Songs of Alec Wilder

Eastman American Music Series, Vol. 10

A Message from the Director

The Eastman School of Music is pleased to be a partner with Albany Records in the production of this series featuring American composers. Beginning with the appointment of Howard Hanson as director in 1924 and proceeding consistently ever since, the Eastman School has stood for innovation in American music. While the Hanson era was characterized by consistency of genre as he established his concept of American music, succeeding generations of Eastman leaders and composers have promoted diversity in expressive means. These recordings are a fine example of this latter principle of exploration and discovery.

The series follows in Eastman's spirit of promoting opportunities for artists with significant voices to be heard in a society increasingly seduced by clutter. I salute Albany for its commitment to higher ideals.

James Undercofler

Director and Dean, Eastman School of Music


The Lake Isle of Innisfree*

William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavement[s] gray,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.

The Colleen [Coolin]

James Stephens

Come with me, under my coat,

And we will drink our fill

Of the milk of the white goat,

Or wine if it be thy will.

And we will talk, until

Talk is a trouble, too,

Out on the side of the hill;

And nothing is left to do,

But an eye to look into an eye;

And a hand in a hand to slip;

And a sigh to answer a sigh;

And a lip to find out a lip!

What if the night be black!

Or the air on the mountain chill!

Where the goat lies down in her track,

And all but the fern is still!

Stay with me, under my coat!

And we will drink our fill

Of the milk of the white goat,

Out on the side of the hill!

The Rose on the Wind

James Stephens

Dip and swing!

Lift and sway!

Dream a life

In a dream, away!

Like a dream

In a sleep

Is the rose

On the wind!

Or [And] a fish

In the deep;

And a man

In the mind!

Dreaming to lack

All that is his!

Dreaming to gain

All that he is!

Dreaming a life,

In a dream, away!

Dip and swing,

Lift and sway!

River Run

Marshall Barer

River, river run thru the valley,

River, over run to the sea

And see my black-haired sailor

With a ring in his ear.

Oh, they say I've been sitting here for years

And they say I have swallowed up the river with my tears,

But how can this be? Oh how can this be?

When only last night I returned from the sea, singing:

River, river run thru the valley,

River, river run to the sea

And see my black-haired sailor

With a ring in his ear.

Oh, they say that my hair is turning gray

And they say that my eyes are growing dimmer ev'ry day,

But how can this be? Oh how can this be?

When if the moon shines I can look to the sea, singing:

River, river run thru the valley,

River, river run to the sea

And see my black-haired sailor

With a ring in his ear.


Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring -

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush

The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice, and all this joy?

A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning

In Eden Garden. - Have, get, before it cloy.

Before it cloud, Christ, lord and sour with sinning,

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,

Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the


Margaret [Spring and Fall: to a young child]

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving

over Goldengrove unleaving?

[Leaves, like the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?]

Ah! As the heart grows older

It will come to such sights colder

By and by, nor spare a sigh

Though world[s] of wanwood leafmeal lie;

And yet you will weep and know why.

Now, no matter, child. the name:

Sorrow's springs are the same.

Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed

What heart heard of, ghost guessed

It is the blight man was born for,

It is Margaret you mourn for.

Easter 1916 [The Wayfarer]

Patrick [Padraic H.] Pearse

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,

This beauty that will fade [pass];

Sometimes my heart hath shaken with a great joy

To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,

Or a red lady bird upon a stalk,

Or little rabbits in a field at evening,

Lit by a slanting sun,

Or some green hill where shadows drifted by

Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown

And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;

Or children with bare feet upon the sands

Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets

Of little towns in Connacht,

Things young and happy,

And then my heart hath told me:

These will pass,

Will pass and change, will die, and be no more,

Things bright and green, things young and happy;

And I have gone upon my way


When I Am Dead, My Dearest [Song]

Christina Rossetti

When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight,

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.

In The Morning

William Engvick

My love took wings and flew away

In the morning, in the morning:

Said "I'll be back on Saturday

In the morning."

