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Aborn, Lora (1907-2005). Songs For Chatka. Nine Nursery Rhymes.

ABORN, LORA (1907-2005). SONGS FOR CHATKA. Nine Nursery Rhymes.

Medium or High Voice with Piano Accompaniment. Estate of Lora Aborn, 2005 (CVR). X; [C.sub.4]-[A.sub.5]; Tess: M, CR; regular meters; varied tempos; V/E-M, P/mE-mD; 13 pages. Mezzo soprano or Soprano.

1. "The North Wind Doth Blow" X; [D.sup.#.sub.4][E.sub.5]; Tess: M; 2/4, Moderato [crochet] = 83; V/M, P/M; 2 pages.

2. "Hickory Dickory Dock." X; [G.sub.4]-[F.sup.#.sub.5]; Tess: mH; 6/8, Allegretto [crochet] = 76; V/E, P/M; 1 page.

3. "Rub A Dub Dub." X; [C.sub.4]-[D.sub.5]; Tess: M; 6/8, Rolling, rocking rhythm [quaren] = 160; V/E, P/M; 1 page.

4. "Ding, Dong, Bell." X (quartal); [D.sup.[flat].sub.4]-[G.sup.[flat].sub.5]; Tess: CR; 4/4, Adagio sostenuto [crochet] = 54; V/M, P/mE; 1 page.

5. "Hey Diddle Diddle." X; [C.sub.4]-[F.sup.#.sub.5]; Tess: M; 4/4, Allegretto [crochet] = 176; V/M, P/M; 2 pages.

6. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." X; [E.sub.4]-[A.sub.5]; Tess: CR; 4/4, Allegretto; V/M, P/M; 1 page.

7. "Sleep, Baby, Sleep!" X; [F.sub.4]-[F.sub.5]; Tess: M; 6/8, Tranquillo [quaren] = 96; V/M, P/M; 1 page.

8. "Sing a Song of Sixpence" X; [G.sup.[flat].sub.4]-[E.sup.[flat].sub.5]; Tess: M; 12/8, Vivace; V/M, P/mD; 2 pages.

9. "Night Is Come." X; [F.sup.#.sub.4]-[G.sub.5]; Tess: CR; 12/8, Mysteriously; V/M, P/M; 2 pages.

Lora Aborn began her music studies in New York City, where she studied piano, music theory, and composition at the Effa Ellis Perfield School of Music. Finishing her high school years in California (where she lived with her aunt after her mothers death), she then attended Oberlin Conservatory as a composition major and later the American Conservatory in Chicago. Throughout her very long career as a composer--almost seventy years--she composed both instrumental and vocal music, much of which was performed regularly during her lifetime, although few songs were published until very recently.

While composing for the ballet and other instrumental ensembles, Lora Aborn was also the organist and music director of the Unitarian Universalist church, Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple, in Oak Park, Illinois, for over forty years. She remained composerin-residence at the church and composed many vocal works especially for use in the Unitarian service. Three of the composer's songs are included on the CD titled My Native Land, Jennifer Larmore, mezzo soprano.

Songs for Chatka are settings of nine nursery rhymes composed for Aborn's daughter Chatka. All of the songs are very short with little or no text repetition for purposes of musical development; rather, the music for each text captures in the piano part the essence of the rhyme in both musical motive and motion and underlies a straightforward setting of the text. The vocal lines also capture the motion of the text both in their melodic contours and in the word rhythms.

The wind in "The North Wind Doth Blow" is evoked in a chromatic sixteenth-note pattern in the right hand over the coldness of open fifths in the left hand. The straightforward text of "Hickory Dickory Dock" rides on a slightly skewed "tick-tock" figure in the piano. The "Rolling, rocking rhythm" of "Rub A Dub Dub" is perfect for the ungainly motion of three men in a tub. "Ding, Dong, Bell" is set in falling whole tone vocal melodies over bell-like open fourths and fifths in the piano. The syncopated tune and open fourths and fifths of the piano part provide just the right setting for "Hey Diddle Diddle." "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" gleams over a running sixteenth-note piano figure in the right hand with a countermelody in the left that begin high on the keyboard. In "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" the baby sleeps to the tranquil movement of parallel chromatic chords in a narrow range under a countermelody in the right hand. "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is a rushing river of triplet figures in the piano under the flowing melodic line. The piano part of "Night Is Come" paints the various sounds of the night "Mysteriously" with gently moving chromatic chords. In all the songs, the vocal line is quite simple, but not always predictable in its harmonic outlines. For this reason, the turn of melody is sometimes surprising.

This short set of songs would be interesting to program with other nursery rhyme settings, as a short group between longer, heavier works, or as the final group on a program. The set would also be useful for young singers. Abbreviation key: Diff = difficulty level; V = voice; P = piano; E = easy; mE = moderately easy; M = medium; mD = moderately difficult; D = difficult; DD = very difficult; Tess = tessitura; LL = very low; L = low; mL = moderately low; M = medium; mH = moderately high; H = high; HH = very high; CR = covers range; CS = covers staff; X = no clear key center.

Judith E. Carman holds the BM and MM degrees in vocal performance with minors in piano and languages from George Peabody College (Nashville, TN), the DMA degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa, and has done postdoctoral studies in advanced musical analysis and conducting at the University of Houston. Her dissertation in American art song, "Twentieth-Century American Song Cycles: A Study in Circle Imagery," led to the editorship of the first and third editions of Art Song in the United States, 1759-1999: An Annotated Bibliography (3rd ed., Scarecrow Press, 2001).

Dr. Carman has taught studio and class voice and related subjects at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, The University of Iowa, Central Michigan University, Lansing (MI) Community College, Houston Baptist University, and Texas Southern University, as well as maintained a private voice studio in Houston, 1979-2007. She has made numerous presentations on American art song, including three NATS Summer Intern sessions and a NATS Winter Workshop (Miami).

Dr. Carman has taught yoga with a special emphasis on yoga for singers since 1999 and has conducted numerous Yoga and Singing workshops. She presented three sessions on Yoga and Singing at the NATS Winter Workshop in Los Angeles (2008) and taught Yoga for Singers classes at the NATS National Conference in Nashville (2008). Dr. Carman is certified at the 500 hour level (RYT500) by the American Viniyoga Institute and is registered with Yoga Alliance.
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Author:Carman, Judith
Publication:Journal of Singing
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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