Malibu Chamber Players

Malibu Chamber Players: Maria Newman: A Scented Garden of Music Melodies Of The South Book 1

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Product Type: CD

Title: Maria Newman: A Scented Garden of Music Melodies Of The South Book 1
Label: CD Baby
Product Type: COMPACT DISCS

A Scented Garden of Music: 'Melodies of the South' Book I tells of the rich heritage of one American family's traditional southern ancestry. The stories told in this compilation are deeply important to the lives of five inextricably connected women; women whoes work and passions have melded together spanning three separate centuries. Poet laureate, Louise Moss Montgomery (1892 - 1978); former Goldwyn Girl and arts benefactress, Martha Montgomery (1920 - 2005); honored composer and violinist, Maria Newman (b. 1962); and Newman's daughters Martha Jeannette Thatcher (b. 1996) and Isabella Montgomery Thatcher (b. 1998), represent four generations of women connected not only by blood, but also by a fiercely similar value system, spirituality, the love of family, and a great admiration and profound respect for the arts. The stories detailed here, told in music and song, present four emotionally contrasting works that serve to illustrate just a little bit of the Montgomery family history. Two large song cycles, 'A Breath of Mississippi' and 'Songs on Motherhood,' are set to Louise Moss Montgomery's acclaimed 20th century poetry. Maria Newman set music to her own texts for her 'Montgomery Carols (Set I),' a collection of Christmas carols written for and dedicated to the composer's late mother, Martha Montgomery. Completing this collection of music inspired by the South is a set of violin duos entitled, 'Appalachian Duets,' an instrumental programmatic work depicting flavors of primitive Appalachian scenes. Martha Montgomery, born and raised deep in the Delta Region of the Mississippi, reared Newman to love the heritage of her southern roots, the warmth and security of family, the generosity of friends, the closeness of community, as well as the importance, strength and fortitude of art and music. And as Louise Moss Montgomery passed on the these qualities to her daughter Martha Montgomery, and Martha Montgomery to her daughter Maria Newman, so does Newman now pass on the roots of her artistry to her own beloved daughters and sons. 'A Breath of Mississippi' (2005) 'A Breath of Mississippi (Stories Your Mother and Daddy Told Me)' was composed in 2005 in memory of composer Maria Newman's beloved mother, Martha Montgomery. Newman's mother died on May 9, 2005, just six weeks after Maria Newman and husband Scott Hosfeld's fourth child, Noah Louis was born. The complete work was premiered in December of that same year in a pair of performances celebrating the life and legacy of Martha Montgomery. Since that time, 'A Breath of Mississippi' has enjoyed a rich and full performance life. Maria Newman was extremely close to her wonderful and kind mother. Cherishing Martha Montgomery greatly Newman relished in Montgomery's vivid childhood stories of growing up and coming of age in the Deep South of the 1920's and 30's. As a source of solace following Martha Montgomery's death, Newman turned to reading and studying the poetry of Montgomery's mother, Louise Moss Montgomery. IN doing so, Newman felt a strong desire to set a cycle of this compelling poetry to music, telling of the values and sense of tradition that the Montgomery and Newman families held in such high esteem. Martha Montgomery's mother, Louise Moss Montgomery, was named poet laureate of Mississippi in 1973, for her moving poetry about life in her Delta town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. In a din of sadness following her mother's death, Newman came upon an old hardcover volume of works by Louise Moss Montgomery. The book was lying open to a beautiful poem entitled, 'My Auntie Mother.' Newman was astonished by the surprise ending of the poem, as if her own heartbreak was being understood and absorbed by previous generations. Maria Newman had often heard the affectionate nickname, 'Auntie Mother,' in the heartwarming tales her mother had passed down. In point, Louise Moss Montgomery, who had been orphaned and raised by her Aunt Martha and Uncle Edwin, called her adored aunt and uncle, 'Auntie Mother' and 'Uncle Daddy.' 'My Auntie Mother, from Montgomery's publication of 'Songs for Soldiers' (1970), was the first of the poems Newman set. Choosing several other poems from the same publication for a song cycle, Maria Newman aptly named her work, 'A Breath of Mississippi,' after the handwritten dedication penned inside the well used volume where Newman had first read these poems. In her early publications, Louise Moss Montgomery often wrote from both a man's and a woman's perspective. As indicated in the subtitle, 'Stories your Mother and Daddy Told Me,' Maria Newman portrays her song cycle as the telling of events and memories passed down from one generation to the next, allowing the soprano soloist to become a third party storyteller as well as a protagonist. The result is a complete cycle of five songs for high soprano, two violins and piano. Opening with 'Little Songs,' Newman sets up a hypnotic piano ostinato combined with string harmonics. Here, Newman's setting atmospherically surrounds Montgomery's gentle poetic declamation of the values behind optimism. 'Watchword' provides stalwart advice for the listener over Newman's shyly emerging melody that gradually becomes increasingly pointed. Presenting the violins and soprano alone in a largely drone like setting, 'Under the Oak Tree,' laments the lost love of it's protagonist. 'My Auntie Mother,' (scored for soprano, one violin and piano) musically depicts it's storyteller in an ever moving rocking chair while over this gentle rhythm the teachings of a magnificent woman are told. In an extremely fast and good natured perpetual motion, 'That's Home' sets up the happenings in one family's life, telling of the comforts, leniencies and happiness of home! 'Appalachian Duets' (2001) 'Appalachian Duets,' scored for two violins alone, was co-commissioned by the Travers Violin Duo and the Angeli Duo, and has been performed on a large scale nationally and internationally. Intended for performance on the concert stage, the musical ideas behind the duets were taken from Maria Newman's original score to the gorgeously restored vintage 1919 silent film classic, 'The Heart O' the Hills,' starring 'America's Sweetheart,' Mary Pickford. The film, telling the story of an uneducated southern girl striving to change her circumstances while coming of age, takes place int he Appalachian Mountains. In keeping with the vernacular music of that area, Newman felt that the core orchestration of two violins would lend itself beautifully to the setting of the film. When the Travers and Angeli Duos concurrently approached Newman to write a concert duo, the composer believed 'The Heart O' the Hills' film themes would suit the task perfectly, if she could successfully transform and develop them for the concert stage in an interesting fashion. Newman chose the main title music, as well as four other contrasting themes from her film score to develop for the duet, including an extended, flashy finale movement. Indeed, the duets, which are an audience favorite, have proven to be one of Newman's most popular chamber works. The opening movement of the concert work (Heart O' the Hills) depicts a melodic and tranquil picture of southern life in Appalachia, striving to depict a classically based, yet vernacular musical language. Movement II (Goin' Fishin') sets up a quickly toggling pizzicato underneath a perky primary line, in which the players trade off their protagonist/supporting roles seamlessly. In a devilishly difficult movement requiring the constant use of thirds and other double stops in both violin parts, 'The Train' illustrates all the charming idiosyncrasies of the stops, starts, accelerations and decelerations of an iron horse chugging on it's way. Featuring each violinist in a sweetly singing solo, movement IV (Mammy's Little Lullaby) is replete with musical reminiscences and sentimentality. Here, the lower violin supports, both with rich double stop progressions and droning pedal tones