He wore his suit with wings of gold

In the morning. in the morning,

And three big coats for up there it's cold

In the morning.

He made a joke like he always did

In the morning, in the morning.

He kissed me, then said "So long, kid!"

In the morning.

He took the stick and off he went

In the morning. in the morning.

Looked as if he were heaven bent

In the morning.

I thought I never saw the sky

In the morning. in the morning.

Look so far and blue and high

In the morning.

I went back to the house on Dover Street

In the morning. in the morning.

And thoughts of him came sad and sweet:

Wore his suit with wings of gold.

Three big coats, up there it's cold.

Made a joke like he always did,

Kissed me, then said "So long, kid!"

Took the stick and off he went,

Looked as if he were heaven bent.

Saturday I woke at five

In the morning. in the morning,

Felt more dead than I felt alive

In the morning.

I went down to the field where nothing grows

In the morning. in the morning

And people were saying "She already knows,"

In the morning.

I can never lift my eyes again

To see those Saturday skies again

In the morning. in the morning.


William Engvick

Trouble is a man,

All packaged in a suit.

The apple on the tree,

The serpent at the root.

Trouble is a he

Who plays a little act

An irritating itch,

A shadow to distract.

In every sad affair

They blame a woman's eyes

But doubt it if you dare,

A man is trouble in disguise.

If Your Are Happy (Covenant)

Tennessee Williams

If you are happy, I will give you an apple.

If you are anxious, I will twist your arm.

And if you permit me to, I will be glad to hold you

Close to my heart forever and do you no harm.

If I am happy, you will give me an apple.

If I am anxious, you may twist my arm.

And if you would like to, I would like you to hold me

Close to your heart forever and do me no harm.

This is a bargain, only two can make it.

This is a covenant offered with desperate calm,

It being uncertain that lovers can drive out demons

With the gift of an apple or the twist of an arm.

Where Do You Go?

Arnold Sundgaard

Where do you go when it starts to rain?

Where will you sleep when the nighttime comes?

What do you do when your heart's in pain?

Where will you run when the right time comes?

These are the things that I want to know.

Where will you hide when the lights are low?

Where do you go when it starts to rain?

Where will you sleep when the nighttime comes?

The Olive Tree

Edmund Anderson

The olive tree is green at last,

The one on yonder hill.

The summer winds go gently past

And time at once stands still.

The olive tree is ripe again,

Its branches hang with fruit,

So clear the shepherd's pipe again,

Where once the fields were mute.

Oh, meet me there, my one true love,

Oh, meet me there today.

The olive tree is green once more,

And summer's here to stay

The Plowman


Under my window, hark to the voice of the Plowman.

Loud he sang as the sparrow flew after the plow.

Get up, my ox, and steadily turn thee the furrow,

Dimbly trudges the ox without wondering why.

Under my window, hark to the voice of the Plowman.

Loud he sang as the sparrow flew after the plow.

Listen to Your Heart

William Engvick

Such a confusing world, little man,

And so many things to learn,

So many choices that you have to make,

So many ways you can turn,

But if you trust your heart little man,

And make it your guiding light,

You be absolutely sure to know what is right.

So when you hear its sweet secret song

Take heed and you can't go wrong.

You will find your love somewhere, some day,

If you just listen to your heart.

And all sweet longed for things will come your way,

If you just listen to your heart.

For hands can only touch,

And eyes can only see,

But hearts can understand and whisper

"There's the one for me!"

So dream young dreamer,

But be wise, be smart,

And always listen to your heart.

Blackberry Winter

Alec Wilder and Loonis McGlohon

Blackberry winter comes without a warning

Just when you think that spring's around to stay

So you wake up on a cold rainy morning

And wonder what on earth became of May.

Blackberry winter only lasts a few days,

Just long enough to get you feeling sad

When you think of all the love that you wasted

On someone whom you never really had.

I'll never get over losing you

But I've had to learn that life goes on

And the memories grow dim like a half forgotten song

'Til the blackberry winter reminds me you are gone.

