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Bob Dylan: Make You Feel My Love

From Ellie Gisler Murphy, Caramoor’s Senior Artist Planning Manager:

Likely one of the most achingly romantic songs I know is Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” probably made most famous by Billy Joel and then, of course, Adele.

This song came to prominence in my own life early in my pregnancy when we were still in those first uncertain twelve weeks when losing a pregnancy is common. The words “I know you haven’t made your mind up yet, but I will never do you wrong” still have the ability to bring me to tears. For me, this song always felt less like romantic love and much more like the love of a parent for a child – who among us wouldn’t go hungry for a child? This song brings me through all the stages of her life, the incredible birth, those ever-traumatizing emotional periods of toddler and teenage-hood, and then to the far future, as she is making her dreams come true (perhaps in spite of her parents). We are eager for every minute of it. The ever-raspy, and still soulful Sprechstimme of Bob Dylan:

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
Oh, I hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I will never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong

I’d go hungry; I’d go black and blue
And I’d go crawling down the avenue
No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of this Earth for you
To make you feel my love, oh yes
To make you feel my love

Caramoor’s Senior Artistic Planning Manager, Ellie Gisler Murphy is celebrating five years
working in programming and production in the Artistic department at Caramoor. Ms. Murphy
received her BM in Classical Vocal Performance at the University of Connecticut before
pursuing artistic administration professionally. She worked at the Metropolitan Opera,
Glimmerglass and Castleton Opera Festivals, and Columbia Artists before finding her home at
Caramoor where she enjoys the diversity and innovation of Caramoor’s multi-disciplinary
programming.

The Beatles: Good Night

From Ellie Gisler Murphy, Caramoor’s Senior Artist Planning Manager:

Every year, we are asked to contribute to the great NYFOS Song of the Day blog, and each time, I am moved by something in my own life. This time around, there’s nothing more prominent in my life than my literal stomach, which is currently housing a child who will make an appearance imminently (baby is due March 7th !). I am incredibly sad to miss this year’s Vocal Rising Stars at Caramoor, which always brings me back to my roots in classical song, but everyone should take comfort in knowing that our sweet little one is being born into a family of musicians and we will sing to her from the moment she is born. This time, I chose two songs that will perhaps always remind me of her and will be sung to her, no matter who she turns out to be.

I grew up in a household full of music. Both my parents are talented amateur musicians and compulsive singers – you have to find yourself taking care to not say any sing-able phrase aloud lest the whole family breaks into song mid conversation – even a cheerful “Good Morning” will either give you Garland and Rooney or, perhaps more often from my flower child mother, “Good Morning Starshine” from Hair. “Goodnight”, on the other hand, is eternally reserved for the Beatles. Written by John Lennon for his five-year-old son Julian and sung by the dear, underrated Ringo Starr (over very simple piano in this early take, though the final version arranged by George Martin was orchestrated per John Lennon’s wishes).

Caramoor’s Senior Artistic Planning Manager, Ellie Gisler Murphy is celebrating five years
working in programming and production in the Artistic department at Caramoor. Ms. Murphy
received her BM in Classical Vocal Performance at the University of Connecticut before
pursuing artistic administration professionally. She worked at the Metropolitan Opera,
Glimmerglass and Castleton Opera Festivals, and Columbia Artists before finding her home at
Caramoor where she enjoys the diversity and innovation of Caramoor’s multi-disciplinary
programming.

Song of the Day: February 26

CaramoorThis week our curators of the Song of the Day blog are the Artistic Administration staff of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (our next concert, “At Home,” which will take place both at Caramoor and at Merkin Hall, features Caramoor’s 2016 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars). Today’s selection comes from Caramoor’s Manager of Artistic Planning, Ellie Gisler Murphy:

 

Ave Maris Stella – Edvard Grieg (1898)

My husband and I both come from formal classical musical backgrounds and as a result, have gathered a large contingent of incredibly talented friends.  As we planned our wedding, we knew we wanted to utilize these high quality (and free!) musicians to create a sacred space in which to bless our marital bond.  Choosing the music was far more difficult – we are both spiritual people but come from opposite ends of a spiritual spectrum.  He is a by-the-book Catholic and I am an increasingly conflicted Unitarian.  When we decided it was appropriate to be married within a Unitarian congregation, we felt just as strongly that we wanted to honor my husband and many of our family with sacred texts as long as they still coincided with the liberal and feminist beliefs of the Unitarian community.  To that end, we chose two settings of Marian texts to be sung by a male chorus– Ave Maria (Rachmaninoff) and Ave Maris Stella, my favorite setting of which is by the great Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg.

 

I have long loved Grieg and have also spent a great deal of time in Norway, but somehow didn’t find out until after the wedding that Grieg himself was a Unitarian.  The composer tended towards deep religious crisis throughout his life and following the death of his parents and a momentary breakup of his marriage, turned to his wife’s Unitarianism as a vehicle to explore the great theological questions of life and what comes after.  His music touched on sacred texts only rarely during his prolific lifetime, dedicating himself instead to the Norwegian people, folk tales, and the mountainous landscape of his beloved country.  Ave Maris Stella , originally a solo song, was rewritten for double chorus and published in 1898 as the second in Grieg’s “Two Sacred Choruses” .  The miniature work is rarely written about in Grieg biographies, so it’s difficult to assume what exact importance Grieg himself placed on the piece.  What is indisputable is the great care with which the piece is crafted, evidence perhaps of the reverence that Grieg still held toward the most sacred of women in spite of his sustained religious doubt.  The piece is wholly sacred, pious, and somehow, in the same breath, soaring and joyful.

The Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, performing Edvard Grieg’s Ave Maris Stella

Song of the Day: February 25

CaramoorThis week our curators of the Song of the Day blog are the Artistic Administration staff of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (our next concert, “At Home,” which will take place both at Caramoor and at Merkin Hall, features Caramoor’s 2016 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars). Today’s selection comes from Caramoor’s Manager of Artistic Planning, Ellie Gisler Murphy:


I Will
– The Beatles (1968)

I grew up in a family of incredibly serious amateur musicians.  My father, a scientist and an early music fanatic is quick to write off anything that was composed after 1920 and his ear very quickly turns off in disgust at the hint of anything electronic, post-tonal, or explicit.  He’s a purist, which I’m proud of, with very few exceptions, one of them being The Beatles, which my mother, a true child of the 60’s, fully endorsed.  The Beatles became just as steadfast a character in my childhood as classical composers were. Perhaps because of their similar reverence to form, romanticism, drama and a clear willingness to change and evolve, they drew great respect from my father, and thus was allowed to be played freely and loudly throughout my life.

 

I’m feeling very close to the song “I Will” lately, as it was the backdrop for my husband’s and my first dance at our recent December wedding.   The very short (and very sweet!) acoustic song seems nearly an afterthought on the extensive White Album, surrounded by irreverent, electric and ground-breaking pieces like “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” and on another side, “Helter Skelter”.   But of all the pieces in the Beatles canon that came before and after, Paul McCartney said that I Will was one of his favorite melodies of all time.   The affection he had for the piece resulted in a drawn out search to find the words to fit.  Each different set of lyrics Paul and his partners came up with left him wanting, and in the end he settled for something he had written himself. The words, “very simple”, “straight love-song words really”1, make it a complete snapshot – simply a tender, uncomplicated and vulnerable love.

 

My favorite words:

And when at last I found you

Your song will fill the air

Sing it loud so I can hear you

Make it easy to be near you

All the things you do endear you to me

Oh, you know I will.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5GJvW8Q-ls

1Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now by Barry Miles

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