Mary Bichner’s Spring & Autumn Suites
Stream or download these twelve original compositions by Mount Auburn’s Composer-in-Residence and experience Mary’s beautiful interpretation of Mount Auburn, its landscape, and its landmarks.
Color Studies. Photos by Mary Bichner, 2016.
Mount Auburn Cemetery: Spring and Autumn Suites is an album of twelve original compositions composed by Mount Auburn Cemetery artist-in-residence Mary Bichner, an orchestral composer with the music “superpowers” of perfect pitch and synesthesia (a condition that causes here to “see” splashes of specific colors when she hears their corresponding pitches sounded).
In the first year of her residency, Mary composed twelve new works inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery’s breathtaking landscape and landmarks, using her sound-to-color synesthesia to select the musical components that best “match” the natural color palette of each location at different times of year. The finished collection consists of a six-movement Spring Suite and a six-movement Autumn Suite that, when played in order, also takes place over the course of a single day (sunrise to sunset).
The suites contain both vocal and instrumental works. Of the voice-based pieces, all but one are musical settings of poems written by poets buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery (Maria White Lowell, James Russell Lowell, Frances Sargent Osgood, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). The remaining vocal work is a musical setting of a poem by Emily Dickinson who, while not buried at Mount Auburn, is classified by the archives department as one of the cemetery’s Notable Visitors.
In January of 2017, the works were recorded by a 19-piece chamber orchestra at WGBH Studios of Boston MA, and were released online as a digital album on June 3rd, 2017. The tracks are also now featured in Mount Auburn’s new mobile app, so that visitors to the Cemetery will be able to experience the music in the setting that inspired it.