Blue Mountain Ballads


Paul Bowles may have been better known as a literary figure than as a composer, but he distinguished himself in both fields. Blue Mountain Ballads is his cycle of songs for piano and voice based on poems by his friend and mentor, the playwright Tennessee Williams.


The audio recordings, provided in the audio player to the right, feature Thomas Hampson, baritone, and Wolfram Rieger, piano. To listen, please click on the track name itself. You can download a recording of Blue Mountain Ballads for free through the Instant Encore website with the download code: THSOA2009.

The four poems, grouped under the same title given to the song cycle, and printed in the same order, appear in a book of Williams’s poetry called In the Winter of Cities (1956). Throughout the cycle, Bowles incorporates flowing melodies with accompaniments that are infused with jazz and rag rhythms typically associated with southern music.

--Stephanie Poxon, Ph.D.

Audio PLaylist