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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Bawd Ballads and other songs by Seymour Barab'
Artist - Mary Hubbell (Soprano)

For those not in the classical know, Seymour Barab is one of America's most inventive composers. Barab (born January 9, 1921 in Chicago, Illinois – died June 28, 2014 in Manhattan) was an American composer of opera, songs, instrumental, and chamber music, as well as a cellist, organist, and pianist.

He was known for his fairy tale operas for young audiences, such as Chanticleer and Little Red Riding Hood. He was a longtime member of the Philip Glass Ensemble.

Funnily enough, Seymour Barab did not even begin composing until he spent a year in Paris, France from 1950-1951 on the G.I. Bill. While in Paris, Barab worked with Rene Liebowitz as a recoding producer, and together they recorded operas and symphonies. When asked what drew him to composition, Barab answered that it was envy from spending time with so many wonderful composers.

As for the other musical component of this fine recording, Mary Hubbell, she actually holds degrees from Boston College; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In the Netherlands, she was a frequent soloist with La Prunelle Ensemble and Praetorius Blokfluit Ensemble, and often appeared at the Young Composer’s Meeting in Apeldoorn and the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam.

In the United States, orchestral engagements have included Robert Kapilow’s Green Eggs and Ham with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra, Vivaldi’s Beatus vir with the Chorale Society of the Hamptons, and Bach’s Cantata BWV 202 (“Wedding”) with Musica Viva of New York. 2013-2014 season engagements have included Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Amherst College Orchestra and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the South Hadley Chorale at Mt. Holyoke College.

As for this wonderful, inventive new recording, Bawd Ballads and other songs by Seymour Barab, it was actually originally a KickStarter campaign. One that went so successfully that 44 backers pledged $10,090 to help bring this project to life for Hubbell.

Hubbell completed the recording sessions on August 22nd and 23rd at Drew University's beautiful concert hall and was joined by the talented pianist, Brent Funderburk, as well as engineer Marlan Barry and producer Geoffrey Silver. "It was an intense, but fun-filled two days," she says about those recording sessions. "We recorded three song sets by Seymour: "Parodies," "The Rivals," and "The Song Maker"," she adds.

Containing four (4) song cycles for soprano by late New York based composer, Barab, they include the three aforementioned cycles: "The Rivals" (1971, Theodore Presser), "Parodies" (1986, Boosey and Hawkes), and "The Song Maker" (unpublished), and adds the title set "Bawd Ballads" (1995, Seesaw Music Corp.).

Her debut recording, Bawd Ballads and other songs by Seymour Barab also comes together musically with the aid of the aforementioned Brent Funderburk (piano), Jesse Mills (violin), Jessica Troy (viola)< and Dave Eggar on cello. In closing, this witty and charming set of song cycles are, without a shadow of a doubt, exactly what the world needs right now: and what Hubbell, I hope, always hoped and anticipated them to be.