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United States Music

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Author Topic: United States Music  (Read 29609 times)
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« Reply #195 on: April 15, 2017, 09:04:51 pm »

Martha Beck Carragan (1900-1997) was the composer of this music. Her maiden name was Martha Dillard Beck, and she was married once, to the physicist George Howard Carragan (1896-1982). She was an alumna of the Oberlin Conservatory and the American Conservatory of Music. She was a pianist, a music teacher and analyst, and a composer primarily of teaching pieces for young students. In the 1930s she worked closely with Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and other composers. For many years she was on the faculty of Emma Willard School, Troy, New York, and also taught privately. She founded the Friends of Chamber Music of Troy in 1948, and this organization is still active today presenting six concerts per season by internationally knoiwn chamber groups. The Prelude for Orchestra was composed in 1976 on commission from the Albany Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Julius Hegyi, and was recorded at that time in Troy Music Hall (later known as Troy Savings Bank Music Hall). It is a free composition, and from my personal knowledge was inspired by the vision of a blue sky dotted with clouds, some light and fleecy, some dark and menacing. This contribution is by William Carragan, the son of the composer.

Prelude for Orchestra, by Martha Beck Carragan

Albany Symphony Orchestra
Julius Hegyi
Private recording of live performance
(Date Unknown, but must be between 1965 and 1988, according to the Albany Symphony Orchestra. )

From the collection of Karl Miller

I have been unable to find out much about Martha Beck (or Martha Beck Dillard, or Martha Beck Carragan- she was evidently married twice ), but she was a composer and educator in New York, and started the Friends of Chamber Music to promote playing of new chamber works in 1949.  I can say that she was not the 1940s serial killer Martha Beck, nor is she the self-help guru Martha Beck  She does seem to have been a fine composer.

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