Ned Rorem, b.1923
Biography. Dubbed by Time magazine as "the world's best composer of art songs," the appellation is certainly befitting of Ned Rorem, who, with nearly 500 songs in his catalog, has easily surpassed the efforts of nearly every American composer in this genre (Charles Ives is perhaps the closest second, with nearly 200 songs in his catalog). In addition to Rorem's extensive contribution to American...
Erich Korngold, 1897-1957
Biography. It is not surprising that the remarkable melodic gifts of Austrian-born composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, heritor of the late Romantic musical traditions of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, should manifest itself in a significant number of compositions for the voice. Indeed, vocal works form the core of Korngold's œuvre, in which are represented at least five full-length operas, seven song cycles, and additional...
Arthur Foote (1853-1937)
Biography. Arthur Foote was born in 1853 in Salem, Massachusetts, and grew up in Boston. After beginning his music education at age twelve, he studied harmony at the New England Conservatory before entering Harvard College in 1870. There he studied counterpoint and fugue with John Knowles Paine. He also led the Harvard Glee Club (1872-74), where he gained practical experience in working with voices....
Harvey Bartlett Gaul (1881-1945)
Biography. Harvey Bartlett Gaul was born in New York City on April 11, 1881. Best known as an organist and composer, he began his musical studies with George LeJeune and Dudley Buck. He completed his musical training in Great Britain with Alfred R. Gaul and Philip Ames, and in France with Alexandre Guilmant, Charles-Marie Widor, and Vincent d'Indy.
Henry F. Gilbert (1868-1928)
Biography. Henry Franklin Belknap Gilbert was born in 1868 in Somerville, Massachusetts, to musical parents. He received early training on piano and violin, entering the New England Conservatory, where he studied violin with Emil Mollenhauer and composition with Edward MacDowell between 1886 and 1892. He worked as a free-lance violinist and in a variety of trades—printing, real estate, music publishing, writing, and lecturing. He...
Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
Biography. Victor Herbert was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1859. His father died when Victor was an infant. His mother married a German physician, and the family moved to Stuttgart when Herbert was seven years old. In Stuttgart, he studied cello and entered the Stuttgart Conservatory in 1877 to study with Max Seifritz. He played in various orchestras, including the Viennese orchestra of Eduard...
Peter C. Lutkin (1858-1931)
Biography. Peter Christian Lutkin was born on March 27, 1858, in Thompsonville, Wisconsin. His parents, Peter Christian and Hannah (Olivarius) Lutkin, emigrated to the U.S. from Denmark in 1844. He attended Chicago public schools and was a chorister and organist at St. Peter and St. Paul's Episcopal Church. At age thirteen he began formal music training, studying organ with Clarence Eddy, piano with Regina...
Daniel Gregory Mason (1873-1953)
Biography. Daniel Gregory Mason was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, November 20, 1873. He was the son of Henry Mason (a cofounder of the Mason-Hamlin piano company), nephew of pianist-composer William Mason, and grandson of pioneer music educator Lowell Mason. Mason and his three brothers participated regularly in chamber music performances in addition to school music activities.
John Knowles Paine (1839-1906)
Biography. John Knowles Paine was born in Portland, Maine, on January 9, 1839. He began studying music in his youth, primarily with Hermann Kotzschmar, a German organist who emigrated to the United States in 1848. From 1858 to 1861, he furthered his training in Berlin with organist Karl-August Haupt and composer Wilhelm Wieprecht. Firmly grounded in the musical taste and culture of mid-nineteenth-century Europe,...
Patty Stair (1869-1926)
Biography. Patty Stair was born in Cleveland, Ohio, November 12, 1869. She attended the Cleveland public schools and the prestigious Hathaway Brown School for Ladies—the oldest private girls' school in Cleveland. The niece of well-known tenor Edwin Stair, she came from a family that encouraged her to study music at an early age. She began teaching music, serving as church organist, and composing at...
