Christian Wolff

I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman

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This collection presents a wonderful overview of the variety and range in Christian Wolff's work from 1950 through 1987, from the most delicate of soundpieces, to gently humorous works, to powerfully moving political and humanist statements. There are excellent performances by The Barton Workshop with composer/trombonist James Fulkerson as conductor and director. The works included are several that address feminist concerns and history: Piano Trio (Greenham - Seneca - Camiso), named after three women's peace encampments around the world; I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman, with a powerful text by Susan Griffin about this brave "conductor" on the Underground Railroad who risked life and limb to guide slaves to freedom, which text also contains pointed references to modern times; and the Piano Song (I am a Dangerous Woman), to an insightful text by Joan Cavanagh ("I will tell you, sir, whether you are concerned or not, masculinity has made of this world a living hell, a furnace burning away at hope, love, faith, and justice"). There are surprising instrumental pieces: the delicate Duo for Violinist and Pianist (1961) which is also a duo about contrasting senses of time; the remarkably forward-looking Serenade (1950) which Wolff composed when he was only sixteen years old; the beautiful in memoriam piece For Morty; and the sweetly humorous Stardust Pieces, named after his third child, Starbuck. The Eisler Ensemble Pieces contain variations on traditional folk songs about joyful resistance to oppression.

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