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Classical Composers (M)

Classical music (and some jazz and folk) from Leonarda
Includes many American composers and works by women

Alma Schindler Mahler (1879-1964) studied counterpoint and composition with Zemlinsky and had written about a hundred songs by the time she was 22, when she married composer Gustav Mahler, director of the Vienna Opera. He made her promise to quit composing, something he deeply regretted in 1910 when he took a second look at her music following a marital crisis. "What have I done?" he exclaimed. "These songs are good!...God, how blind and selfish I was in those days!" He went so far as to help his wife edit them for publication, and got five of them published that same year. Nine more were published by 1924. After Mahler's death in 1911 and an affair with the artist Oskar Kokoschka, Alma married architect Walter Gropius. After their divorce, she married Franz Werfel in 1929. During the Third Reich they fled Vienna leaving everything behind, including her manuscripts, which were destroyed when the house was bombed. They eventually settled in California to be near their friends, Bruno Walter, Thomas Mann and Arnold Schoenberg. From Fünf Lieder: Laue Sommernacht; Bei dir ist es traut; and Ich wandle unter Blumen (voice and piano) from Leonarda CD #LE338. From Vier Lieder: Licht in der Nacht, Waldseligkeit, Ansturm, Erntelied (mezzo-soprano and piano) from Leonarda LP #LPI 118.

Ursula Mamlok (b.1928) was born in Berlin, Germany and began composing as a child. She came to the United States in 1941 and continued her studies at the Mannes College of Music, where she earned a bachelor's degree in composition, and at the Manhattan School of Music, where she obtained her master's degree. Mamlok's honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a grant from the City University of New York Faculty Research Foundation, and awards from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, National Federation of Music Clubs, and the National Orchestra Association. Her works are performed frequently at major festivals such as Tanglewood and by prominent ensembles such as the Group for Contemporary Music, ISCM, Music in Our Time, the Da Capo Chamber Players, New Music Consort and Parnassus. Mamlok has taught composition at New York University and the City University of New York, and is a member of the composition faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. Elegy from Concertino (chamber orchestra). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE327.

Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was born in Policka, Czechoslovakia. Finding satisfaction with neither the education nor the musical life of Prague, he went to Paris in 1923, where he studied for some years with Albert Roussel. He clearly came to feel at home in France and no doubt would have spent the rest of his life there had not World War II intervened. Of necessity, he fled in great haste from the German conquerors, spending several months in the South of France before embarking on a harrowing journey to the United States via Barcelona and Lisbon. Life in America was hard for him, as it was for many of the other outstanding artists who arrived in similar circumstances. Lack of knowledge of English, lack of funds, and lack of opportunities to use their talents were problems common to all of these people at first. However, Martinu did acclimate himself. He composed a great deal and taught at the Mannes School of Music most of the period from 1948-1956. His last years were spent in Switzerland. While it is hardly possible to assert that his works have been neglected, it is equally true that they have only begun to receive the attention they deserve. While Martinu's six symphonies are his best-known works, he wrote prolifically in almost all media: concerti, solo works, operas, ballets, songs, and an abundance of chamber music. Trio (flute, cello, piano) (1944). Audio samples I mp3 and III  mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE330.

Walter Burle Marx (1902-1990) was one of the most accomplished musicians that Brazil has produced and one of its most admired composers. Born in Sao Paulo in 1902, Marx began his career as a pianist, studying with Enrique Oswald and in Berlin with James Kwast. He concertized in Brazil and throughout Europe during the 1920s and studied with Reznicek and Weingartner, turning to conducting in the early 1930s. In 1931, Marx founded the Philharmonic Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro, which gave many notable premieres. He was the first to organize youth concerts in Brazil, and was Music Director of the Brazilian Pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. He became Artistic Director of the Opera Rio de Janeiro in 1947. Marx was also guest conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Detroit and National Symphony Orchestras. He taught piano and composition from 1952-1977 at Philadelphia's Settlement Music School and continued to compose. His richly varied output includes symphonic works, cantatas, choral pieces, songs, and chamber music. Divertimento a Tre (flute, oboe, cello). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE330.

Jules Massenet (1842-1912) Meditation from Thaïs (flute or violin and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE333.

William Foster McDaniel (b.1940) graduated from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and Boston University, then studied in Paris as a Fulbright Scholar. He has written six concerti, five sonatas, several art song collections and solo works, and has conducted Broadway, off-Broadway and touring company shows (The Fantasticks, Ain't Misbehavin', Timbuktu, Bubbling Brown Sugar and many others). He is also a solo and chamber pianist. Were You There, (audio sample mp3) and He's Got the Whole World in His Hands (arranged for flute and piano) are on CD #LE355.

