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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.


Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
And my throat
Is deep with song,
You do not think
I suffer after
I have held my pain
So long?

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter,
You do not hear
My inner cry?
Because my feet
Are gay with dancing,
You do not know
I die?

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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