And I get so lonely, most of all in springtime

I wish I could enjoy the first of May

But I know it means that blackberry winter

Is not too far away.

The Echoes of My Life

Rogers Brackett

Shadows in the mirror

A lonely midnight train,

Haunting sounds recurring,

Remembering the rain,

The echoes of my life.

Songs and distant music

In a half forgotten room,

Love and laughter brimming

To a once remembered tune,

The echoes of my life.

Will love return tomorrow?

Can love be what it seems?

Time and space are merging

With ever-changing dreams.

Mirror maze of mem'ry

Broken once again.

Can I put the pieces back?

Will it never end?

If love returns tomorrow

With a half forgotten smile.

Can fading dreams be captured

For another sweet awhile?

I will find the answer

In the echoes of my life.

It's a Fine Day for Walkin' Country Style

William Engvick

It's a fine day for walkin' country style,

Hand in hand, along a shady lane.

It's a world of green and sun and sky.

What a combination for a girl and guy.

We breathe, we feel, we touch, we see,

It's so ideal for people like you and me.

It's a fine day, and when our hearts are high,

Isn't it amazing how the miles go by!

Don't Deny

William Engvick

Can the words deny the poet?

Can the poet deny the art?

Can the art deny the beauty?

Can the beauty deny the heart?

Can the heart deny the lover?

Can the lover deny the moon?

Can the moon deny the music?

Can the music deny the tune?

Ah, no! Come with me! Don't deny!

The Winter of My Discontent

Ben Ross Berenberg

This is the winter of my discontent,

Like a dream you came and like a dream you went

Before I had a chance to know what rapture meant

Came the winter of my discontent.

Now ev'ry trifle has become a care,

Now there is no joy but only deep despair

For now your lovely vision haunts me everywhere

In this winter of my discontent.

The world is full of dissonance,

The scheme of things is wrong,

The air resounds with the resonance

Of a harsh and spiteful song.

Now all the follies of the world seem small,

Let the empires rise and let the heroes fall,

And let the ruins burn for there's no love at all

In this winter of my discontent.

Remember, My Child

William Engvick

Remember, my child,

Remember sunlight and shade,

The laughter, the games,

The pretty castles that you made.

How you loved all the little things,

Dragonflies in their paper wings,

How you danced under autumn trees,

How you loved the rain, think of these.

Remember, my child,

The simple wonder of you,

Let magic and joy

Be there in ev'rything you do.

Turn your face to the morning star,

Keep your heart where the lilacs are,

And while rememb'ring, my child,

Remember me.

A Child is Born

Alec Wilder

Now out of the night,

New as the dawn,

Into the light,

This child, innocent child,

Soft as a fawn,

This child is born.

One small heart,

One pair of eyes,

One work of art

Here in my arms,

Here he lies,

Trusting and warm,

Blessed this morn

A child is born.

The Wrong Blues

William Engvick

I used to hold you,

Sing you the right blues,

Always the sweet kind,

Love-in-the-night blues;

Now they're the wrong blues,

Baby, the wrong blues.

Now that you've left me,

Each night I start out

Walkin' a dark street,

Eatin' my heart out,

Singing the wrong blues,

Baby, the wrong blues.

Nowhere do I see

One heart for me.

Nothin' but gloom in this town,

Since you threw me down.

I hit the night spots,

Never can stay there,

'Cause when the band starts,

What do they play there,

Always the wrong blues,

Baby, the wrong blues.

Darlin', I need you.

How could you drop me?

Please won't you come back?

You've got to stop me

Singin' the wrong blues,

Baby, the wrong blues.

The Lady Sings the Blues

William Engvick

The lady sings the blues,

The lady walks alone,

She's got no dream at all,

The heart she used to call

Her own has turned to stone.

The lady sings the blues,

But no one hears her song.

She's weepin' in the night

Because her Mister right

Went wrong.

She cries, "Let me forget,

Let me forget, let me be smart."

She tries, tries to get free

But who can free

A heart.

