Oley Speaks

Composer Oley Speaks was a favorite composer of many singers during the first half of the twentieth century. Among his songs are settings of Emily Dickinson, Rudyard Kipling, Frank Lebby Stanton, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Speaks was also a fine baritone himself.

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About

Born in Ohio, Speaks grew up in the Columbus area. He began his musical career as a pianist and singer and held positions at several churches at the beginning of his career. He began composing songs in the 1890s, and their success eventually spawned his move to New York City in 1898.

In New York City, Speaks met with success as a church musician and also as a composer. More than 100 of his songs were published by G. Schirmer, and though he returned to Columbus in 1906, he remained successful. His songs are of the 19th-century parlor ballad tradition, with simple piano parts and sentimental melodies that fit the needs of both amateur and professional musicians.

–Christie Finn

Source: Paul C. Echols’ essay in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Related Information

Videos

Recordings

Paul Robeson - The Complete EMI Sessions

(Charles Wakefield Cadman, Henry Burleigh, Benjamin Carr, Will Marion Cook, Stephen Foster, Langston Hughes, Carrie Jacobs-Bond, Ethelbert Nevin, Oscar Rasbach, Oley Speaks and Traditional)

1938

Lebendige Vergangenheit

(Walter Damrosch, Oley Speaks, Charles Gilbert Spross and Traditional)

1951

Moonlight Bay

(William Bolcom, Oley Speaks, George M. Cohan, Paul Dresser, Victor Herbert and Carrie Jacobs-Bond)

1999

Stanford Archive: Lawrence Tibbett

(Oley Speaks)

1997

Richard Tauber in London

(Oscar Rasbach and Oley Speaks)

1996

An Old Song Re-Sung: American Concert Songs

(Walter Damrosch, John Woods Duke, Stephen Foster, Vittorio Giannini, Charles Griffes, John Jacob Niles, Traditional and Oley Speaks)

1990

Songs

Sheet Music

The First Book of Soprano Solos

Composer(s): Louis Campbell-Tipton, Samuel Barber, Edward MacDowell, Oley Speaks

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

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