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American Musical Manuscripts

Leon Robbin Gallery
May 15, 2002
July 14, 2002

 

Items in the Exhibition:

Cadman, Charles Wakefield (1881-1946)

“Moon-Flower.” Autograph manuscript, signed, 3 pages, not after 1924.
“Moon-Flower” was the last in a series of three songs published by Cadman as Three Songs: From a Tropic Land, his Opus 81, in 1924. A composer of both operas and film music, Cadman is perhaps best known for his adaptations and treatments of Native American musical themes. Accompanied by a copy of the printed music (transposed to B flat for medium voice). Gift of Leon Robbin.

Copland, Aaron (1900-1990)

“Queenie’s Song.” Autograph musical manuscript, signed, 4 pages, 1937.
According to Copland biographer Howard Pollack, “Queenie’s Song” is “the best-known number” from his depression-era opera for high school students, The Second Hurricane. The manuscript, which includes at the end the opening bars of the opera’s following number, “The Capture of Burgoyne,” is essentially a fair copy, probably created for reproduction purchases. Also signed by librettist Edwin Denby, it was donated to a charity auction in 1938, where it was purchased by Katherine Garrison Chapin Biddle. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Randolph Biddle.

Woollen, Russell (1923-1994)

“I Shall Not Care.” Autograph manuscript, signed, 4 pages, 1949.
A song set to a text by Sara Teasdale, the compositional dates being given as January 2nd through the 15th .Woollen, who taught for many years at Catholic University and subsequently at Howard University, was an active local figure both as a composer and as an instrumentalist, primarily for his organ playing. The manuscript derives from the papers of Washington music master and critic Paul Hume. Gift of the Hume family.

Still, William Grant (1895-1978)

[Untitled melody] Manuscript, 2 pages, probably 1940.
In a letter of May 12, 1940, to Katherine Garrison Chapin Biddle, Still refers to “a melody” which he has sent her and which he hopes will suit her purposes. At the time Still had just finished writing the music for And They Lynched Him on a Tree, his setting of a long poem by Biddle. This manuscript of a melody, not part of And They Lynched Him on a Tree, is probably in the hand of Verna Arvey Still, the composer’s wife. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Randolph Biddle.

Robinson, Earl (1910-1991)

“Ballad for Americans.” Manuscript, 26 pages, probably 1938.
Originally titled “Ballads of Uncle Sam,” the piece, setting texts by John Latouche, achieved fame under its revised title as recorded by Paul Robeson in 1939. It was selected by the Republican National Committee for performance at the 1940 national convention, but Robeson was considered unacceptable as a performer for political reasons. According to the New Grove, Robinson was known for “topical songs and cantatas, often rooted in folk material.” Purchased on the Leon Robbin Endowment Fund.

Raposo, Joe (1937-1989)

“It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green.” Autograph manuscript, 3 pages, 1970.
The finished “lead sheet” for Kermit the Frog’s musical plaint, familiar to a whole generation thanks to the popularity of The Muppet Show, an outgrowth of the pioneering Sesame Street, for which Raposo was the earliest primary composer and for which he created the theme music. Gift of Patricia Collins Sarnoff.