Updated: 7 days ago

Stephanie Wurmbrand-Stuppach (1849-1919)

pianist Nicholas Phillips

This beautiful and evocative movement comes from a larger set entitled 'Die schöne Melusine' (The Beautiful Melusina). These 'musical illustrations' depict scenes of the legendary water nymph, but the more romantic and less frightening version that was particularly popular in Romantic-era Europe. This early movement reads:

Die Wasserfee ruht einsam und traumversunken in ihrem Quell, der aus liefdunkler Felsgrotte hervorbricht

The water nymph, alone and lost in dreams, rests at her spring, which bubbles up from a dark stone grotto

Stephanie Wurmbrand-Stuppach, aka Stephanie Brand-Vrabély, led an accomplished life, widely recognized as a composer, touring virtuoso pianist, and cultural writer. She ran in circles with Liszt and Brahms among others, and supported the early efforts of Bartok, in solidarity with her Hungarian roots.

Fanny (Mendelssohn) Hensel (1805-1847)

mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo

pianist Eunmi Ko

This charming song was the first of Fanny (Mendelssohn) Hensel's works to be published (and this appears to be the first recording of it). It was printed anonymously in 1825, presumably by the poet. It is unclear whether she authorized, or was even aware of, its publication.

Fanny Mendelssohn was the oldest of four children, the second-oldest being her more well-known brother Felix. Born in 1805 to a well-to-do Jewish family in Berlin, her family struggled with the question of assimilation. However, Fanny always identified with her Jewish heritage. She was considered a prodigy for her pianistic and compositional talents, even more so than her brother. Despite her undeniable passion and abilities, she was discouraged from pursuing a career in music by her brother and father for fear it would interfere with domestic expectations of a woman at the time--a limitation she struggled with the rest of her life. She fell in love with and married visual artist Wilhelm Hensel in 1829. Thankfully he encouraged and supported her musical ambitions. She wrote roughly 500 musical works, but only 50 were published in her final years after Felix gave his long-awaited blessing. She succumbed to a stroke at age 41.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

soprano Michele Kennedy

mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo

pianist Eunmi Ko

tenor Omar Najmi

pianist Brendon Shapiro

pianist Nicholas Phillips

organist Stephan Griffin

violinist Sini Virtanen

organist Sam Nelson

bass-baritone Dashon Burton

pianist Lindsay Garritson

musicologist Charles "Eddie" Charlton

narrator Jamal Sarikoki

This week we celebrate the life and legacy of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor on the occasion of his birthday! Hear new recordings, some of which are premieres, and check out our first mini-documentary!