Abigail! for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (Flute, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Harp, Violin, Viola and Cello)
Abigail Smith Adams inherited New England’s strongest traditions, and what she lacked in formal education her keen intelligence and curiosity molded her into a formidable woman: farm manager, financial manager, letter writer, political advisor, diplomatic wife and First Lady. Her letters to John Adams, pungent, colorful and witty detail her life in times of the American Revolution. As an intellectually open-minded woman of her day, Abigail's ideas on women's rights, education, equal rights and the government would eventually play a role in the founding of the United States. Her marriage to John was a marriage of the mind and of the heart, lasting more than half a century, deeply enriched by time.
I. Miss Adorable
The lyrics for Abigail are taken from the letters that Abigail and John wrote to each other in 1762. John Adams called his Abigail, Miss Adorable, and the first movement capturse the effervescence and the dreams and hopes of young love.
II. Lady Adams
In 1776, Abigail wrote to John, “But if we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.” Lady Adams tells Abigail’s views on education.
III. Remember the Ladies
In Remember the Ladies, Abigail expresses her hope for equal treatment of women. In letters to John in 1776, she writes him, “For, if man is Lord, woman is Lordess.”
IV. My Heart is Light
In My Heart is Light at the end of her life, Abigail tells John that she is sorry that she must leave her “dearest friend” and “please remember me with tenderest affection.”
Click here to view a page of the score of Miss Adorable
Click here to view another page of the score of Miss Adorable
Click here to view a page of the score of Lady Adams
Click here to view a page of the score of Remember the Ladies
Click here to view a page of the score of My Heart is Light
A Brief Bio of the Composer
Barbara Harbach has a large catalog of works, including symphonies, opera, string orchestra, musicals, works for chamber ensembles, film scores, modern ballets, organ, harpsichord, piano, choral anthems, and many arrangements for brass and organ of various Baroque works. She is also involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of eighteenth-century keyboard composers as well as historical and contemporary women composers. Her work is available in both recorded and published form through MSR Classics, Naxos Records, Gasparo Records, Kingdom Records, Albany Records, Northeastern Records, Hester Park, Robert King Music, Elkan-Vogel, Augsburg Fortress, Agape Music and Vivace Press. Harbach is also the editor of the journal, Women of Note Quarterly.
“Harbach’s music astonished me for its heavy reliance on the lyric and the beautifully (and cogently) framed melodic line. I could listen to her music for hours.” American Record Guide ~ March / April 2008. “ Harbach has distinguished herself as one of the preeminent American composers of any generation.” All Music Guide ~ December 2007.
Harbach has toured extensively as both concert organist and harpsichordist and her lively performances and recordings have captured the imagination of many American composers, and the body of work written for and dedicated to Harbach is substantial. Musical America has called her “nothing short of brilliant,” and Gramophone has cited her as an “acknowledged interpreter – and, indeed, muse – of modern harpsichord music.” She was host of the weekly television music series Palouse Performance seen throughout the Inland Northwest.
Currently professor of music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she holds academic degrees from Pennsylvania State University (B.A.), Yale University (M.M.A.), Musikhochschule (Konzertdiplom) in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Eastman School of Music (D.M.A.). In 2002, Harbach received an honorary doctorate in music, honoris causa, from Wilmington College, Ohio for her lifetime achievement as a composer, performer, editor and publisher.
Barbara Harbach initiated Women in the Arts-St. Louis, a celebration of the achievements of women creators. The over 800 events by various cultural organizations in the St. Louis region provided audiences with new and historical examples of the work of women writers, composers and artists. In 2006 for her work Women in the Arts-St. Louis she was the recipient of the Arts Education Award from the Missouri Arts Council; the Missouri Citizen for the Arts Award; the Yellow rose Award from the Zonta International Club of St. Louis; the UM-St. Louis College of Fine Arts and Communication, Faculty Excellence Award; and in 2007 she was awarded the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award.
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