Mothers represent a whole spectrum of attributes, both mythic and uniquely personal: they can be forces of nature and nurturing, guidance and inspiration, patience and strength, and, of course, love: profound, fierce, unconditional. This proposed album features musical compositions that pay tribute to the diverse aspects of motherhood, from the sacred (“Ave Maria”) to the saucy (“Mrs. Robinson”), and everything in between.
Motherhood, perhaps the prototype of creation, has inspired us to utilize our full creative potentialities as arrangers and interpreters, crafting a concept album comprised of "singles" from a surprising multitude of genres, artfully juxtaposed, transcending time and place. Apart from the Rachmaninoff suite, all works are arranged by Anderson & Roe. See below for proposed tracks, sample audio files, and more information.
Potential Track List
Suite No. 1 (Fantaisie-tableaux) for Two Pianos, Op. 5 (Rachmaninoff)
The Night... The Love
Of all the works we perform, this is our mothers' favorite; we include this composition to honor their tremendous influence and inspiration.
What a Wonderful World (Weiss & Thiele)
As an homage to the beauty that mothers bring to our lives, we've included the classic American standard “What a Wonderful World,” a tender meditation on the wonder of existence. (This arrangement, based on Rachmaninoff's "Lilacs," Op. 21, No. 5, is dedicated to Greg’s grandmothers who passed away in 2015.)
Songs My Mother Taught Me (Dvorak)
Dvořák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me" is a wistful ode to the sacrifices of motherhood.
Mrs. Robinson (Simon & GarfunKEL)
Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” is famously featured in Mike Nichols’ film The Graduate; the movie features a mother who, in Anne Bancroft's indelible seductress, archly challenges the beatific maternal ideal. To highlight its erotic associations, we liberally quote from "I Put a Spell on You," made famous by Nina Simone.
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
We then proceed with another iconic (albeit very different) pop tune. This epic cover for two pianos, based on Queen's classic hit, would be created especially for this album. (Approximately 8 min.)
A Mother's Grief (Grieg)
A four-hand arrangement of Grieg's "The Mother's Lament," Op. 60, No. 2; yet to be composed. (Approximately 3 min.)
Brahms’ “Cradle Song: Good Evening, Good Night”—which happens to be a song our mothers taught us during our earliest years—sweetly conjures memories of comfort and is rightfully one of the most popular lullabies around the world.
Ave Maria (Schubert)
Another beloved piece linked with the maternal is Schubert’s “Ave Maria"; its traditionally sung lyrics honor the Virgin Mary, one of the ultimate icons of motherhood.
Let It Be (the Beatles)
The set concludes with The Beatles' gospel-inflected ballad to yet another Mother Mary in “Let It Be”:
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Paul McCartney pays poignant and powerful tribute to his mother Mary, who tragically died of an embolism when he was only 14; yet as the lyrics attest, he could also be invoking the same Mary of “Ave Maria,” a symbolic nod to his mother’s Catholic faith. Our cover version pushes the extremes of gospel piano playing.
Humming Chorus (Puccini)
As an encore of sorts, the album ends quietly and unexpectedly as one of the most tragic mothers of all time—"Butterfly" or Ciocio-san from Puccini's Madame Butterfly—awaits her lover in a state of vigil alongside her daughter. This arrangement and performance would be in collaboration with the a cappella group Accent. Accent would record their vocals separately, as they usually do, and we would mix their performance with our piano accompaniment later.
The arrangement would begin with Accent humming the chorus part exactly as done in the original, with Anderson & Roe performing the accompaniment on muted pianos. Eventually Accent's singing would veer increasingly in the direction of jazz, while still preserving the meditative quality of the music. To get a sense of this musical result, imagine a cross between these two performances: