Academic journal article Journal of Singing

SONGS FOR VOICE AND PIANO, 4 Volumes

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

SONGS FOR VOICE AND PIANO, 4 Volumes

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MITCHELL, JOHN (b. 1941). SONGS FOR VOICE AND PIANO. 4 Volumes. Available individually on the Internet: http://www.abm-enterprises.net/artgallery2.html.

Recently a college voice student was searching the Internet for songs by American composers and found a large website devoted to the songs and other compositions of composer John Mitchell, a native of Hollywood, California. A group of Mitchell's songs was performed, and subsequently the student's teacher sent the four volume collection of the composer's entire song output to me for review. As I looked through the volumes, some song cycle titles seemed familiar, and with a little research I discovered that these same cycles under the name "Frank Mitchell" were annotated for inclusion in the second edition of Art Song in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography (1987, William K. Gaeddert, editor). These cycles (Seven Songs from William Blake; Visions from the Earth; The Earth, the Wind, and the Sky; Visions from the Flame; The Pool of Spirit; Five Sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay; Five Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay; Three Songs from the 'Mystic Trumpeter'; Three Sonnets of Keats) were composed from 1964 to 1986 and are included in Part I of Songs for Voice and Piano. Since that time, Mitchell has continued composing songs, largely sets and cycles, the most recent of which are dated 2005.

John Mitchell studied composition at UCLA and since 1962 has been a church music director, organist, and opera coach. His catalogue of compositions is quite extensive in instrumental as well as choral and vocal media. Especially in his earlier vocal works, one sees the influence of the organ in the piano parts, with frequent sustained left hand octaves, chords, or repeated notes low on the keyboard. Another hint of organ scoring appears in numerous short midrange ascending melodies between low sustained chords and repeated chords or other patterns in the right hand, as though the left hand were playing on a separate manual from the right. …

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