22 Jul 2012

George Crumb (b. 1929)

From Composer of the Week, 9:15 am on 22 July 2012
George Crumb

George Crumb Photo: Public Domain, screenshot

American composer George Crumb is best known for his mystical works like Black Angels (1970) and Ancient Voices of Children (1970). But for the last decade his primary focus has been on putting his own mysterious twist on well-known American folk songs. Setting them to the strangely beautiful and often ethereal timbres of percussion and amplified piano - civil war songs, hymns and Appalachian songs all fall into Crumb’s hands and come out transformed into what has been described as ‘magical realism’. Familiar yet utterly transfigured.

Ryan Smith talks to the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer about his American Songbook series, and the rich history of the folk songs that have captured his imagination for so long. And there are some side-trips about Crumb’s musical influences and philosophies along the way.

Music Details:

CRUMB: Eleven Echoes of Autumn – New Music Ensemble, Zurich (Hat Hut ART 166)
CRUMB: Echoes of Time and River – Warsaw Phil/Thomas Conlin (Bridge 9127)
CRUMB: Ancient Voices of Children – Tony Arnold (sop), Justin Murray (treble), ensemble/David Colson (Bridge 9170)
CRUMB: Shall we Gather at the River, from American Songbook I – Ann Crumb (sop), Orchestra 2001/James Freeman (Bridge 9218)
CRUMB: Shenandoah, from American Songbook IV –  Barbara Ann Martin (sop), Orchestra 2001/James Freeman (Bridge 9275)
CRUMB: All the Pretty Little Horses, from American Songbook III –  Ann Crumb (sop), Orchestra 2001/James Freeman (Bridge 9218)
CRUMB: When Johnny Comes Marching Home, from American Songbook IV – Barbara Ann Martin (sop), Orchestra 2001/James Freeman (Bridge 9275)
CRUMB: Go Down Moses, from American Songbook II (Bridge 9275) – Barbara Ann Martin (sop), Orchestra 2001/James Freeman
CRUMB: God Music, from Black Angels – Miro Quartet (Bridge 9139)
CRUMB: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, from American Songbook from American Songbook IV – Barbara Ann Martin (sop), Orchestra 2001/James Freeman (Bridge 9275)