Love is Everywhere: Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang, Vol. 1
Donald George, tenor
Lucy Mauro, piano
Songs of Love Gained and Lost: Love is Everywhere • Ojalá • A Poet Gazes on the Moon • Irish Love Song • Deserted • Betrayed
Songs for Lovers of Children: Morning • The Sky Ship • The Jade Flute • Ghosts • The Sandman • Evening
Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures, Opp. 42 and 43, (Edward Lear): There was an old man with a beard • There was a young lady of Lucca • There once was a person of Skye • There was an old man with a gong • There was an old lady of France • There was an old man in a tree • There was an old person of Cassel
Parting Words and Songs: Snowflakes • A Song of the Spanish Gypsies • Summer Noon • My Lady Jacqueminot • A Song of the Lilac • Chimes
This is the first-ever CD devoted to Lang’s songs. Performed by tenor Donald George and pianist Lucy Mauro, the CD is a rediscovery of a significant body of songs by a noted American composer.
The special CD package includes a CD-ROM Companion Disc containing printable files of the sheet music for all of the songs in both Volume 1 and Volume 2. The CD-ROM will have enormous value for those interested in singing, since most of Lang’s music is out of print. The package also includes a list of the songs categorized by degree of difficulty —a valuable resource for singers, teachers and students.
Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972) was a fascinating figure in American music. She was the first female composer to have a work performed by a major American orchestra, beginning with the Boston Symphony under Nikisch. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, her music was performed around the world. She was a significant part of the musical life of Boston, associated with the Second New England School of composers. Her father was the prominent musician B.J. Lang, a member of the Harvard Musical Association, who started such venerable Boston music organizations as the Cecilia Society (still active today), and the Apollo Club, and 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 (their children were playmates). He conducted the premiere of the famous Tchaikovsky piano concerto and later performed it on the piano.
While Margaret Lang lived to be 104, she stopped composing in 1919 and destroyed most of her works. Her songs, an American treasure, can be found in libraries and collections throughout the US. Lang’s songs were performed by many of the famous singers of her time, including Ernestine Schuman-Heink, Dan Beddoe, Alma Gluck, and John McCormack. For texts, she chose such noted female writers as Alice Meynell, George Eliot, Lizette Woodworth Reese, Harriet Fairchild Blodgett, Judith Gautier, and Julie Lippman.
Love is Everywhere shows the remarkable freshness and originality of Lang’s music, and a wide range of styles and influences, including the German romantic tradition, Impressionism and Eastern music. She had studied in Munich with prominent teachers of the time, and in the U.S. with such figures as Chadwick, Paine and MacDowell. Songs such as Summer Noon, Snowflakes, Irish Love Song, Ojala, A Song of the Lilac, and Chimes were some of Lang’s most popular and, in particular, show her fine craftsmanship and variety of compositional styles.
Margaret Lang also has the distinction of being the longest consecutive subscriber to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1967, the orchestra performed a concert in honor of her 100th birthday and installed a small plaque on her seat, first balcony right, B1.
Companion Data Disc:
Printable PDFs of all song scores contained in Volumes 1 and 2
Printable texts for all songs contained in Volumes 1 and 2
A list of the songs categorized by degree of difficulty
PDFs of selected original manuscripts
New Love Must Rise: Selected songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972), Vol. II
“Personally, I see in Miss Lang’s compositions such a depth of psychology that I place the general quality of her work above that of any other woman composer…” —Rupert Hughes in Contemporary American Composers, 1900
On an April Apple Bough ▪ Before My Lady’s Window, Op.19, No.4 ▪ In the Greenwood, Op.19, No.2 ▪ In a Garden ▪ The Bird, Op.40, No.3 ▪ Nameless Pain ▪ Northward, Op.37, No.6 ▪ My Garden, Op.28, No.3 ▪ I Knew the Flowers Had Dreamed of You
Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures, opp. 42 & 43:
There was an Old Man of Dumbree ▪ There was a Young Lady in Blue ▪ There was a Lady of Parma ▪ There was an Old Person of Jodd ▪ There was a Young Lady in white ▪ There was a Young Lady whose eyes
With “New Love Must Rise,” Delos’ second volume of delightful art songs by Margaret Ruthven Lang, we seek to re-establish this worthy Boston composer’s long-forgotten reputation as the most significant American woman composer of her day. Historically important as the first American female composer to have her music performed by leading American orchestras, she never published (and later destroyed) those works, and stopped composing altogether in mid-life. But her published works – primarily her body of 130 art songs – reveal the rare skill and striking appeal of her art.
