Music of Mary Howe
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR785     Release Date: 1998-01-01

The Vienna Orchestra; Imperial Philharmonic of Tokyo; William Strickland, Conductor; Vincenz Ruzicka, piano; Celius Dougherty, piano; Members of The Chamber Arts Society of the Catholic University of America: (Werner Lywen, violin; George Steiner, violin; Norman Lamb, viola; John Martin, cello; Wallace Mann, flute; Emerson Meyers, piano)

Born in Richmond, Virginia, on April 4, 1882, Mary Howe's passion for music grew more powerful as she matured. Her early musical and piano training was under the private tutelage of Herminie Seron. In 1904 she studied piano for a short intensive period in Dresden, Germany with Richard Burmeister, a former pupil of Liszt. She returned to the U. S. to give recitals in and around Washington, D.C. which had become her home. In 1912 she married Walter Bruce Howe and they begun to raise a family of three children. During this period she entered the Peabody Conservatory of Music to study piano with Ernest Hutcheson and Harold Randolph. There she met Anne Hull, an accomplished colleague and together they formed a duo-pianist team that toured in recital from 1920–1935.

At Peabody, Howe studied composition with Gustave Strube, a former violinist with the Gewandhaus and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and who in 1916 became the first conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. Howe earned her diploma in composition in 1922. Although she had already composed a number of mature works, she wrote "...it was not until 1924 that I really started composing. I can only say it was because gates had been opened and I wanted to go into those fields and pastures...that had always seemed the property of other people...I used to love piano playing, and wrestling with the difficulties, and the great effort to interpret. But when I began to compose I felt I had the right to be there doing it because what I worked on was myself." A short period of coaching with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in 1933 marked the end of Howe's formal training in composition.

Howe set down strong roots in the Washington, D.C. community and was actively involved in its musical affairs. Her foremost interest was the National Symphony Orchestra of which she founded in collaboration with her husband, Walter Bruce Howe, and a group of like-minded civic leaders. From its first season in 1931 through 1948, she served on the board of directors of the National Symphony Orchestra Association and organized the Women's Committee of the Association serving as its chairman for many years. The list of her associations with other civic enterprises includes the Friends of Music in the Library of Congress (initially called the Chamber Music Society of Washington), the Society of American Women Composers as already noted, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Friday Morning Music Club, as well as the MacDowell Colony, and Bennington College.

From 1924 up until the years before her death in 1964, Howe amassed a diverse catalogue which was formally complied in 1994 by her son Calderon Howe and which forms the basis of these notes. It consists of more than two hundred works comprising pieces for orchestra, various smaller instrumental ensembles, choral works, works for one and two pianos and many art songs for solo voice. Howe described her style of composition as "spanning and bridging" - reaching from the past through the contemporary to develop her own language, essentially tonal but frequently dissonant when needed, inventive, lyric and rich in texture. She always wrote with conviction, imagination and variety of expression and produced works that ranged dynamically from quiet simplicity to the most complex.


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Various Artists

Music of Mary Howe

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Stars
Mary Howe
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Sand
Mary Howe
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Castellana
Mary Howe
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Suite for String Quartet and Piano: I. Romanza
Mary Howe
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Suite for String Quartet and Piano: II. Scherzo
Mary Howe
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Suite for String Quartet and Piano: III. Finale
Mary Howe
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Interlude Between Two Pieces: I. Traits
Mary Howe
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Interlude Between Two Pieces: II. Interlude
Mary Howe
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Interlude Between Two Pieces: III. Tactics
Mary Howe
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Three Pieces After Emily Dickinson: I. "Summers of Hesperides" (Andante con moto)
Mary Howe
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Three Pieces After Emily Dickinson: II. "Birds, by The Snow" (Tranquillo)
Mary Howe
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Three Pieces After Emily Dickinson: III. "God for a Frontier" (Allegretto)
Mary Howe
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Spring Pastoral
Mary Howe
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