Tracks:
1.1 A Breath of Mississippi in E-Flat Major, Op. 43, No. 5: I. Little Songs
1.2 A Breath of Mississippi in E-Flat Major, Op. 43, No. 5: II. Watchword
1.3 A Breath of Mississippi in E-Flat Major, Op. 43, No. 5: III. Under the Oak Tree
1.4 A Breath of Mississippi in E-Flat Major, Op. 43, No. 5: IV. My Auntie Mother
1.5 A Breath of Mississippi in E-Flat Major, Op. 43, No. 5: V. That's Home
1.6 Appalachian Duets in a Major, Op. 38, No. 8: I. the Heart O' the Hills
1.7 Appalachian Duets in a Major, Op. 38, No. 8: II. Goin' Fishin
1.8 Appalachian Duets in a Major, Op. 38, No. 8: III. the Train
1.9 Appalachian Duets in a Major, Op. 38, No. 8: IV. Mammy's Little Lullaby
1.10 Appalachian Duets in a Major, Op. 38, No. 8: V. Granpap's Fiddle
1.11 Songs on Motherhood in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2: I. O Won't He Love You
1.12 Songs on Motherhood in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2: II. Jeu, Intermede 1
1.13 Songs on Motherhood in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2: III. Pirouetting
1.14 Songs on Motherhood in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2: IV. Jeu, Intermede 2
1.15 Songs on Motherhood in G Major, Op. 36, No. 2: V. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
1.16 Montgomery Carols, Set 1 in F Major, Op. 39, No. 12: I. Ring Your Bells
1.17 Montgomery Carols, Set 1 in F Major, Op. 39, No. 12: II. Baby Lord of Majesty
1.18 Montgomery Carols, Set 1 in F Major, Op. 39, No. 12: III. Little Saviour of Healing Light

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