Her songs’ exceptional melodic invention and beauty, coupled with imaginative and sophisticated piano support, are superbly realized by tenor Donald George and pianist Lucy Mauro – who are on an ardent personal mission to revive interest in her music and restore Lang to her rightful niche in the Pantheon of American musical history. With these two volumes of songs now on CD (future recordings of her choral and piano compositions are planned), the musical public can begin to hear for themselves why Lang’s wonderful music is ripe for rediscovery.
Komm mit Mir! • Come with me!
Romantic Songs of Mathilde von Kralik (1857-1944)
Donald George, Tenor; Lucy Mauro, Piano;
“Music as if from a volcano! Mathilde Kralik von Meyrswalden must indeed have had a volcanic temperament … whoever heard it won’t forget it anytime soon.” —Petra Diederichs; Rheinische Post, July 3, 2007
Given such enthusiastic critical response to Austrian composer Mathilde von Kralik (1857-1944), as well as the excellence of the works recorded here, it would indeed seem that a reassessment of her reputation and restoration of her music to modern performers’ repertoires is long overdue.
A noble heritage
Born (Dec. 3, 1857) into a highly cultured and musically accomplished upper-class family, she took on the “official” full name of Mathilde Aloisia Kralik von Meyrswalden after the Austrian Emperor elevated her father, a wealthy Bohemian industrialist, to the minor nobility as Wilhelm Kralik Ritter von Meyrswalden. Louise, her mother, provided her early piano training; and the entire family made music at home together. After moving to Vienna in 1870, Mathilde’s parents saw to it that their precocious daughter studied with the very finest musical pedagogues — including private counterpoint lessons with Anton Bruckner, who was later one of her professors after she was admitted to the Vienna Conservatory in 1876. While there, she became a part of the musical circle that included Gustav Mahler.
After completing her formal studies there with great distinction in just two years, Mathilde and her older brother and champion, Richard – a noted poet, philosopher and cultural historian – soon rose to the forefront of Vienna’s artistic life. She was particularly close to Richard, as reflected in the fact that 17 of this album’s 26 selections are settings of his poetry. Despite being trapped in an era of pervasive, male-dominated artistic chauvinism, Mathilde soon established her reputation as a pianist and composer of particular ability. The siblings’ regular musical and literary “salons” consistently attracted the city’s intelligentsia and artistic elite. Even Eduard Hanslick, the notoriously vicious Viennese critic, found Mathilde to be “…a genuine, original talent which …holds great promise for the future.”
While she composed in multiple genres, she was best known during her lifetime for her smaller-scale works like Lieder, piano and chamber music, and sacred choral pieces. Her larger-scale works were seldom heard, one exception being her fairy-tale opera, Blume und Weiβblume: one of her three works in that genre (an aria from it is included in this program). She remained musically active throughout her long life, though her deeply romantic style went out of fashion as the twentieth century unfolded.
Romantic to the core…
While the Kralik family’s deep Roman Catholic faith was one of the predominant overall themes of both Mathilde’s and Richard’s work, the 25 art songs (and single aria) heard here are not overtly religious in nature or purpose, though there are several instances of distinctly spiritual mood and symbolism. Instead, they are unabashedly, even intensely romantic in nature, encompassing a wide range of classic themes and symbols: romantic love (of course), the elusive “blaue Blume” (blue flower), the isolated “wanderer,” and the manifold beauties of nature and its creatures. Her music – with its stimulating blend of sophistication and passion – is the perfect vehicle for her brother’s heady, yet heartfelt verses. A touching aside: the “Maja songs” in the track listings come from three volumes of love poems inspired by Maja Flattich, who became Richard’s wife. In fact, “Komm mit Mir,” the title song, was Richard’s actual musical marriage proposal to Maja.
The remaining poets whose verses are set here – and the corresponding music – are fairly similar in nature, with like-toned romantic moods, themes and devices. The work of two other excellent male poets is represented: that of Edmund Schwab and the more famous Ludwig Uhland. It’s hardly surprising that Mathilde – ever seeking opportunities to showcase the work of others of her gender – chose to set the verses of accomplished women poets as well. Three of them are represented in this album: Irene Zoepf, Adrienne Sarold (both obscure) and the better-known Enrica Handel.
Musical dynamism and delicacy…
Even in some of the remarkable songs heard here, the listener will agree with the above-excerpted review describing Mathilde’s music as “volcanic.” We hear many instances of bold sound, energetic drive and stormy dramatic intensity. Yet – often even in the same song – she shifts almost seamlessly into contrasting delicacy, lyricism, tender emotion, playful whimsy, or intuitive inwardness. Her inexhaustible gift for gorgeous melody and ingenious harmony is immediately apparent. She cultivates a lush richness in many of her songs that recalls the opulent styles of composers like Mahler and Richard Strauss, while maintaining a strong degree of originality. Her beautifully crafted piano accompaniments confirm her ability to illuminate and amplify her chosen texts with skill, sensitivity and almost Schubertian levels of spontaneity and impressionistic tone-painting – and their frequently virtuosic demands stand as firm evidence of Mathilde’s own considerable keyboard prowess.
