Songs My Mother Taught Me

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On this encore edition of All Ears, we curate a collection of songs that pay tribute to mothers. We explore how mothers have influenced composers and performers musically, and create a rich sound-scape surrounding the love between mother and child.

As always, our playlist is grounded in classical music, but take special notice of composers whose training has led them in other directions. As such, Terrance McKnight highlights enough blues and Traditional songs to keep momentum in the mix.

The show opens with Duke Ellington's Shout 'em Aunt Tilly and eases into works by William Grant Still, Beethoven and Charles Ives. 

We hear the LA Philharmonic performing a version of John Adams' Naive and Sentimental Music: Mother of the Man with Esa-Pekka Salonen leading soloist David Tanenbaum on guitar. 

Also on the program are Arvo Part's stunningly beautiful setting of the Stabat Mater as well as Chopin's Mazurka No 4 in A minor performed by Leif Ove Andsnes on piano. 

Join in the discussion: What kind of music did your mother play for you?



Traditional: Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Velvet Brown, tuba


Alex De Grassi: Shortenin’ Bread

Alex De Grassi, guitar

Tropo Records


Charles Ives: Songs My Mother Taught Me

Theo Bleckmann, voice, live electronics


Winter & Winter Label


Frederic Chopin: Mazurka No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 17/4

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano



Duke Ellington/Irving Mills: Ahout ‘Em Aunt Tilly

Marcus Roberts, piano



Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp, Op. 78, “For Therese”

Garrick Ohlsson, piano



William Grant Still: “Mother and Child”

Manhattan Chamber Orchestra

Richard Auldon Clark, conductor

Ashley Horne, violin



John Adams: “Naïve and Sentimental Music”: ‘Mother of the Man’

Los Angeles Philharminc

Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

David Tanenbaum, guitar



Arvo Part: Stabat Mater (There Stands the Mother)

Lynne Dawson, soprano

David James, counter-tenor

Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor

Gidon Kremer, violin

Vladimir Mendelssohn, viola



Jono El Grande: Your mother Eats Like a Platipus

Jono El Grande, guitar

Various Artists

Rune Grammofon