Recording from Feb. 18, 2014 concert with the Robinsons
(Joseph, oboe; Mary Kay, piano; Rebecca, mezzo-soprano).
I. Some Hallucinations (lyrics by Lewis Carroll)
A Perfectly Sane Tempo [5:32] MP3
II. The Purist (lyrics by Ogden Nash)
Allegro academia [3:32] MP3
III. You Are Old, Father William (lyrics by Lewis Carroll)
Guano ma non troppo [6:13] MP3
Flute, Clarinet Edition
part Clarinet part Vocal
Joseph and Mary Kay Robinson (no relation) came to a concert in 2006 featuring some of my music performed by Eric Pritchard at Duke University. Joe had a long career as principle oboist with the New York Philharmonic, and Mary Kay has performed extensively as a violinist. They asked me to write a trio for oboe, violin, and piano, which resulted in Aditya Hridayam. After they performed this at Duke with Thomas Warburton, I realized how lucky I was to work with musicians of this caliber. In February 2012, Mary Kay was one of the musicians performing my Clarinet Sextet for clarinet and strings, which was a wonderful performance.
In 2011, Joe and Mary Kay asked me to write a piece they could perform with their aspiring diva daughter Becky, with Mary Kay playing piano. I wrestled with ideas for lyrics for many months, but found this to be an exceptionally difficult assignment. After finishing Violations for viol consort (or string ensembles) on February 19, 2012, it was time to sit down to do Robinsongs, a set of songs for, well, the Robinsons. After delays and false starts with other lyrics, I managed to start scribbling Lewis Carroll’s Some Hallucinations on April 30, but progress was quite difficult. After that came Ogden Nash’s The Purist. (I’ve made a good-faith effort to find the holder of the copyright—but then, my music is so far from profitable that I don’t suppose royalties will be an issue.) Finally after much struggle and an uncommonly slow season of composition, came another Lewis Carroll poem, You Are Old, Father William, finished on the ominous date of September 11.
In August 2015 I made a new version of Robinsongs for mezzo, flute, clarinet, and piano, at the suggestion of Marianne Breneman, clarinetist and member of Conundrum, a chamber music group of soprano, flute, clarinet, and piano. This also resulted in making a second edition of the original version.
Accidentals hold through the measure and not beyond, and do not refer to other octaves. Sometimes I include courtesy accidentals to avoid confusion. Notes retain their value through meter changes.It is a great privilege to give this little piece to such superb musicians, and I hope they find it enjoyable to play.
He thought he saw an Elephant,
A conscientious scientist,
Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
"You mean," he said, "a crocodile."
You Are Old, Father William
Joseph Robinson is one of the last oboists in America to study with the legendary Marcel Tabuteau, Joseph Robinson has been one of the outstanding orchestral musicians of his generation, serving as Principal Oboe of the New York Philharmonic for 27 years from June 1978 until September 2005. Known especially for his lyricism and phrasing, he has performed concerti, orchestral, and chamber works in concert halls around the world to international critical acclaim.
Mr. Robinson has had a distinguished teaching career, serving for more than 20 years as head of Oboe Studies at the Manhattan School of Music, where he helped establish the first Master of Orchestral Studies degree in America and from which he received the Presidential Medal for Meritorious Faculty Service in 2005. He has taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Maryland, Duke University and at Lynn University's Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida. His many students occupy important positions all over the world.
Today, Mr. Robinson resides in Blaine, Washington with his wife, violinist Mary Kay Robinson. They are parents of three remarkable daughters — executive Katie, doctor Jody and diva Becky.
Mary Kay Robinson, violinist, is a 1968 graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Dorothy DeLay and Ivan Galamian. She studied chamber music with Felix Galimir, Donald Weilerstein, Josef Gingold and members of the Guarneri String Quartet. She furthered her education with studies with Glenn Dicterow, Gregory Fulkerson and Gerald Beal. Her first job after graduation was as violin instructor at the University of Tennessee, in her hometown of Knoxville, where she filled in for her former teacher, William Starr, who was on sabbatical in Japan. She was a member of the University of Tennessee String Quartet and later held a similar position in the University of Maryland String Quartet.
She has toured with Solisti New York and spent many summers playing with the OK Mozart Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, and Bellingham Festival of Music. In 2008 she taught at Duke University as well as maintaining a private studio. Also that year, she performed Bill Robinson’s Sonata for Solo Violin #4 at Brevard, NC. She performed on Bill Robinson’s 2012 concert at Duke. Bill has composed two pieces for her to play with her husband oboist Joseph Robinson.
quickly making a name for herself as a rising talent in the opera
accomplished young singer, she is currently in her second
year as a
Master’s student of Sanford Sylvan’s at McGill University in
Robinson has studied under the tutelage of renowned artists
Bunnell, Susanne Mentzer, Karen Beardsley Peters, and the