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some Americana ... and yes, David, this title is for you! :P

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by nathanscoleman, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'd like to introduce you to a new American composer, Paul Bowles. If you have questions about the simplicity of this post ... remember my back is broken! :roll: I'll post his Huapango when I get better. :) Bio follows:


    Paul Bowles (1910 – 1999)

    Perhaps best remembered as an American expatriate author, Paul Frederic Bowles’ contributions to music are far from insignificant. Although raised in a cultured middle-class household, his childhood was greatly influenced by his stern, disapproving father. According to family legend, his father left the infant son on an open window-ledge during a blizzard with the intention of killing him. Whether this story is true or not, this oppressive upbringing greatly influenced Bowles’ future literary explorations. Many of his stories have twisted storylines dealing with dark emotions, such as repressed sexual desires, violence and despair. Gore Vidal, in fact, praised his ability to evoke “the horrors that lie beneath,” ranking his short stories as “among the best ever written by an American.”

    Nonetheless, Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno, writing a biography of Bowles’ life, describes his music “as full of light as the fiction is of dark … almost as if the composer were a totally different person from the writer.” After studying composition intermittently during the 1930s with Aaron Copeland, he began a successful career composing incidental music for the New York stage. Finding this choice immensely rewarding, Bowles was happy to compose (in his own words) “climaxless music, hypnotic music in one of the exact senses of the word, in that it makes its effect without the spectator being made aware of it.” While he found much joy in these theatrical compositions, he continued to compose other large scale works – ballets and other concert music – in addition to smaller piano miniatures and the like.

    Paul Bowles died of heart failure in Tangier on November 18, 1999. In spite of having lived in Morocco for 52 of his 88 years, his grave can be found in Lakemount, New York, next to those of his family.

    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 1 "Peter Gray"
    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 2 "Ching a Ring Chaw
    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 3 "Whar Did You Come From
    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 4 "Oh! Potatoes They Grow Small Over There
    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 5 "Cape Ann"
    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 6 "Ole Tare River
    Bowles - Folk Prelude, No. 7 "Kentucky Moonshiner
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Re: some Americana ... and yes, David, this title is for you

    How awful - that's one of the sickest thing I've ever heard!

    Besides that, thanks for this information, Nathan. Not surprising that his stories are filled with such darkness. But not all of these preludes are 'filled with light" as the biographer describes, either. No. 1 is sad. No. 2 is fun. No. 4 is sad - sad about small potatoes? I like no 5 - it starts out happy but ends sad. I like no. 6 the best. Certainly sounds 'Americana'. No. 7 is a strange little piece, but cute.

    Very interesting - thanks for putting these up here. I'll try to get a composer page and these pieces up by tonight or first thing tomorrow.
     
  3. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yeah, for sure some of his music is doleful. Some of those titles are goofy, no?

    Thx Mon, no rush. I'm just looking for something easy to put up that I can record in just a few minutes ... I can't sit longer than that. (woe is me :roll: )

    ps - I promise I'll stop whining now ... I'm just kinda down about it. Maybe it's the kids going back to school this week? The house seems so quiet.
     
  4. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Nathan,
    I listened to your pieces without score, because I don´t possess one.

    To nr. 1: Very nicely and musically played. This piece is of a fascinating beauty and simplicity.
    To nr. 2: Very nicely and rhythmically played. This piece is of a real folkloristic nature.
    To nr. 3: I like it. Has a question-character from my view.
    To nr. 4: This piece has a very reflective character and a real question-answer-theme. You play it with a good voicing of the main-theme, I think.
    To nr. 5: This is played with a musical phrasing IMO. Has something of a more or less reflective folk-song.
    To nr. 6: After a reflective introduction there starts a melody in american folk-song-style, at the end the refelective part is retaken as a little epilogue. Well played, (I suppose, because I have no score of it :wink: ).
    To nr. 7: May be the moonshiner is thinking about something melancholic, isn´t it? The two-voice-part is very reflective and the sound has something oriental somehow. (May be these are the dreams of nice oriental women, when the moonshiner has drunken to much alcohol? :lol: )

    You play these little pieces really sensitively and musically. What a beautiful surprise are these little pieces, which are totally unknown to me! So, thank you very much for sharing.
     
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi nathan,

    Yeeesssssss... the "title" was not lost on me. :) I'll listen to your Bowles "Americana" (so-called) once it's up. At first I thought it might be the Six Preludes, but notice it's' the Folk Preludes. But according to Hinson's Guide, that's also a collection of six. I wonder where the 7th came from? He must have miscounted.

    Anyway, I just listened to these pieces. Very nicely played! You did a fine job. I could identify with two in particular: "Oh! Potatoes They Grow are Small Over There." Who ever thought it would be possible to compose music about potatoes? He was undoubtedly referring to potatoes from Maine (where I live) that compete with Idaho potatoes. Yeah, they're smaller but better. :) And the other piece was "Cape Ann", the original name of Gloucester, Massachusetts which juts out into the Atlantic. My parents retired there with a perfect view of the harbor, so I know the place well.

    I had not heard this composer before, so appreciate your posting these interesting pieces.

    David
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Great posting Nathan! An endearing collection of Americana pieces, affectionately played. These all to brief pieces remind me forcibly of Bartok's For Children, being very similar in their scope, duration, and use of (what I guess are) native melodies. Some time ago I was Googling about Bowles, but can't remember what the occasion was. Good to have him on the site, and thanks for posting.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Oh, I feel bad when someone says that they feel sad or down. Maybe I can cheer you up by singing to you. How about this: "The sun’ll come out---tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrowwwww"
    Wait, I hate that song. Here’s another one: "Gray skies are gonna clear up – put on a happy face. Brush off the clouds and cheer up…"
    eeww, barf – hate that one too. Guess I can't help you. If it makes you feel a little better, though, I Love when my kids go back to school. Great to have a quite house! Think of all the recording you can do when you feel well again!

    Anyway, these are up. Please check all links.
     
  8. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thx everyone for comments ... glad you enjoyed this guy. Interesting story ... I left out some really juicy (& icky) biographicalities.

    You know what would REALLY cheer me up?? ....... oh, never mind! :roll: :twisted:
    Thx for putting these up, btw. I thought I'd work up a Kuhlau bio today, if I can.



    Yeah, very wistful piece. It's tempo is marked Mournfully, in fact! I like your take on it ... I couldn't really get my heart into it. That two-voice-part was tricky .. the treble just begged for a floaty pedal ... and the bass was marked molto stacatto. I did my best. :)

    That's nothing ... the score I dl'd said nine folk preludes, even though there are clearly 7. In addition, under the title "folk preludes" on my cd sheet music "American Concert Music", these seven are there. So, I guess seven is the correct number. oh, and :lol: @ your Maine potatoes. I didn't think you guys had anything buy pine trees and fog.

    It was when I was pmming you about him, no doubt. :wink:

    Hey, I just realized. This is my first CS. Go me! *gimpy happy dance* hehe ... I just can't keep whining! :roll: :oops:
     
  9. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nathanscoleman wrote:
    That´s great. Congratulations to your first CS!
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    And you now have one of the nice CS tables as well ! If you have a date of composition, and a dedication (or one for each piece) please provide them as I start to include these details.
     

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