Love isn't an easy thing to lose,

It haunts you night and day.

The mem 'ry of it clings,

And so the lady sings

The blues.

Moon and Sand

William Engvick

Deep is the midnight sea,

Warm is the fragrant land,

Sweet are your lips to me,

Soft as the moon and sand.

Oh, when shall we meet again?

When the night has left us,

Will the spell remain?

Though waves invade the shore,

Though we may kiss no more,

Night is at our command,

Moon and sand, and the magic of love.

While We're Young

William Engvick

We must fulfill this golden time

When hearts awake so shyly, softly.

Songs were made to sing while we're young.

Ev'ry day is spring while we're young.

None can refuse, time flies so fast,

Too dear to lose and too sweet to last.

Though it may be just for today

Share our love we must, while we may.

So blue the skies, all sweet surprise

Shrines before our eyes while we're young.

I'll Be Around

Alec Wilder

I'll be around no matter how you treat me now,

I'll be around from now on.

Your latest love can never last, and when it's past,

I'll be around when she's gone.

Good-bye again, and if you find a love like mine,

Just now and then drop a line

To say you're feeling fine,

And when things go wrong, perhaps you'll see

you're meant for me,

So, I'll be around when she's gone.

* All song texts that exist as poems have been checked against published sources, and where those sources differ from the titles and texts as given by Wilder, the original forms are included in square brackets. Line and stanza setup, spelling, punctuation and capitalization have occasionally been changed from Wilder's versions to conform with the published poems. See W. B Yeats, Selected Poems (London: Macmillan, 1932); James Stephens, Collected Poems (New York: Macmillan, 1954); Robert Bridges, ed. Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (London: Oxford University Press, 1938); Desmond Ryan, ed. The 1916 Poets (Westport, CT.: Greenwood, 1979); R.W. Crump, ed. The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1979).

Alec Wilder and American Song

Alec Wilder (1907-1980) was born in Rochester, NY, and though the notion of "home" was a difficult one for this frequent traveler and periodic resident of New York City's Algonquin Hotel, some of his closest friends lived in Rochester, and he would return to it often, ultimately to be buried close by in the town of Avon. Largely self-taught, Wilder came of age as a composer with the birth of the Eastman School of Music, and his relationship with that bastion of high culture and musical learning was a rocky one (though a "regular" during his student years, and later, he never actually matriculated). He was at home with American music in the largest sense - from Broadway to Hollywood, popular or "classical" - and the idiosyncratic mixture of styles in his music makes it just as much an "American original" as that of his avant-garde contemporaries. The "President of the Derriere-Garde," as Whitney Balliet called him1, he simply composed - and often composed simply - music of charm and beauty for the musicians who were his artistic partisans, giving little thought to the categories into which other people might place it.

As a young composer in the late 1920s and 1930s, Wilder stood at the confluence of two important traditions of song writing: the European "art song" (though pompous sounding, this seems to be the best we can do to render the German "Lied," or "Kunstlied" in English), and the American "popular song." The European art song was well established: having long since transcended its origins in German folk poetry and song in the late eighteenth century, it spread throughout Europe in the nineteenth, reaching its maturity at the turn of the twentieth century. Composers such as Copland, Barber and Thomson, among Wilder's likely models and influences, would attempt to extend that tradition into twentieth-century America. The American popular song, on the other hand, was just beginning, only to reach its “Golden Age” in the period between the world wars. The art song has long been held in high critical regard; the American popular song, on the other hand, has only recently attracted the critical attention it deserves - in no small measure, it might be added, due to the pioneering critical work of Alec Wilder.2 Wilder's own "popular" songs have been known for quite some time at least to devotees; on the other hand, his art songs have been almost completely unknown before the present recording3

