The Major's Letter and Other Songs
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Rooted in Americana, Gary Smart's music is distinctive and colorful.

Composer-pianist Gary Smart composes, performs, and improvises music that reflects an abiding interest in Americana, world musics and jazz, as well as the western classical tradition. An artist with a wide range of constantly developing interests, Smart has lived and worked in the eastern, midwestern and western USA as well as in Germany, Japan and Indonesia. He has studied with composers Yehudi Wyner, Toru Takemitsu and John Corigliano; worked with jazz composer David Baker and film composer Henry Mancini; and studied piano with Jorge Bolet, Yale scholar-keyboardist Ralph Kirkpatrick and jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the Yale School of Music. Dr. Smart is currently Yessin Professor of Music at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Smart talks about his relationship to songs. "As a child I learned hundreds of pop songs, the great tunes of Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, Ellington, etc. My sense of melody, harmony, and textural inflection is as much influenced by classic American popular songs as it is by the great European art song tradition, which I love, but which I discovered only after entering college. These genres of course have much in common: primarily, an equitable marriage of words and music....For me, a song doesn't work unless the two become one, inseparable." Set to poems by Elizabeth Barett Browning, Langston Hughes, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, Sara Teasdale and Emily Dickinson, as well as a moving letter from a Civil War major to his wife, Smart's song cycles show his commitment to the song as a form of chamber music.
Contents:
Gary Smart, composer
Three Sonnets from the Portuguese
Louise Toppin, soprano, Gary Smart, piano

Gary Smart, composer
The Major's Letter
John Kramar, baritone, Gary Smart, piano

Gary Smart, composer
ittersweets
Louise Toppin, soprano, Gary Smart, piano

Gary Smart, composer
The First League Out from Land
Marilyn Smart, soprano, Gary Smart, piano

Gary Smart, composer
Me and My Song
William Brown, tenor, Gary Smart, piano

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