Yesterday we shared a video taking you through the music of Margaret Lang. Well today we wanted to share a great interview that “The Naxos Blog on Sequenza21” conducted with Margaret Ruthven Lang’s great-nephew, Fletcher DuBois (click to visit his website about Margaret Lang). It is a wonderfully insightful interview that gives you a true sense of this fascinating composer. We’ll excerpt a bit of it for you here, and then we highly encourage you read about it on “The Naxos Blog on Sequenza21“.
From “The Naxos Blog on Sequenza21“:
An Interview with Fletcher DuBois, Great Nephew of Margaret “Blossy” Lang
Pianist Lucy Mauro and tenor Donald George had to do much research about composer Margaret Lang in order to accurately perform her art songs on their new Delos recording Love is Everywhere. They shared their stories in an exclusive interview on Portara, the Naxos of America Blog.
In that research, Lang’s great nephew Fletcher DuBois shared some memories and anecdotes about his “Aunt Blossy,” the first female composer to ever have her works performed by a major American orchestra (Boston) in April 1893, with Mauro and George. We hope you enjoy the stories as much as we did.
What, Fletcher, do you remember about Blossy, which was the nickname you used to call your aunt? I heard she wrote many cards and letters.
When I was a young teenager Blossy wrote to me, and not just for birthdays. I remember how deeply I was taken by the beauty of her words, and the beauty of how she wrote. Her handwriting was very strong and had a great rhythm to it, and the curves were not overly pretty but elegantly sweeping. I remember the difference between how the letters looked when she wrote in fountain pen and when she used a ballpoint. Remember these were the years when she was well into her nineties. Her mind was alive and she could turn a wonderful phrase.
Did she talk about her compositional career?
She never to my memory spoke of her career or her former fame. I was never really aware of it until I started to do my own research in the Boston Public Library Rare Book Room with its Lang papers collection. Of course I did know that she had written songs because our Aunt Margaret Lang Spence would play the Edward Lear nonsense rhymes for us when we were children.
Did she ever talk about her compositions or how she set the words to her songs?
I do know how she emphasized the importance of the text in songs. She said this quite dramatically – if I remember rightly -by saying something like the music is the servant of the text. She was definitely of that school of thought.
I do remember thinking about the piano right near where we sat in her room and the fact that I never heard her play (as opposed to my grandfather, her brother, whom I heard play a number of times, but then he was 14 years younger than Blossy). Arthritis was well advanced, I presume.