- Komm mit mir! • Come with me! (2:30)
- Hundertausend Liederkeime • One hundred thousand seeds of songs (:55)
- Silbernebel • Silver Mist (3:20)
- Flieder • Lilacs (1:59)
- Veilchen • Violets (1:28)
- Himmelschlüssel • Keys of Heaven (1:38)
- Abends • Evenings (2:48)
- Götter, Helden und Minne • Gods, Heroes and Courtly Love (2:11)
- Ein neuer Frühling • A New Spring (1:32)
- Spriesse, Seele! • Spring forth, Soul! (1:32)
- Mein ganzes Sein • My Entire Being (1:37)
- Und wieder blüht der helle Hag • And Again Blooms the Bright Meadow (1:30)
- Übermut • High Spirits (:57)
- Im Prater • At the Prater (1:49)
- Zauberrunen • Magic Runes (1:36)
- Lache, Kind! • Laugh, Child! (:58)
- Du bist mein • You are mine (1:50)
- Ich bin nur ich • I am only me (1:57)
- Sage, Sonne, wo sie nun ist • Tell me sun, where she is now (:46)
- Fragezeichen • Question Mark (2:19)
- Ein Traum • A Dream (1:54)
- Im Grünen • In the Woods (1:32)
- Lied des Gefangenen • Song of the Prisoner (1:40)
- Nacht ist’s • It is Night (2:40)
- Singet leiser o Cicaden! • Sing softly, O Cicadas! (1:55)
- Arie des Rekared aus der Oper „Blume und Weissblume“ • Aria of Rekared from the Opera Flower and White Flower (4:44)
Joseph Weigl: Songs and Arias
Josef Weigl: Lieder und Arien
Artists: Donald George, tenor; Lucy Mauro, piano
Few are aware that Joseph Weigl (1766-1846) was both an acclaimed conductor and a highly successful composer whose fame – in his day – rivaled that of Cherubini, Rossini, Haydn, and even Beethoven. The godson of Haydn (who encouraged his talent), Weigl became a master of two different styles, first gaining recognition as a composer of opera in the Italian manner. But, with the dawning of the 19th century, he became increasingly known for his German operas – mainly in the lighter “Singspiel” form – that influenced generations of Romantic-era German composers to come. All the while, he continued writing Italian opera for Milan’s La Scala and other venues to considerable acclaim. His attractive, lively and melodious music in both styles catered to his era’s more popular tastes. But his operas’ general lack of serious themes and musical drama failed to establish him as a “serious” composer, and his remarkable music – sadly – soon drifted into obscurity.
Tenor Donald George and pianist Lucy Mauro have lately made it their musical mission in life to merge their talents in support of music by neglected, yet deserving composers. Most recently, they have teamed up to record for Delos the music of two pioneering, yet unjustly forgotten female tunesmiths of the late Romantic period: the Boston-based Margaret Ruthven Lang and Vienna’s Mathilde von Kralik. Here, working in cooperation with a concert series sponsored by the Esterházy Estate in Eisenstadt (Weigl’s birthplace), they offer an enchanting mix of his Lieder and arias – with the bonus offering of several interpolated arias from other well-known composers of his day. Mr. George’s burnished tenor voice is in top form, and Ms. Mauro provides lively, sensitive and historically informed support from a sweet-sounding fortepiano.
- Charming, worthwhile, yet unjustly neglected music from an Austrian master whose reputation bears refurbishing
- A varied and well-chosen program of Lieder as well as opera arias in both Weigl’s Italian and German styles
- Vibrant, sensitive, and historically authentic performances (with fortepiano) from one of today’s leading vocal/keyboard duos
Laugh With Classical Music – Compilation
Over the years, music that we can definitely peg as humorous or comic in nature has taken many forms. We at Delos have combed through our CD catalog to identify some prime examples, and bring them to you in this collection of music that is sure to make you smile, giggle, or even laugh out loud.
Virtuoso performers have always loved to show off, and – especially in encores – have enjoyed bringing smiles to their listeners’ faces with flashy antics that will both impress and amuse. One famed Belgian violin virtuoso-composer, Henri Vieuxtemps, wrote his Souvenir d’Amérique, Variations on “Yankee Doodle,” after his first American tour. He performed it often during later tours, prompting inevitable laughter – especially in America! Violin sorcerer Dmitry Khakhamov, performing with Constantine Orbelian and his Moscow Chamber Orchestra, delivers it to happy perfection.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. So file this collection in your virtual medicine cabinet, and – whenever life gets you down – let Delos help you feel better!