Lena Johnson McLin (b.1929) was born in Atlanta and completed her bachelor's degree in piano at Spelman College. She won a scholarship to continue studies at the American Conservatory in Chicago. McLin did extensive graduate work at Roosevelt University and taught music for many years in the Chicago public secondary schools, where she organized and directed the pilot music program at Kenwood Academy High School (1970-1991). She is founder and pastor of the Holy Vessel Christian Center in Chicago. Her religious and secular choral works are published and widely performed, and her cantata Free at Last, in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., was performed in Carnegie Hall and in Italy. McLin's works also include songs, operas, and instrumental works. A Summer Day (solo piano) illustrates her improvisatory piano style. Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Lloyd McNeill (b.1935) teaches visual arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He has had numerous exhibitions in the art world, and has published poems, drawings, and photographs. Some of his musical works can be heard on the Baobab and Asha labels. McNeill, whose mentor in the study of music composition is Hale Smith, studied flute with Harold Jones and several other teachers. A native of Washington D.C., McNeill is a graduate of Morehouse College and Howard University. Falling Snow (solo flute). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE333.

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847) was a major talent, a better pianist than her brother Felix according to him, and the person to whom he took all of his compositions for criticism. Her father and brother discouraged her from having a professional career or publishing, but she was the musical director of one of the most important musical salons in Berlin in the 1830's and participated as a conductor, pianist and composer . In 1846 a small number of her works were published and she was planning more when she became ill and died. She composed songs, cantatas, oratorios and operas.

The following three songs are on the double CD #LE353, which can be used in conjunction with the book Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found: Nachwanderer, audio sample  mp3; Warum sind denn die Rosen so blass, audio sample  mp3; Morgenständchen, audio sample  mp3 (voice and piano). Six Songs, Op. 1: Schwanenlied, Wanderlied, Warum sind denn die Rosen so blass, Mayenlied, Morgenständchen, Gondollied (tenor and piano) are on Leonarda LP #LPI 112 (2 LP-set). Andante from Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 14 (with flute and piano) is on Leonarda CD #LE333. Frühling (voice and piano), audio sample mp3 is from Leonarda CD #LE338.

Dorothy Rudd Moore (b.1940) was born in New Castle, Delaware. She graduated magna cum laude from Howard University, where she earned a B.A. in music theory and composition, studying with Mark Fax. She was the recipient of a Lucy Moten Fellowship for study with Nadia Boulanger at the American Conservatory in France in 1963, and continued composition studies with Chou Wen-Chung in New York in 1965. She taught at the Harlem School of the Arts, New York University, and Bronx Community College, and and was one of the founders of the Society of Black Composers. Her opera, Frederick Douglass, was performed in 1985 by Opera Ebony at the City College of New York. Rudd Moore has received commissions from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Three Pieces for Violin and Piano displays a spare and dissonant harmonic language featuring quartal and tritone harmonies. Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989), a Virginia native, received the first scholarship given by The Juilliard School for music study at Fisk University. In 1931, she completed the M.A. degree and professional diploma at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, studying theory and composition with Howard Murphy. She taught at Virginia State College from 1927 to 1971, and her former students include many celebrated musicians. Moore composed in a variety of forms, and her compositional techniques range from conventional and tonal to atonal and twelve-tone. Before I'd Be a Slave was composed for choreographer Barbara Hollis and the Modern Dance Group. The score includes the following sections, depicted in strong musical gestures: "The frustration and chaos of slaves who wish to be free - in the depths - being bound - attempts to flee - tug of war with the oppressors - continued aspiration - determination - affirmation." Before I'd Be a Slave (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Rondo in D Major, K. 485 (solo piano), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE344. Rondo (Kreisler wrote this in the style of Mozart, transcribed.for flute and piano by Harold Jones) is on CD #LE355.

Thea Musgrave (b.1928) is a Scottish composer living in the United States whose works range from large-scale operas to intimate compositions for small ensembles, such as the Impromptu represented in this recording. Musgrave's compositions were first brought to a wider audience by the British Broadcasting Corporation and through performances at the Edinburgh International Festival. Her works have subsequently been widely performed in Europe at the major festivals such as Edinburgh, Warsaw, Autumn, Florence Maggion Musicale, Venice Biennale, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and Zagreb; on most of the European broadcasting stations; and on many regular symphony concert series. Rich and powerful musical language and a strong sense of drama have made Musgrave one of the most respected and exciting contemporary composers. She has received many honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Koussevitzky Award. She recently accepted a position as Distinguished Professor at Queens College in New York. Rorate Coeli (SSAATTBB choir and soloists: 3 sopranos, mezzo, alto, tenor, bass), audio sample mp3 (:31) and  Four Madrigals (SATB), audio sample mp3 is from CD #LE328. Impromptu No. 1 (flute, oboe), audio sample mp3 is from Leonarda CD #LE325.


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