Arthur B. Whiting (1861-1936)
Biography. Arthur Battelle Whiting was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1861. He was the nephew of organist and composer George E. Whiting. A naturally gifted musician, Arthur first appeared publicly as a concert pianist in Worchester, Massachusetts, at the age of thirteen. He studied first at the New England Conservatory with William Hall Sherwood and George Whitefield Chadwick and later at the Munich Conservatory...
Septimus Winner (1827-1902)
Biography. Septimus Winner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1827. He was the seventh child (hence the name Septimus) of Eastburn Winner, a violin-maker, and Mary Ann Hawthorne, a relative of New England poet and author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Largely self-taught, Winner studied music as a youth with Leopold Meignen, a French-born composer, conductor, publisher, and teacher. Throughout his life he performed regularly with the...
" I Bring You Heartsease" by Gena Branscombe
Article. Also published as a solo song, Branscombe's choral setting (SSA) was issued by Arthur P. Schmidt Co., Boston, in 1915. The text, written by the composer, refers to a variety of flowers shared by lovers in springtime. Heartsease, the progenitor of the cultivated pansy, was most likely the flower that yielded a powerful love potion in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Branscombe's musical...
" In Arcady by Moonlight" by Gena Branscombe
Article. Also published as a solo song, Branscombe's choral setting (SSA) was issued by Arthur P. Schmidt Co., Boston, in 1914. The text is by Kendall Banning (1879-1914) and refers to a mythical utopian place, a pastoral vision in which all is in harmony with nature. The poem begins, "In Arcady by moonlight (where only lovers go), there is a pool where fairest of...
"The Morning Wind" by Gena Branscombe
Article. Also published as a solo song, Branscombe's choral setting (SSA) was issued by Arthur P. Schmidt Co., Boston, in 1914. The text is by Kendall Banning (1879-1944). The short piano introduction depicts the morning wind with an arpeggiated triplet figure in compound meter. The wind, the dawn, and "the land so fair" are wooing the narrator to explore "wherever roads may lead." The...
" Ol' Marse Winter" by Gena Branscombe
Article. Branscombe's SSA setting of poetry by Mary Alice Ogden (1858-1926) was published by Arthur P. Schmidt Co., Boston, in 1914. Ogden's verse was used by permission of The Smart Set Co., a New York literary and cultural magazine edited by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan between 1914 and 1923. Branscombe sets the text, written in African-American dialect, to constant eighth notes,...
" Balm in Gilead" by Harry Thacker Burleigh
Article. As with most of Burleigh's works for chorus, Balm in Gilead was originally set for solo voice. He dedicated the solo arrangement to John Wesley Work of Fisk University, author of the treatise Folk Songs of the American Negro (1915). The SSA version, arranged for women's chorus by Burleigh, is inscribed to the Schumann Club, conducted by Percy Rector Stephens. Balm in Gilead...
"De Gospel Train ('Git on bo'd lit'l children')" by Harry Thacker Burleigh
Article. Burleigh's setting of De Gospel Train has its roots in several sources, but most likely originated from the Bahamian spiritual Get on Board. A revival song featuring a pentatonic melody, De Gospel Train is one of several African-American spirituals that became closely associated with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Burleigh's arrangement was published in 1921 in separate versions for solo voice...
" Deep River" by Harry Thacker Burleigh
Article. Burleigh's 1917 setting of Deep River for solo voice, published by G. Ricordi & Co., New York, is one of the composer's most beloved works. It was so well-received, it inspired the publication of nearly a dozen more spirituals the same year. In addition to the original versions for solo voice, men's chorus, and women's chorus, Deep River received transcriptions for string quartet,...
" Dig My Grave," one of "Two Negro Spirituals" by Harry Thacker Burleigh
Article. In 1914, G. Schirmer published the collection Afro-American Folksongs, edited by scholar and music critic Henry E. Krehbiel (1854-1923). The collection included eleven spiritual arrangements for unison chorus by Burleigh. Dig My Grave was among those arrangements, in a section on funeral music. The four-part, unaccompanied arrangement was published in 1914 along with Deep River by G. Schirmer, New York.