Awakenings: Mary McAuliffe composes the texts of Kate Chopin project video thumbnail
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$675 pledged of $5,000 goal
By Donald George
$675 pledged of $5,000 goal


We would like to commission Irish composer Mary McAuliffe to compose a song cycle using the visionary texts of  American writer  Kate Chopin (1850-1904).  Born O’Flaherty in St. Louis to Irish and French parents,  Kate Chopin is often considered one of the first feminist writers.  Her novel The Awakening published in 1899 was considered scandalous at the time as Chopin dealt openly with a woman's marriage, affair, divorce and subsequent suicide. Because of the great public uproar this novel caused, Chopin was not published again until 1969 when LSU Press brought out her complete works.

Mary McAuliffe
Mary McAuliffe

 The beautiful music of Irish composer Mary McAuliffe will complement the sensuous tone of Kate Chopin's writing perfectly. With this commission, McAuliffe will create one of the first compositions ever to use a novel as a basis for a song cycle.  She will also use Chopin’s evocative and poignant texts, helping to raise this almost-forgotten writer’s important voice again. Much of The Awakening is written poetically as seen in the following excerpt: The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude. 

The novel is also filled with evocative images of life in Louisiana and New Orleans in the late 19th century, when French was still a predominant language and culture. Chopin’s beautiful poetry also uses similar inspired, lyrical language. McAuliffe will compose for the ensemble DuoDrama consisting of Donald George, tenor and Lucy Mauro, piano.  The funds collected will be used as a commission for Mary McAuliffe enabling her to take the time to compose this selection of songs.  DuoDrama will record and perform these new works with the classical label Delos,  making Chopin’s great writing and McAuliffe’s beautiful music available worldwide through iTunes, Naxos, Amazon and others.

Donald George is from Louisiana and has long been an admirer of Kate Chopin's works, in particular The Awakening.  Irish-born Mary McAuliffe has become fascinated with Chopin's writings, the beauty of her words and the integration of Ireland and the rich culture of Francophone Louisiana and America.  Our hope is that this project will not only create great music, but also inspire a renewed interest in the unique voice of this important American female writer and the music of Mary McAuliffe. 

Donald George & Lucy Mauro
Donald George & Lucy Mauro

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