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Dogwood Daughter: SPIRIT QUEST BLOG

A Gentleman in Old Copenhagen

Posted on November 30, 2017 with 0 comments

I'm happy to share my latest creation, a new classical suite based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen.  I'm publishing this little set of pieces as a joint  project of Dogwood Daughter and Lily Cat Music for Kids.  It's intended as music for both adults and children.

As Lily Cat Music for Kids,  I always try to compose music that both adults and children will love and even listen to together.  Take a listen A Gentleman in Old Copenhagen here at Bandcamp, where streaming is always free. 

 

When I get around to it, I'll probably load it on iTunes, Amazon and the other major digital distributos, but for now, it's just on Bandcamp.  Bandcamp (and CDBaby) are both so good to indie artists like me. 

 

 

And now, the story of how I came to write a suite for Hans Christian Andersen, as it appears on the Bandcamp site:

 

When my mother was a little girl in Sugar Tree, Tennessee in the 1920s, the only book she owned was a beautiful turquoise bound volume of the Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. With a gold leaf embossed spine and color plates, it was a Christmas gift to her from her adult cousin, Aline Adkins, whose husband and father both had good paying jobs with the state; Aline could afford to buy books.

 


My mother's family could not. Her daddy was a subsistence farmer. The family was desperately poor during the Depression. There were times little Pattie Jean didn't even have a coat long enough to cover her long, gangley arms and legs. Books were luxuries her mama and daddy would have liked to have given her but could not.

 



My mother treasured her gift from Aline. As far as I know, it was the only book she brought with her when, at age 19, she moved from Sugar Tree to Oak Ridge and eventually married my Daddy.

 


When I was a little girl, my mother's book of Andersen's Fairy Tales became my favorite book too. I spent hours downstairs, curled in the old rocking chair, reading those wonderful tales and poring over the illustrations.



Once, when I asked my mother which stories had been her favorites when she was a little girl, she answered without hesitation: "The Emperor's New Clothes' and 'Big Claus and Little Claus.' Those weren't my favorites. In fact, the sinister story of "Big Claus and Little Claus' always scared me.



My favorites, the ones I read over and over again, were The Wild Swans, The Mermaid and The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree.



I don't know what happened to my mother's book. I wish I did. It disappeared somewhere between moves and other familial upheavals. I've searched for the same edition of that old book on line but have never been able to find it.



Fairy tales are not just for children. They are parables of the human condition, imparting perennial wisdom and psychological insights.



Like the tales themselves, this new classical suite is not just for children. It's for adults too. Nor was it my intention to compose tone poems. That is to say, I've not attempted to tell the action of the stories as much as to impart a sense of the feelings they evoked in me when I was, as James Agee said, 'so successfully disguised to myself as a child.'


As always, I ask you to share my music with others. I'm an indie artist with no advertising other than word of mouth from kind people like you. Thank you. Martha Maria