Welcome to the American Songbook Soundhub! This website was designed to complement the American Songbook 2017-19 recital tour by Lucy Goddard (mezzo soprano) and Siwan Rhys (pianist). We want to provide our audience members with some practical information about the concerts, as well as some background information on the composers, writers and artist featured. Have a look around and get in touch if you have any feedback.
During a Snape Maltings residencies in May and August 2018 we rehearsed and showcased new commissions by composers Laura Bowler and Christopher Mayo, reflecting on works by female American writers. A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women by Bowler provides a kaleidoscopic vision of American society, using texts by writers including Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Stanton, Gertrude Stein, Gloria Steinem, Fanny Fern and Patti Smith to create a musical collage of life in America, both now and in the past. It was nominated for a British Composer Award in 2018. Canadian composer Christopher Mayo uses Mina Loy's essay Universal Food Machine to take us into a striking futuristic fantasy world, inhabited by strange new sounds and even stranger ceremonies. The new commissions form the centrepiece of an American-themed recital programme containing works by Charles Ives, Ruth Crawford Seeger, John Cage, Morton Feldman (including three UK premieres), Milton Babbitt, George Crumb, and extracts from British composer Michael Finnissy’s epic song cycle Whitman. At this time of massive political upheaval in the US this programme aims to explore and celebrate the country's musical and literary heritage, whilst prompting debate about issues within American society and politics.
This project is generously supported by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, Snape Maltings, the Hinrichsen Foundation and the RVW Trust.