Music of Ruth Crawford
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR658     Release Date: 2007-01-01
Ida Kavafian, violin; Vivian Fine, piano; Joseph Bloch, piano; James Ostryniec, oboe; Patricia Berlin, mezzo-soprano; Paul Hoff man, piano; Dan Armstrong, percussion; The Lark Quintet: (Arthur Bloom, clarinet; John Wion, flute; Humbert Lucarelli, oboe; Howard T. Howard, horn; Alan Brown bassoon)


"My music is experimental," Ruth Crawford said in 1933. Indeed it is—her small but choice oeuvre ranking as a major contribution to the experimental tradition in American Music. Crawford, along with Henry Cowell, Carl Ruggles, Edgard Varèse and Dane Rudhyar, were called "ultra moderns" in the 1920s—the formative decade for early American modernist music.

Born in 1901 in East Liverpool, Ohio into a Methodist minister's family, Crawford studied piano in Jacksonville, Florida (1913–1920). She moved to Chicago in 1921 to acquire a teacher's training certificate in piano at the American Conservatory of Music. Leaving this conventional path for women in music, she began composition studies in 1923 with Adolph Weidig, remaining his pupil for several years.

From 1924–1927 Crawford studied piano with Djane Lavoie Herz, who introduced her to the music of Scriabin. The Russian composer's harmonic palette and aesthetic mysticism served as a springboard for Crawford's first mature composition. Paramount in music from her first period (1924–1929) is a concern for highly dissonant unusual harmonies and post-tonal explorations. The overall style can be termed "transcendental modernism," inspired musically by Scriabin and Rudhyar and based intellectually on ideas linked in American culture since 1900, including Theosophy and Eastern mysticism; the transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau; and the imaginative traditions of Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg, the famous Chicago poet who was both friend and mentor.


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 Ruth Crawford

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

Track Listing

Sonata for Violin and Piano: I. Vibrante, agitato
Ruth Crawford
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Sonata for Violin and Piano: II. Buoyant
Ruth Crawford
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Sonata for Violin and Piano: III. Mistico, intenso
Ruth Crawford
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Sonata for Violin and Piano: IV. Allegro
Ruth Crawford
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Piano Study in Mixed Accents
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: I. Andante tranquillo
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: II. Allegro giocoso
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: III. Semplice
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: IV. Grave, presto
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: V. Lento
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: VI. Andante mystico
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: VII. Intensivo
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: VIII. Leggiero
Ruth Crawford
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Nine Preludes for Piano: IX. Tranquillo
Ruth Crawford
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Diaphonic Suite No.1 for Solo Flute or Oboe
Ruth Crawford
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Three Songs to Poems by Carl Sandburg: I. Rat Riddles
Ruth Crawford
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Three Songs to Poems by Carl Sandburg: II. Prayers of Steel
Ruth Crawford
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Three Songs to Poems by Carl Sandburg: IIII. In Tall Grass
Ruth Crawford
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Suite for Wind Quintet: I. Allegretto
Ruth Crawford
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Suite for Wind Quintet: II. Lento
Ruth Crawford
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Suite for Wind Quintet: III. Allegro possibile
Ruth Crawford
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