How does one distinguish an “art song” from a "pop tune?" First and foremost is rhythm: the rhythmic pacing of the art song is flexible, while the American popular song moves in an insistent, continuous rhythm, producing the “swing” and its variants that mark American popular music throughout the twentieth century. But the art song did not begin with great rhythmic freedom. Emerging from simple origins as "strophic song," in which the same music was repeated to successive test strophes (and the rhythm was probably quite continuous), it became, during the nineteenth century, a synthesis of words and music in which the narrative content of the text - the “story” - was often reflected, and indeed “interpreted,” in the music (so-called “through composition”). Primarily a vehicle for a singer with piano accompaniment (though there are "orchestral songs," particularly around the turn of the twentieth century), the art song often centered around the dramatic "plot" of its text, and the slowing and speeding of rhythmic pacing in direct response to the drama (easily accomplished with only two performers) became a hallmark of the style. Such works began as "domestic music," performed in the living rooms of the middle class, but as the nineteenth century moved on, the "Liederabend" (song-evening) became increasingly popular, and the art song moved into the concert hall. Whether performed by amateurs or professionals, however, this was essentially "concert music."

The American popular song descends from similar beginnings - the atrophic American ballads of Stephen Foster in the mid-nineteenth century. After a fallow period in the late nineteenth century, the first memorable works begin to appear in the years before World War I, absorbing the influence of African-American ragtime and early jazz, which provided a unique approach to rhythm. The popularity of dancing took off between the wars, fostering the burgeoning of "big bands" that became known as the "Swing Era." The continuous rhythm and "swing" were a hallmark of this "functional" music: though certainly of sufficient interest to exist in a concert setting (as it occasionally did), the songs produced throughout this time - whether in New York, Hollywood or elsewhere - were designed to be danced to. The external limitations on the music strongly influenced the music's overall formal structures as well: the stereotypical song-form (AABA) continued to hold sway (while such part-forms had all but disappeared from the art song) because, among other reasons, they worked well for dancing, fit neatly within the limited recording time of the 78 RPM record, and were more easily transmitted in a prevailingly oral musical tradition.

Another important distinction between these two types of song is the matter of the text, or "lyric," as it is most often called in popular song. The art song composer most often took a text that had an independent existence as a "poem" and set it to music. The elaborate nature of some of these texts further supports the notion that the narrative is "co-equal" with the music. The popular song composer, on the other hand, might work with a "lyricist" who crafts the lyric at about the same time as the music is written, the two inspiring each other alternately in symbiosis. Or the composer (particularly the jazz composer) may write a tune with no lyric, and a lyricist might emerge at a later time, as Alec Wilder did in the case of the Thad Jones composition "A Child Is Born" included in this recording. Or the composer and lyricist may be one and the same person - as in other Wilder tunes on this recording, such as "I'll Be Around." Even Wilder, a practitioner of the art of popular song writing who was also a first-rate lyricist, conceived his book on the American popular song as essentially a history of musical innovations.4 The art song is inconceivable without its text; the popular song, on the other hand, may be weakened without it, but in many cases, the song lives on despite a poor text, or indeed "loses" its text entirely in purely instrumental performances by solo pianists, jazz “combos,” or big bands.

Finally. there are the innovative harmonies of American popular song that Wilder himself has remarked on at length, and recently have received thorough discussion. While we should not downplay the importance of "blue notes" and the “jazz chords” they engender, it is important to emphasize that these chordal innovations were set within a harmonic language that was largely derived from European classical music of the turn of the century. Indeed, chords often thought of as characteristic of American popular songs of the 20s through the 40s, such as the "added-sixth" chord or "9th, 11th and 13th" chords, are found plentifully in European classical music of the period. The sophistication of pop-tune composers increased steadily during this period: Jerome Kern, for example, studied in Europe after his initial study of theory and composition in New York. The cross-pollination of European classical music and American popular music was aided all the more by the extraordinary (forced) migration of European classical musicians to Hollywood in the 1930s. A number of them pursued quite separate "dual-careers." Of one such song writer, Vernon Duke (the composer of "April in Paris," “I Can't Get Started,” etc ), Alec Wilder remarks:

Vernon Duke was only one half of his musical self; the other half was Vladimir Dukelsky, a composer of concert works. Unfortunately for all of us, the concert, so-called "serious side" of this man's talent never, so far as I know, attempted to employ his popular side in a “third stream” fashion.6

This may well be the case, but Duke's popular songs certainly benefited from his sophisticated training. Indeed, the extraordinary level of songs by Duke and other highly skilled Hollywood composers from the 30s and 40s (Victor Young's "Stalls by Starlight," or David Raksin's "Laura," for example) shows that talent, training, and a commercial support system can sometimes - though not often - occur simultaneously.

