American Song


Meriel and Peter Dickinson

HTGCD231 – 5013993893394

Songs by Elliott Carter, John Cage, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson.

The Dickinsons, who flourished from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, performed works by Copland, Carter and Thomson for the composers themselves and their performances, which are captured on this disc, including the Cage cycle, were first recordings, as is Copland’s late piano piece Night Thoughts. As such, it is an important and historic release for those interested in American music.

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    GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898–1937)

  1. ‘I got rhythm’, from Girl Crazy (1930)
  2. (arr. Peter Dickinson)
    Text: Ira Gershwin (1896–1983)


    E L L I O T T  C A R T E R (born 1908)
    Three Poems of Robert Frost (1943)

  3. ‘Dust of Snow’
  4. ‘The Rose Family’
  5. ‘The Line Gang’
  6. Premiere recording
    Texts: Robert Frost (1874–1963)


    AARON COPLAND (1900–1990)

  7. ‘In Evening Air’ (1966) [piano solo]
  8. ‘Night Thoughts (Homage to Ives)’ (1972) [piano solo]
  9. Premiere recording

  10. ‘Poet’s Song’ (1927)
  11. Premiere recording
    Text: E. E. cummings (1894–1962)


    E L L I O T T C A R T E R (born 1908)

  12. ‘Voyage’ (1943)
  13. Premiere recording
    Text: Hart Crane (1899–1932)


    VIRGIL THOMSON (1896–1989)
    Two by Marianne Moore (1963)

  14. ‘English Usage’
  15. ‘My Crow Pluto’
  16. Premiere recording
    Texts: Marianne Moore (1887–1972)


    JOHN CAGE (1912–1992)
    Five Songs for Contralto (1938) (7'52")

  17. ‘Little four paws’
  18. ‘Little Christmas Tree’
  19. ‘In just’
  20. ‘Hist whist’
  21. ‘Another comes’
  22. Premiere recording
    Texts: E. E. cummings (1894–1962)

VIRGIL THOMSON (1896–1989)

  1. ‘Portrait of F. B. (Frances Blood)’ (1929)
  2. Text: Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)


    GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898–1937)

  3. ‘A Foggy Day’, from A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  4. (arr. Peter Dickinson)
    Text: Ira Gershwin (1896–1983)

  5. ‘They all laughed’, from Shall we Dance (1937)
  6. (arr. Peter Dickinson)
    Text: Ira Gershwin (1896–1983)


    AARON COPLAND (1900–1990)
    from Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (1950) (19'22")

  7. ‘There came a wind like a bugle’
  8. ‘Why do they shut me out of Heaven?’
  9. ‘The world feels dusty’
  10. ‘Heart, we will forget him’
  11. ‘Dear March, come in!’
  12. ‘Sleep is supposed to be’
  13. ‘I felt a funeral in my brain’
  14. ‘I’ve heard an organ talk sometimes’
  15. ‘Going to Heaven!’
  16. Texts: Emily Dickinson (1830–1886)


Mereil Dickinson (mezzo soprano) [tracks 1–4; 7–27]

Peter Dickinson (piano)

Tracks 1–18:
Recorded 28 March 1977, All Saints’, Petersham, Surrey
Producer, sound engineer & editor: Bob Auger
Digital remastering: Peter Newble
Tracks 19–27:
Live recording, 20 April 1975, Walter Moberly Hall, Keele University, Staffs
Sound engineer: Cliff Bradbury
Not previously released
Digital remastering: Peter J. Reynolds and Peter Newble


  1. admin

    ‘these recordings also have authority as well as boundless expressiveness and enthusiasm. It’s a wonderful musical voyage to the New World.’
    Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, November 2014

  2. admin

    ‘Thank you so much for sending me your excellent recording. I have listened to the performances with the greatest pleasure. Your playing is absolutely top-flight, and your sister’s command of the Gershwin style, let alone all the others, is superb.’
    William Schuman

  3. admin

    ‘Meriel Dickinson’s mezzo is in fine fettle, and she thrillingly embraces the stylistic extremes of Copland’s ecstatic ‘Going to Heaven’ and the eccentric speech-song of Virgil Thomson’s ‘Portrait of F.B.’
    Paul Driver, Sunday Times, 2012

  4. admin

    ‘Elegant Elliott Carter and John Cage’
    BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

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