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  New Sound for Revered Music Box
at the Hudson River Museum

YONKERS , NY . June 5, 2005 —Composer –in-residence John Morton recently completed The Diaries of Emily Trevor, an original sound composition that melds two works housed in Glenview, the museum's historic Victorian home — a music box and the diaries of Emily Trevor, who once lived in Glenview.

The project, using historical objects to create a contemporary work of art, got its impetus from the grant, “Sight Re-seen,” sponsored by the New York State Council of the Arts, a State Agency.

John Morton is attracted to the repetitive sound of music boxes and their power to evoke music memories. “When I heard about the grant,” Morton said, “I thought of all the places in Westchester that contained intriguing objects but I really remembered Glenview at the Hudson River Museum . You can get close to the fine old furniture there and the music box.”

Victorian families prized their music boxes and Glenview has one in its parlor. Created by the famous Swiss manufacturer Mermod Frères at the turn of the century, this music box, in 1926, was one of the first objects donated to the museum collection. Frères produced several types of music boxes, and Glenview 's model, the Ideal Soprano, is known for rich tone. It plays music up to 20 minutes. The music box underwent conservation at Rita Ford Music Boxes in New York City to prepare for Morton’s composition.

The Glenview music box operates with 14 ½-inch long interchangeable metal cylinders, each playing six different tunes. The museum has a dozen original cylinders that play a wide selection of songs popular at the turn of the century —Home, Sweet Home, Auld Lang Syne, and Old Folks at Home, as well as operatic selections from William Tell, Rigoletto, Faust, and Il Travatore. While the mechanical mechanisms were manufactured in Switzerland , the case was made in America of polished quartered oak with oxidized silver handles. The cost when new was $245.00, a substantial amount of money for the period.

Emily, the daughter of John Trevor, the Wall Street financier who built Glenview, filled her diaries with her family's history.

For The Diaries of Emily Trevor, Morton creates a "conversation" between the music box’s original sounds and his “re-composition” of that sound, which he records on computer. In the score, Caruso sings Il Travatore and phrases and fragments from Emily’s diaries are heard as sound files. Claudia Marshall from WFUV is the voice of Emily. The Diaries of Emily Trevor: A Sound Installation Created for Glenview by John Morton can be viewed and heard on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30; 1:30/ 2:30; and, 3:30 at the Hudson River Museum, Glenview Parlor, from June 11 through September 11, 2005.

The Diaries of Emily Trevor received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, A State Agency, through the Sites Re-Seen initiative of the Museum Program.

The Hudson River Museum is located at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY.
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday from 12-5 pm. Friday, 12-8 pm.
Museum: $5 adults, $3 seniors and children 4-12. Children under 4 free. Members $3.
Information: 914.963.4550 www.hrm.org. On Fridays 5-8 pm admission to galleries and the planetarium free.

   

 

 



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