Thursday, July 14, 2011

Love in a Life

Wm. H. R. Drake, elegantly written on the top right hand corner of “Love in a Life” and “A Lute of Jade,” song cycles by Gena Branscombe.

Published in 1907 by G. Schirmer of New York, “Love in a Life,” is six song settings selected from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets From the Portuguese” poetry. This very song cycle drew me to Miss Branscombe’s songs for the third song in the collection is “How Do I Love Thee?” and the one I performed on a Valentine’s Day recital in Florida. Now I own the original published work.

Though I have no idea what year Mr. Wm H. R. Drake purchased the music, it cost him a total of $1.25. Softly stamped on the title page is Chandler-Ebel Music Company, 22 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, New York.

Owning my second original publication of the “A Lute of Jade,” I now have one for Soprano/Tenor and one for Alto/Bass. Soft green lettering on a brown cover held together with the maroon cord. Mr. Drake paid $1.00 for the song cycle.

I have no idea who Wm. H. R. Drake is, where he lived (possibly Brooklyn) or why he purchased these two song cycles, yet I am happy he did. We have no way of knowing the journey this music has taken in the past 100 years and how it came to be for sale by a person in Ohio. I am thankful to the people, who over the past century, took special care with this music.  They touched, held, played, sang and performed it with tenderness.  Now it is home with me.

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