In any case, Wilder never suffered from such a split musical personality - which may be the most important stumbling-block in the way of acceptance of his music, given the label-conscious musical culture in which we live. Thus, the two traditions of song writing outlined above often "cross over" - to use the current phrase - in Wilder's work, though they are still discernible. He was one of the first "third-stream" composers, having written music in the 1930s that was clearly jazz-inspired, but fully notated, and for an instrumentation associated with the classical repertoire.

The mixture of styles is evident in the present collection. For example, the first song, "Lake Isle of Innisfree," seems to be a clear example of an art song (one reason why we placed it first): the Yeats text is a pre-existing poem, the music reacts to the poetry throughout in a manner that dictates a free approach to rhythm, and a "part-form" seems the furthest thing from the composer's mind. Yet, with the words "I shall have some peace there" (the beginning of the second of three strophes), the change of musical character seems to evoke the "release" (or "bridge") of a popular tune with its sudden modulation down a half step (particularly striking in such an otherwise "relaxed" harmonic language), and when the text returns to the "I shall arise and go now" of the opening (the third strophe), Wilder naturally returns to music that is similar to the opening, and we think for a moment of a returning A section. But only for a moment: he quickly fades into very different music for "lake-water lapping with low sounds by the shore." Similarly, his setting of Christina Rossetti's poem "When I am Dead" treats the first half of the second strophe in the manner of a "bridge," the last half set as a modified return of A. Of course, such a part form might be a remnant of the art song tradition as well, but the way Wilder handles both B sections harmonically cannot fail to evoke the popular song for listeners familiar with the genre.

It would be possible to go on playing this game indefinitely: finding resemblances to popular songs in the ones we have adjudged art songs. Certain of the interludes in Wilder's setting of Hopkins's "Spring," for example, cannot fail to remind one of Duke Ellington. And "Where Do You Go," though it may seem more like an art song in the arrangement here for voice and classical guitar, was published in popular song format and recorded by Frank Sinatra. Some of the texts also illustrate the mixing of genres: despite the art-song musical style of "In the Morning" and 'Definition,” for example, it is unlikely that the words by William Engvick - a long-time collaborator in Wilder's overt pop-music efforts (some of which are on this recording) - ever had any independent existence as "poems." It's simply impossible to draw a clear dividing line. We can only claim to have come up with a relatively seamless order, starting from the ones that come closest to the art song, and moving towards the popular song. Beginning with "Listen to Your Heart' (track 15), this song and all that follow were published in the manner of the popular song (and hence we have augmented "piano accompaniment" to something closer to a "rhythm section"). Moreover, the origin of each (often from a show) and subsequent performances show these to be "popular songs." Still, Alec Wilder was never satisfied with the “lead sheet” approach of much popular music (in which only the melody line and chord symbols are notated). He treated his popular songs with the seriousness one associates with art songs, always notating the precise voice-leading of the chordal accompaniment. Thus we are careful to start each song as true to the original as possible, though subsequent improvisation may bring us to new territory - a practice which he seems to have permitted, and even admired.

Finally. we urge the listener not to worry about the style labels and prepare to hear some beautiful tunes, for it is Wilder's melodic gift that makes the most extraordinary impression. Much has been written about all the technical features of music, except melody, which was largely regarded as "unteachable." Whether it is or not, Alec Wilder didn't need a teacher, he simply knew how to write a beautiful tune.

Robert Wason

1"The President of the Derriere-Garde," The New Yorker Dec. 15,1973: 40-42.

