Ethan McGrath, Sarah Tullock & Justin Hipp | An Echo from Willowwood

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Classical: Art songs Classical: Piano solo Moods: Type: Lyrical
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An Echo from Willowwood

by Ethan McGrath, Sarah Tullock & Justin Hipp

A reflection of the composer's love of poetry and the expressive intimacy of a solo voice and piano, a collection of songs and piano works by composer Ethan McGrath.
Genre: Classical: Art songs
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Keen Stars Were Twinkling
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
3:18 $0.99
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2. Hark! Hark! the Lark
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
1:21 $0.99
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3. The Drops of the Night
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
1:57 $0.99
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4. Nocturne No. 1
Ethan McGrath
2:43 $0.99
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5. O Mistress Mine
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
2:13 $0.99
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6. Jenny Kiss'd Me
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
2:17 $0.99
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7. Can It Be Right?
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
2:55 $0.99
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8. I Hide Myself Within My Flower
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
2:00 $0.99
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9. An Echo from Willowwood: 1. Love's Warning
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
2:54 $0.99
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10. An Echo from Willowwood: 2. By the Water's Brink
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
3:53 $0.99
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11. Nocturne No. 2
Ethan McGrath
5:20 $0.99
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12. Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
3:03 $0.99
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13. Sing On
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
1:55 $0.99
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14. Music I Heard With You
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
3:12 $0.99
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15. Two Whitman Songs: 1. A Clear Midnight
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
1:38 $0.99
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16. Two Whitman Songs: 2. Joy, Shipmate, Joy!
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
1:20 $0.99
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17. Three American Sketches: 1. Song of the Frontier
Ethan McGrath
2:47 $0.99
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18. Three American Sketches: 2. Song of an Indian
Ethan McGrath
3:15 $0.99
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19. Three American Sketches: 3. Song of the Free Spirit
Ethan McGrath
1:49 $0.99
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20. Night-Song in the Jungle
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
1:09 $0.99
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21. Tell Me Where Is Fancy Bred
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
1:23 $0.99
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22. Full Fathom Five
Ethan McGrath & Justin Hipp
1:32 $0.99
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23. Minuet in C Major
Ethan McGrath
0:55 $0.99
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24. I Stood Up Abruptly
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
2:39 $0.99
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25. Velvet Shoes
Ethan McGrath & Sarah Tullock
3:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
For the first several years of my musical experience, from about age nine to fourteen, I was a pianist exclusively. In fact, I found music for other instruments to be uninteresting at least, pretty appalling at worst. Vocal music was worst of all. So I am probably more surprised than anyone that my first independent album consists mostly of my compositions for solo voice. I came into vocal music and composition through the back door—or perhaps a window. During my early teens, my grandfather took me to a piano recital by Desirae and Deondra Brown—two of the “Five Browns,” a group of siblings whose piano virtuosity has won great fame in recent years. Their repertoire included the 'Symphonic Dances' from Bernstein’s 'West Side Story.' Shortly after that concert, I zealously began work on a piano arrangement of “Somewhere.” This was my first significant step towards composition. I also purchased a “best of” type CD of Bernstein’s music, simply because it included excerpts from the Symphonic Dances. However, it also included lots of his vocal music, which, true to form, I did not care for at first. But something kept me listening until gradually the music grew on me. It was a stroke of luck that introduced me to Leonard Bernstein. Not only was he what I wanted to be at the time—a pianist—, but also a conductor, composer, and educator. That opened my mind; I realized that I was not obliged to maintain my narrow focus.

Although I wrote some elementary music for solo voices with this inspiration, my first truly successful attempts at composition turned out to be choral works. In 2005, I met Gerald Peel, a Chattanooga musician of diverse skills and the director of a community male choir called InSpirit; he invited me to be the group’s accompanist. This opportunity introduced me to lots of new choral works, and I became more and more interested in the medium. This early inspiration, around five years of trial-and-error attempts, and the help of my teacher, J. Bruce Ashton, finally came to fruition in my 2009 choral work, “Agnus Dei.” This highly simple a cappella work is the first composition of mine that has notable merit on its own—not just the educational merit gained in the composition process. This small success led me to write more and more choral works. However, my zeal was soon frustrated by the lack of performance opportunities. I continued writing for chorus, but also began to write songs for voice and piano; with this scoring I only needed to seek the assistance of one singer, instead of twenty-five. Indeed, performance opportunities started to emerge more readily.

Perhaps it was the convenience of the genre that led Schubert to write some six hundred songs; they could be performed quite easily in small, informal gatherings, which furnished many of Schubert’s primary performance opportunities. Indeed, as a composer, I approach the genre with the impressionistic ideal of spontaneity, of capturing apparently unexpected, liminal events and freezing them in time. They function almost like songs in a play—characters spontaneously break forth singing when the emotion of a scene is too great for mere speech, defying the notion that the song had in fact been painstakingly crafted and thoroughly rehearsed. But for art song, unlike musical drama, the audience members are left to make up their own stories—to improvise in their minds the events that lead the metaphorical singers to sing their songs. Each song is therefore a collaboration between composer, poet, performer, and audience—allowing for spontaneous interpretations on multiple levels.

Incidentally, Justin Hipp was one of the first to participate in such a collaboration involving my songs. I dedicated a set of Shakespeare settings to him, and he gave them their first performance in 2010. This was particularly fun since it came on the heels of InSpirit’s tour to England, where Justin and I attended a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Coincidentally, Justin had attended school with Sarah Tullock, a music teacher and the choir director at a local Methodist church. I met her during my interim as pianist at her church. Immensely impressed by her diverse talents, I asked her to sing a solo in the 2011 premiere of my 'Two Scottish Love Songs.' After these successful performances, I developed an itch to go to the next level: a CD. I contacted Justin and Sarah in the fall of 2011 to ask if they might help out a “starving artist” with such a project; they graciously agreed.

During the year following, I learned some valuable lessons: releasing an album is an immensely complicated ordeal! We all had busy and conflicting schedules, as did our venue of choice—the recital hall at Southern Adventist University. So we recorded a little here and a little there, whenever we could find mutual time. If somewhat stressful, this approach inadvertently symbolizes the spirit in which most of the songs were written—a little spontaneously, whenever I could find the time to and inspiration to compose them. It all represents the perpetual human search for fleeting moments of beauty and meaning amid life’s chaos.

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