“It is, without question, disrespectful and immature to change the original beauty of a classic work. At age twenty-four, this is exactly what I did to Robert Browning’s classic, “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.” What awed me, but not sufficiently to restrain me, was the lament of the little lame boy who was left behind. I put music to his words. I then put music to other of Browning’s words. Then I began to think of it as an entire story, with music, to be performed by children–lots of of children and a few adults (as few as possible).
“The Pied Piper” has reappeared several times during the years: probably the best performance (was) at the Lenox School in New York City, where I taught music. A modest young lady, Antoinette Perry, whose name some years later inspired the Tony awards, directed it. And I might add, immodestly, that Sandra Phillips and I played the Overture on the piano. We were known as the Two Piano Modernists, who also had a regular radio program…. That performance had a very good (though brief!) review in the New York Times. “
“I am so indebted to the following friends who have contributed to “The Pied Piper” restoration. In particular to Walter Finlayson–so skillful, so talented, putting my music (back) onto manuscript paper, writing almost as swiftly as I played it, urging me on. To Deborah O’Connor, whose style was perfect in her art work, so skillful yet unpretentious. Finally, gratefully, admiringly, to Christopher Farrell, who brought all of this together.”