirable technical facility. The pieces will be exciting discoveries for any pianist or piano fan on the prowl for fresh repertoire.

Album Highlights:

  • Enchanting, exquisitely crafted late-Romantic piano music from a neglected female composer whose music is ripe for rediscovery
  • Touching, technically accomplished interpretations from proven pianist Lucy Mauro
  • Appealing “new” material for pianists or fans seeking fresh repertoire

From the Delos website.

MOSES, MYRTLE. Irish Love Song. Soprano with orchestra. Malcom Lawson, arranger. 1916-1922.? Pathe Freres, 80 rpm. A copy is in the collection of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

RANDOLPH, EMORY B. Irish Love Song. Tenor solo with orchestra.78 rpm disc, 10 in. 1914 by Edison, orange, N. J. Program notes on the record sleeve. A copy is found in the collection of Stanford University Library.

SCHUMANN-HEINK, ERNESTINE.“THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS, VOL. ONE: 1900-09” Romophone 81029-2, 1997.

Irish Love Song, Opus 22 with orchestra, key of D flat. Originally Victor 87022, recorded in 1908, B 6473-1, timing: 2:58.

Pelican LP-2008; 33m; rel 1978; cip

The “Herald” review by Philip Hale on October 31, 1909 was a “rave” and mention was made of this song.The “Musical America” review of October 30,1909 referenced this song: “The enormous hit of the day strangely enough was Mme Schumann-Heink”s singing of Margaret Lang”s Irish Song Mavourneen.”

She also included the song as an encore at her Boston Symphony Hall recital of November 24, 1912, and it was part of the program for her Metropolitan Opera recital on February 16, 1913.She was also singing the song in June 1921 as shown by a program from her tour in Japan. (Scrapbook)

Schumann-Heink appeared as soloist with the BSO in 23 different programs between the years 1899 and 1911. This averages out to more than two appearances per season-she obviously was a Boston favorite. (Howe, BSO, p. 258)

TOPPIN, LOUISE AND JAY A. PIERSON.“AH!LOVE, BUT A DAY.”

Albany, Troy 385, 1999.

In the Twilight timing 1:28 and Irish Love Song (in the key of D flat) timing 2:02 both with piano accompaniment and sung by Mr. Pierson, baritone.

VAN GORDON, CYRENA (al). Irish Love Song.

Columbia 79M; 78; rel pre-1927 (Oja, p. 196) A copy of this recording is part of the Yale University collection.

VICTOR ARTISTS. The EDVR (Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings) is a database at the University of California, Santa Barbara Libraries. Is exists only on-line, and thus is constantly being updated. The following is their listing of MRL recordings:

Matrix No., 1st. recording, date, Title, Primary Performer, Description.

B-4924 11/12/1907 Irish Love Song, Percy Hemus, Male vocal solo, with orchestra. A copy of this recording is part of the collection of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

B-64739/28/1908 Irish Love Song, Ernestine Schumann, Contralto vocal solo, with Heinkorchestra.

B-10402 5/16/1911 Irish Love Song, Daniel Beddoe, Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra.

B-12976 3/8/1913 Irish Love Song, Alma Gluck, Soprano vocal solo, with piano and violin obligato. Efrem Zimbalist, violin.

B-26597 7/12/1922 I have a Dream, Millicent Steacy, Female vocal solo, with piano.

[Trial 1915-04-23-01] 4/23/1915 Irish Love Song, Belle Blanche, Female vocal solo.

[Trial 1916-10-28-21] 10/28/1916 Irish Love Song, Anna L. Johnson, Female vocal solo

            The DAHR (Discography of American Historical Recordings) also lists   B-28410  7/24/1923 Irish Love song, Richard Crooks, Tenor solo, with harp and orchestra.

             All of the above were 10 inch Victor recordings. In addition, Columbia made seven 10 inch and two 12 inch discs from 1912 until 1924. Mary Garden was the first recorded: Col. 19890  5/18/1912 Irish Love Song, Soprano solo with orchestra. She was followed by six women and one man, all recording the Irish Love Song, all of whom are mostly forgotten now. However, Columbia provided an orchestral accompaniment for all eight artists. One final Irish Love Song recording was made by Inez Barbour in 1918 for the Okeh company.

 

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