Love Without a Name: Music I Wrote for My Students
Michael Mauldin, piano
This album is dedicated to my wife, Bonnie, and my sons, Kendall and Kevin--with thanks for letting me share my love with my students all these years--and to all teachers and caregivers who truly love children, as fully-human beings, not untouchable icons of purity and innocence.
Like so many teacher-composers before me, I wrote many didactic little pieces for young students. I tried to capture a bit of each student's personality, while helping him or her with some pianistic problem. I didn't appreciate the "depth" of the pieces until years later when other students seemed to enjoy them, and until the students for whom they were written (now adults) spoke so warmly of them.
Inspired partly by watching my own sons' reactions to growing up in New Mexico, the "Southwest Scenes for Young Pianists" use a bit more sophisticated tonal/rhythmic language than most pieces for this age level. Yet they are accessible.
Nick Curro, a beloved student and the son of a piano-teacher friend of mine, went to Russia with his senior class, falling in love with everything Russian. He came home begging to play Rachmaninoff, but, as he wasn't quite advanced enough to learn any Rachmaninoff in the remaining three weeks of the semester, I offered to write him a (poor but simpler) "clone" in "Souvenir of a Russian Journey." Thus began my custom of writing pieces as gifts for graduating high-school seniors. The "senior pieces" all bear the names of those for whom they were written. Some are difficult and were not included by the students on their senior recitals.
The final piece was not written FOR a child, but ABOUT one--a beautiful, intelligent, affectionate boy who was kidnapped by his mother in a custody dispute and taken to another state. Not knowing if I would ever see him again, I wrote the piece to express that "love without a name"--a pedagogical eros that is usually misunderstood, but which is nonetheless real.
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Born in Texas in 1947, Michael Mauldin moved to New Mexico in 1971 for "the space, the light, and the timelessness," after completing a Bachelor of Music degree at Washburn University of Topeka. He completed a Master of Music degree at the University of New Mexico and served as president of the Albuquerque Music Teachers Association, the New Mexico Music Teachers Association and the New Mexico Composers Guild. He was named the national Composer of the Year in 1980 by the Music Teachers National Association, Teacher of the Year in 1984 by the New Mexico Music Teachers Association, and Private Teacher of the Year in 1996 by the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.
Mauldin served for seven years as Musical Director of the Albuquerque Boy Choir (of which his sons are alumni), which grew to three choirs, 85 boys between the ages of 7 and 17, who tour, record and proceed through a rigorous musicianship program. His choral compositions have sold thousands of copies in the USA, Europe and Australia. He is an outspoken advocate for the rights of children, holding that discipline is more than repression, and that society is repaid when children and young people are treated with respect, participating in important decisions regarding their own minds, bodies and spirits.