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Three Langston Hughes Songs for Soprano and Piano, Opus 12, were inspired by the wonderful, rhythmical poetry of Langston Hughes (1902-1967). These songs have a strong jazz influence and portray feelings of raw, unfiltered passion. They call for a theatrical performance. My interest in jazz music started with my dad who played trumpet and taught me clarinet as a youngster. One of my fondest musical memories is his laughter and pride as I would ‘improvise’ – by adding a few grace notes – to the end of Shoo, Fly, Don't Bother Me. While my interest in jazz waned for several years, it returned as I became more serious about composition and started to consider jazz a ‘bridge’ between the pop and classical worlds. I could imagine these songs being sung on a lazy, muggy afternoon in the Deep South. The notation of these works was somewhat challenging, as I wanted an improvised sound – with various note bends and occasional shrieks – while still keeping a clear, solid structure in each song.


My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I'm going to die,
Being neither white nor black?

Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes, by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated


from Daniel Carr - Volume 1 - Songs and Solo Piano Works, released November 1, 2014
Jessica Petrus (Soprano) and Christina Wright-Ivanova (Piano)


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Daniel Carr Seattle, Washington

Daniel Carr is a composer of 21st Century Classical Music.

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