The Music of Langston Hughes

Old Addresses –


SKU: 00220192 Categories: , ,

Product Description

Old Addresses 

Baritone and Piano

E.B. Marks Softcover

Series:  E.B. Marks

  • Publisher: Edward B. Marks Music Company
  • Format: Softcover
  • Composer:  William Bolcom

A song cycle for baritone and piano featuring the poetry of Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Kenneth Koch and others. 24 minutes.



Literary Legacies: Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Kenneth Koch

Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Kenneth Koch are three distinguished poets whose contributions to the world of literature have left an enduring mark on the art of poetry. Despite their differences in style, thematic focus, and cultural backgrounds, these poets share several commonalities that make them pivotal figures in 20th-century poetry. This essay explores their shared characteristics and the profound influence they have had on modern poetry.


1. Poetry as Their Medium:

At the core of their shared identity lies a commitment to poetry as their chosen medium of artistic expression. Throughout their careers, Pound, Hughes, and Koch dedicated themselves to the craft of writing poems that would not only captivate readers but also challenge conventional norms and expectations within the literary world.

2. 20th Century Poets:

All three poets were active during the 20th century, a period marked by significant literary innovation and experimentation. This era witnessed the rise of various poetic movements, from modernism to the Harlem Renaissance and the New York School of poetry. Pound, Hughes, and Koch each played a vital role in their respective literary communities during this dynamic period.

3. Influential Contributions:

Pound, Hughes, and Koch made lasting contributions to the world of poetry through their innovative approaches and distinctive voices. Ezra Pound, often associated with the modernist movement, advocated for the use of imagism and free verse, challenging traditional poetic forms. His epic work, “The Cantos,” remains a hallmark of modernist literature.

Langston Hughes emerged as a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, celebrating African American culture and addressing issues of race, identity, and social justice in his poetry. Hughes’s “The Weary Blues” and other works became essential texts in the African American literary canon.

Kenneth Koch, part of the New York School of poets, introduced playfulness and experimentation to his poetry. His work, “The Art of Love,” is characterized by its witty and irreverent style, which resonated with a new generation of poets seeking to break free from tradition.

4. Published Works:

Each poet published numerous poems and collections that garnered critical acclaim and a wide readership. Ezra Pound’s diverse body of work includes his influential “Cathay” and the ambitious, multifaceted “The Cantos.” Langston Hughes’s “The Weary Blues” and “Montage of a Dream Deferred” showcase his lyrical talent and social commentary. Kenneth Koch’s “The Art of Love” and “The Pleasures of Peace” reflect his penchant for playful, accessible poetry.

5. Cultural Significance:

Beyond their contributions to literature, Pound, Hughes, and Koch hold cultural significance in various ways. Langston Hughes’s exploration of African American culture and identity not only elevated the stature of African American literature but also provided a platform for addressing issues of race and inequality.

Ezra Pound’s involvement in politics, controversial views, and interactions with other literary giants of his time contributed to his multifaceted cultural impact. Kenneth Koch’s innovative approach to poetry and his role as an educator influenced a new generation of poets, fostering a sense of experimentation and freedom within the art form.:

Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Kenneth Koch, though distinct in their styles and influences, share a rich tapestry of commonalities that have solidified their places in the annals of modern poetry. Their dedication to poetry, their contributions to literary movements, and their influence on subsequent generations of poets underscore the enduring significance of their work. These poets continue to inspire and provoke thought, reminding us of the enduring power of poetry as a medium for self-expression, cultural exploration, and social commentary.

A Little About William Bolcom, Composer

William Bolcom, a distinguished American composer and recipient of prestigious accolades including the National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Awards, was born on May 26, 1938. His remarkable musical journey encompasses a wide spectrum of genres, including keyboard, chamber, operatic, vocal, choral, band, and symphonic compositions. In 2021, he was honored with the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, a prestigious award presented by the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.

Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Bolcom’s musical odyssey began at the tender age of 11 when he commenced his composition studies under the tutelage of George Frederick McKay and John Verrall at the University of Washington. Concurrently, he continued refining his piano skills with the guidance of Madame Berthe Poncy Jacobson. His educational journey led him to study with notable figures in the music world, including Darius Milhaud at Mills College while pursuing his Master of Arts degree, Leland Smith at Stanford University during his D.M.A. studies, and a period of study with Olivier Messiaen and Milhaud at the Paris Conservatoire, culminating in the prestigious 2éme Prix de Composition.

In 1973, Bolcom joined the composition faculty at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, marking the beginning of a significant chapter in his career. His contributions were recognized when he was appointed the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in 1994, a title he held until his retirement in 2008, marking 35 years of dedicated service.

One of the crowning achievements in Bolcom’s illustrious career was winning the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 for his remarkable composition, “12 New Etudes for Piano.” Additionally, his rendition of William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience” released on the Naxos label garnered acclaim, earning him four Grammy Awards in 2005.

Bolcom’s artistry extends beyond composing, as he has frequently graced the stage as a pianist, often collaborating with his wife and musical partner, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris. Together, they have made significant contributions to the world of music, specializing in cabaret songs, show tunes, and American popular songs of the 20th century. Their collaborative efforts have yielded 25 albums, with “Autumn Leaves” being released in 2015.

As a prolific composer, Bolcom’s portfolio boasts an impressive array of compositions, including four violin sonatas, nine symphonies, four operas (“McTeague,” “A View from the Bridge,” “A Wedding,” and “Dinner at Eight”), as well as several musical theater operas, twelve string quartets, two film scores (“Hester Street” and “Illuminata”), and incidental music for stage plays, including Arthur Miller’s “Broken Glass.” His compositions span across various genres, encompassing chamber, choral, band, and vocal works.

Notably, Bolcom’s operas “McTeague,” “A View from the Bridge,” and “A Wedding” were commissioned by and premiered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, while “Dinner at Eight” had its premiere at Minnesota Opera. The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance Opera Department also staged four performances of “Dinner at Eight” in November 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Wexford Festival Opera presented five performances in October and November 2018. A radio broadcast in Ireland in November 2018, with streaming across Europe, was followed by a rebroadcast on BBC Radio 3 in the U.K. in March 2019.

One of Bolcom’s magnum opuses is his setting of William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and of Experience,” a comprehensive work for soloists, choruses, and orchestra that marked the culmination of 25 years of dedication. A memorable performance of this composition took place on April 8, 2004, in the recently-renovated Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was recorded by Naxos. This recording achieved significant acclaim, winning four Grammy Awards in 2005 in categories such as Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Producer of the Year, Classical. Leonard Slatkin conducted both this performance and an earlier one at Carnegie Hall.

In 2018, Bolcom celebrated his 80th year with nine world premieres of new compositions, a testament to his enduring creativity and commitment to the world of music.

Product Details

  • Inventory: #HL 00220192
  • ISBN: 9781423427032
  • UPC: 884088149956
  • Width: 9.0″
  • Length: 12.0″
  • Page Count: 48 Pages

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SKU: 00220192 Categories: , ,


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The Music of Langston Hughes

Inspired by his messages of justice, freedom, and the hope that a brighter future lies ahead, notable composers and arrangers have beautifully coupled Langston Hughes' passionate words with equally captivating music.

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