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Love Is Everywhere: Selected Songs Of Margaret Ruthven Lang, Vol. 1 [includes Companion Data Disc]

Lang / George / Mauro
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Delos   Catalog #: 3407   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy MauroDonald George
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 48 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Margaret Ruthven Lang was a name completely unknown to me until I received this CD. Although, she was a distinguished American composer and a pioneer in her day; at present, she and her work are largely forgotten. She was born on 17 November 1867 in Boston, Massachusetts, as the eldest child of an amateur singer mother and a father who spread himself across many areas: He was a conductor, pianist, organist, composer, and accompanist (later director) of several choral groups. In such an environment is hardly surprising that Margaret Lang took to music herself. She Read more composed well over one hundred songs, which were well received and often sung in concert halls throughout Boston. She was the first female composer to have her work performed by a major orchestra in America, namely with her Dramatic Overture, in 1893, premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Arthur Nikisch. She wrote many large works for voice and orchestra, apart from her songs, but she stopped composing in 1919 and then, dedicated herself to religious work. She lived an exceptionally long life and only died in May 1972, a few months short of her 105th birthday! Margaret Lang was extremely critical of her creations and was known to have destroyed many pieces, which she probably did not believe to be good enough. This may explain why most of her compositions did not survive; however and luckily for us music lovers, her songs did.

Love is everywhere is the title of this CD with Lang’s songs and also the name of the first piece in the album, which is part of Songs of Love Gained and Lost. The songs in the present CD (volume 1) are organised by themes. Besides the one already mentioned, the others are: Songs for Lovers of Children, Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures, and finally, Parting Words and Songs. Though for me personally, the Songs of Love Gained and Lost are the most charming, I must say that I found them all not only extremely accomplished but also possessed of an incredible freshness that both touched and moved me. Love is everywhere, Irish Love Song (which are part of the first theme) and Snowflakes (which is part of the last group) are exquisitely beautiful pieces, with appealing melodies, where text and music merge in perfect harmony; always a sign, I think, of an exceptionally good song. Some of Ms Lang’s other songs, as for example Deserted, Ghosts or The Sandman reminded me of German Lieder, which is perhaps not surprising, as she knew Wagner and other German musicians, and also studied violin and counterpoint in Munich when she was nineteen years old. 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. In this CD the texts are from American poets but, as far as I am aware, they were not created as lyrics for a song, yet, Lang almost gives us the impression that they were. This is a tremendous achievement and a difficult skill that even some of the greatest composers were not always able to master; however, Ms Lang did and with great accomplishment.

Throughout the disc, I had the impression that this recording was a labour of love for tenor Donald George and pianist Lucy Mauro; a fact that also comes across in the brief interview they gave me via e-mail, which you can read at the end of this review. George’s and Mauro’s 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, which effectively enhances the songs. Donald 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, which enriches the whole experience, as one can distinctly perceive each sound, each vowel, each word and its meaning within the context of the full lyrics. Lucy Mauro’s piano accompaniment serves George’s vocals perfectly. The piano never overpowers the voice; it highlights and completes it. Mauro performs the pieces with apparent delight and marvellous clarity, displaying not only an excellent technique but also a detailed understanding of Lang’s scores.

The sound quality of the recording is excellent. It is clear that remarkable care went into each detail and the CD is well presented in a stylish, subtle package with sunny colours. It includes a leaflet with detailed information in English about the composer, as well as artists’ biographies. Intelligently, instead of just having the usual booklet notes, we are offered an excellent companion disc, which contains a wealth of interesting items: Copies of original selected manuscripts, the cover of Lang’s songbook, the texts to the songs in volumes 1 and 2, and finally, a real treat for anyone who can play the piano: The complete scores of the songs in volumes 1 and 2. Volume 2, entitled New Love Must Rise, is due to be launched in January 2012.

For me, this CD was an immensely enjoyable journey of discovery and I took great pleasure in listening to the work of a composer whom I knew nothing about. Lang’s music is positively delightful and any initiative, which brings such gems to the public knowledge, deserves to be highly applauded. I can hardly wait for volume 2 to appear!

-- Margarida Mota-Bull, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Love Is Everywhere, song for voice & piano, Op. 40/4 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George (Tenor)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2. Ojalá, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3. A Poet Gazes on the Moon, song for voice & piano, Op. 8/3 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4. Irish Love Song, for voice & piano, Op. 22 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Period: Modern 
Written: Ireland 
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
5. Deserted, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
6. Betrayed, song for voice & piano, Op. 9/4 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
7. Morning, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 0 Minutes 49 Secs. 
8. The Sky Ship, song for voice & piano, Op. 9/3 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
9. The Jade Flute, song for voice & piano, Op. 6/1 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
10. Ghosts, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 0 Minutes 59 Secs. 
11. The Sandman, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
12. Evening, song for voice & piano, Op. 39/5 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
13. There Was an Old Man with a Beard, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
14. There Was a Young Lady of Lucca, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 0 Minutes 59 Secs. 
15. There Was an Old Person of Skye, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 0 Minutes 46 Secs. 
16. There Was an Old Man with a Gong, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
17. There Was an Old Lady of France, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
18. There Was an Old Man in a Tree, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
19. There Was an Old Person of Cassel, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
20. Snowflakes, song for voice & piano, Op. 50/3 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
21. A Song of the Spanish Gypsies, song for voice & piano, Op. 50/2 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 19 Secs. 
22. Summer Noon, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
23. My Lady Jacqueminot, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
24. A Song of the Lilac, song for voice & piano by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano), Donald George ()
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 4 Minutes 33 Secs. 
25. Chimes, song for voice & piano, Op. 54/2 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Donald George (), Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Venue:  Bloch Hall, West Virginia University 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 

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