Pearl G. Curran

  • Born
    1875
  • Died
    1941
  • Birthplace
    Denver, Colorado
Pearl Gildersleeve Curran was an American librettist and composer of art songs and works for chorus. In 1912 she published Five Love Songs, and in the years that followed she wrote both the text and music to over 40 songs. Many important singers of the first half of the 20th century performed her works, including Enrico Caruso, Anna Case, and John Charles Thomas. Victor Records recorded three of her songs in the 1920s. Caruso premiered her song Life, and it was the only American composition on the choral program at the 1934 music festival in Budapest. Her song Sonny Boy was transcribed into Braille for the blind during her lifetime, indicating its popularity at the time. Her grandchildren, Patricia, Nancy, and Winfred B. Holton III inspired several of her songs, including In My Looking-Glass. At the end of her life, she developed the nationally broadcast radio program A Half Hour with Pearl Curran, for which she provided piano accompaniments to some of her most popular melodies. She was adept at conveying the mood of the text with melody and accompaniment, ranging from the "serene love song"Nocturne and the "introspective" song Evening, to the more animated and descriptive song Rain, with short and repeated notes in the piano representing a rainy day. However, author Victoria Villamil accurately describes the dichotomy in her songs: "Unquestionably the greatest detriment to her work was her insistence on setting her own simplistic, old-fashioned texts. Otherwise, her songs are imaginative, melodious, and well crafted. Despite their naiveté, they can also be surprisingly elaborate and expansive."

Most Popular Sheet Music