2"Amencan Popular Song The Great Innovators, 1900-1950 (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972; 1990).

3Of the art songs on the present recording, "Definition," "Margaret," 'The Plowman," "The Colleen" and "River Run" were recorded by Shannon Bolin in the 1950s on "Songs for Patricia and Other Music Of Alec Wilder" (Riverside RLP 12-805); "A Rose on the Wind" was recorded by Bolin on Golden Crest RE 7079. See David Demsey and Ronald Prather, Alec Wilder; A Bio-Biography (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993).

4American Popular Song, p.xxv-xxvi As Wilder remarks, the history of the lyric demands its own study, which it is now beginning to get.

5Allen Forte, The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era. 1924-1950 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995); see Chapter 2.

6American Popular Song, p 357.

About the Performers

Valerie Errante was born in upstate New York and studied at Ithaca College (BMus) and Northern Michigan University (MMus). Following further operatic studies at the Banff Centre and at AIMS, she was a prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera Association Regional Auditions, American Opera Association Auditions, the Francisco Vinas Competition (Barcelona, Spain, 1982), the G.B. Viotti Competition (Vercelli, Italy, 1983), and The First Annual Singing Competition of South Africa (Pretoria, 1984). Selected for the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera of Munich in 1982 she was engaged from 1984 until 1990 as leading Lyric Coloratura Soprano at the Opera House of the City of Kiel, where she sang over 30 roles. Since 1991, Ms Errante has devoted most of her professional energy to teaching, serving as Instructor of Voice at the Folkwang Hochschule für Musik in Essen, Germany, as Associate in Voice at the Eastman School of Music (where she completed a DMA), and subsequently as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa (96-97) and Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (97-).

Robert Wason studied music composition and piano at the Hartt School in Hartford, CT (BMus; MMus), and music theory at Yale University (Mphil.; PhD.); he also studied at the University of Vienna and the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna (Fulbright Scholar, 1979-80). A recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Paul Sacher Foundation, and the German Academic Exchange (DAAD), he has taught at the Hartt School, Trinity College (Hartford), Clark University, the University of North Texas, and has been guest professor at the University of Basel (Switzerland), the University of British Columbia (Vancouver), and SUNY Buffalo. He is Professor of Music Theory, Co-chair of the Department of Music Theory, and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music.

Aleck Brinkman is the holder of BMus, MMus and PhD degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He is the author of Click Book (film score timing data), included in On the Track by Fred Karlin and Rayburn Wright (Schirmer Books, 1990). His articles have appeared in numerous music theory journals, and his book Pascal Programming for Music Research was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1990. He is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music.

Ken Meyer studied at the State University of New York at Fredonia (BMus in composition and guitar performance) and the Eastman School of Music (MMus and DMA). He is presently Assistant Professor of Guitar at Fredonia.

Like many American musicians, the artists on this recording also have backgrounds in American popular music that Alec Wilder would have appreciated. In her work on cruise ships on the Danube and the Baltic, Valerie Errante presents recitals of classical Lieder on some nights, but on others she sings American popular music with show bands. As a jazz bassist, Aleck Brinkman has performed with Joe Williams, The Modernairs, Tex Beneke, Bill Dobbins, David Glasser, Carl Atkins, Gray Mayfield, Jeff Tyzik, John Nyerges, and many others. As a jazz pianist, Robert Wason has accompanied artists such as Buck Clayton, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Vinton, and the Four Tops. He conceived this project, and was the primary arranger of the popular songs presented here, though Aleck and Valerie also threw their ideas into the mix. Ken Meyer has played with various pop bands, and was guitarist with the traveling version of the rock opera "Tommy" by The Who. He also arranged the four songs on this recording for guitar and voice; the original Wilder scores are for piano and voice.

Producer: Jeff Tyzik

Recording and Mastering: David Dusman

Photography: Louis Ouzer

Graphic Design: Minh Grieshaber

Project Coordinator: Esther Gillie

A special thanks to Judy Bell and TRO-Ludlow Music


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