Family Stories: Sophie, Sally Laurie Hollander, Anna Rubin

Family Stories: Sophie, Sally is a text/sound piece using narrative, sampled ambient sounds and computer-generated music. It tells the story of Anna Rubin’s mother, Sophie Rubin, the child of Russian Jewish immigrants in Atlanta, Georgia. Because Sophie Rubin’s mother became ill and then died when she was seven, she was raised by an African-American woman, Sally, who had been hired by the family to care for her and her siblings. The racism and anti-Semitism in early 20th century Atlanta are the atmosphere in which this story of a child’s unbearable loss--the death of her birth mother and then the leaving of her surrogate mother--is told. The text was written by Anna Rubin with help from actress/choreographer Aleta Hayes who portrays Sally in song and text.

This work represents for both composers their abiding interest in the human voice, both in its specra-morphological content as well as its inherent narrative and referential richness. Family Stories represents a journey into complex racial/ethnic identity issues which are so strongly identified with the United States because of this country’s complex history of immigration and slavery.

  • Year of composition: 1998
  • Duration of the submitted work: 16:17

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