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From The Unforgetting Skies: The Piano Music Of Margaret Ruthven Lang / Lucy Mauro

Lang / Mauro
Release Date: 06/25/2013 
Label:  Delos   Catalog #: 3433  
Composer:  Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

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. 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
Read more 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, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Spirit of the Old House, Op. 58 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
2.
Revery, Op. 31 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
3.
Starlight by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
4.
Rhapsody, Op. 21 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
5.
Petit roman, Op. 18 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
Notes: 
Movements:

I. Le chevalier 00:04:08
II. Madame la princesse 00:03:43
III. Bal chez madame la princesse 00:02:14
IV. Monsieur le prince 00:03:36
V. L'epe de monsieur le prince 00:03:24
VI. Le mort du chevalier 00:04:10
 
6.
Pieces for Young Players (3), Op. 60 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
Notes: 
Movements:

I. Happy Days 00:01:21
II. Day - Dreams 00:01:21
III. Rondoletto 00:00:02
 
7.
One Summer Day, Op. 59 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
Notes: 
Movements:

I. Hide and Seek in the Barn 00:01:17
II. Morning Lessons 00:01:43
III. Picnic in the Woods 00:01:10
IV. Knitting for the Soldiers 00:01:58
V. Driving to the Blacksmith 00:01:22
 
8.
A Spring Idyll, Op. 33 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
9.
Springtime, Op. 30 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
10.
Meditation, Op. 26 by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 
11.
Twilight by Margaret Ruthven Lang
Performer:  Lucy Mauro (Piano)
Period: Late Romantic 
Written: USA 

Sound Samples

The Spirit of the Old House, Op. 58
Revery, Op. 31
Starlight
Rhapsody, Op. 21
Petit roman, Op. 18: I. Le chevalier
Petit roman, Op. 18: II. Madame la princesse
Petit roman, Op. 18: III. Bal chez madame la princesse
Petit roman, Op. 18: IV. Monsieur le prince
Petit roman, Op. 18: V. L'epe de monsieur le prince
Petit roman, Op. 18: VI. Le mort du chevalier
3 Pieces for Young Players, Op. 60: No. 1. Happy Days
3 Pieces for Young Players, Op. 60: No. 2. Day-Dreams
3 Pieces for Young Players, Op. 60: No. 3. Rondoletto
One Summer Day, Op. 59: I. Hide and Seek in the Barn
One Summer Day, Op. 59: II. Morning Lessons
One Summer Day, Op. 59: III. Picnic in the Woods
One Summer Day, Op. 59: IV. Knitting for the Soldiers
One Summer Day, Op. 59: V. Driving to the Blacksmith
A Spring Idyll, Op. 33
Springtime, Op. 30
Meditation, Op. 26
Twilight

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