top of page

Program notes for the recording

Recollections of Memphis – Music of C. P. Winkler

by David Winkler, great-great grandson of the composer

During his lifetime, Christopher Philip Winkler wrote hundreds of pieces of music, both original compositions, and arrangements of existing works adapted for specific situations. Many were published, and others remained in manuscript form.  Even towards the end of his life, in his late 80s, he was still writing music in his beautiful, characteristic script.

 

The 21 pieces chosen for this recording are some of the best and most appealing from my collection of almost 70 of his compositions. I’ve included here some interesting facts about each piece.

1. The Mountain Waltz

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Dedication: “Composed and dedicated to The Ladies of Jackson, Tenn.”

Year of publication: 1848

Publisher: L. Lemaire, Cincinnati / Geo. P. Reed, Boston

Description: CPW wrote this piece at age 24, only eight years after his arrival in the U.S., while he was teaching at the Memphis Conference Female Institute, a college for young women in Jackson. The style of the piece, a lively and cheerful waltz, harks back to his Bavarian roots.

2. Old Maids’ Polka

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Year of publication: 1852

Publisher: P. Flavio, Memphis, Tenn.

Description: A delightful piece with contrasting themes. In 1867, a similar piece was published titled “The Stars,” though in a different key and with a different introduction. I also have a manuscript version, in a different key and with a different introduction and ending, titled “La Felicite: Caprice in Polka Form.”  Yes, composers often recycle their own material for different occasions!

3. The Georgianna Polka

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Dedication: “Composed for and dedicated to Miss Georgianna H. Lea”

Year of publication: 1848

Publisher: L. Lemaire, Cincinnati / Geo. P. Reed, Boston

Description: As a music teacher, CPW wrote many pieces for his students. I’m guessing that Miss Lea may have been a student of his at the female college in Jackson.

4. New Recollections of Memphis

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Dedication: “Dedicated to my dear wife, S. Margaret Winkler”

Year of publication: 1884

Publisher: E. Witzmann & Co., Memphis, Tenn.

Description: “Recollections of Memphis” is a piece played throughout his lifetime by The Professor, as he was known, often in various improvised forms. The sentimental melody, with its occasional delicate flourishes, must have expressed the fond emotions of the composer for the city where he had settled and raised his children. I have four different published versions of the same basic piece. The first was published by James A . McClure of Nashville in 1859, subtitled “A Romanza,” and dedicated “To the Ladies of Memphis, especially Misses Tilly Pope, Sallie Houston, Alice Bond, & Sue Apperson.” A note on the cover states: “Having during a residence of Five Years in this City experienced nothing but kindness at the hands of the Ladies of Memphis, I herewith Dedicate this piece of Music to them as an offering of Gratitude” (evidently the prominent women of the city had been great supporters of music). The “new” version was a simplified setting of the very florid and musically complex original. Another published version, undated, was paired with a piece titled “Bluff City Galop” (Bluff City is a nickname for Memphis because of its location on high bluffs above the flood levels of the Mississippi River). A final version, similar to the first one, was published in 1889, with a note of gratitude for thirty years of support from the Memphis ladies.

One unusual thing about this piece, which is unlike any others in my collection, is the system of finger numbering used (i.e., the numbers printed above some notes in the music to indicate which fingers to use). In this case, an “X” is used for the thumb, and the other fingers numbered, starting with “1” for the index finger, rather than “1” used for the thumb and the other fingers numbered 2-3-4-5. This I believe was an alternate finger numbering system left over from his German training.

5. Anna’s Galop

Genre: Guitar solo, performed by Jesse Crites

Dedication: “Composed for the Guitar and dedicated to his sister, Anna B. Winkler”

Year of publication: 1850

Publisher: A. Fiot, Philadelphia

Description: A lively piece for guitar, using an alternate tuning of D-G-D-G-B-D. This recording was made by Mr. Jesse Crites, a professional guitarist and teacher from Kempner, Texas, north of the Austin area. Note the use of harmonics in the latter part of the piece.

6. Coon Hollow

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Publisher: undated manuscript, ca. 1900-1910

Description: The handwritten manuscript of this piece says “Property of Ch. Ph. Winkler,” indicating that perhaps it was not an original composition by The Professor, but rather something he copied and enjoyed playing. The piece is written in a ragtime style, which rose to popularity in the late 1890s.

7. Victory Quick Step

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Dedication: “Composed and dedicated to Miss Cornelia T. Cornelius”

Year of publication: 1850

Publisher: G. P. Reed & Co., Boston

Description: The introduction to this piece sounds exactly like the first phrase of the Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World.” That carol was written (or supposedly arranged from music by Händel) by Boston composer Lowell Mason in 1836, so it’s possible that by 1850, Winkler may have heard this tune and quoted it at the beginning of this piece. Like many of the short piano pieces on this recording, this one is in ABA form, i.e., a main theme, followed by a contrasting section, and then a return to the main theme.

8. Le Rève

Genre: Guitar solo, performed by Jesse Crites

Subtitle: Romance pour la Guitarre Dedication: “composée et dediée à son ami Joseph Barbiére” [composed and dedicated to his friend …]

Year of publication: 1854

Publisher: G.W. Brainard, Louisville (Kentucky) Description: The title in French means “the dream,” an appropriate title for this reflective piece for guitar.

9. Hear Us, O Father

Genre: Song, performed by David Ask, tenor, and David Winkler, piano

Subtitle: After a melody by Emil Eisenmann

Dedication: “Respectfully inscribed to Miss Emma Jones”

Year of publication: 1886

Publisher: E. Witzmann & Co.

Description: This song was published in a series titled “Winkler’s Sabbath Musings for Organ or Piano.” The composer noted: “Many persons would gladly have music performed on the Sabbath, who do not care to hear Waltzes, Galops, Marches, or any kind of secular music, and to supply the want of pieces suitable for the Sabbath, I have composed the following series, trusting that they will find favor with those who love music that is at once melodious, pleasing, correctly harmonized and of a religious character. All can be performed upon the cabinet organ.”

 

The series included 10 instrumental pieces and five vocal selections (unfortunately, the only other piece I have in the series is a vocal song titled “The Fisherman’s Prayer”). The published version is in the key of A-flat major, but a manuscript version I have, which was used for this recording, is in the key of E major, illustrating how the composer would often fit an existing piece to the range of a particular singer. The lyrics are of unknown origin. They were “adapted and arranged” by the composer, and an alternate “Ave Maria” text was included. The singer on this recording, Mr. David Ask (pronounced “ahsk”), is from Nashville, Tennessee (www.davidask.com).

10. In the Cross of Christ I Glory

Genre: Song, performed by David Ask, tenor, and David Winkler, piano

Dedication: “Music composed and dedicated to my granddaughter, Mrs. Effie Henderson”

Year of composition: undated manuscript, probably 1900-1910

Description: The text of this hymn was written by an Englishman, John Bowring, and first published in 1825. Effie Henderson was the daughter of CPW’s oldest son, William Bond Winkler, a medical doctor who settled in Ft. Myers, Florida. “Miss Effie,” as she was known in the community, became a prominent music teacher in the Ft. Myers schools. She was interviewed by my father, Dr. John E. Winkler, in the late 1960s, and provided many interesting memories of her grandfather.

11. Jesus, Saviour of My Soul

Genre: Vocal quartet with piano accompaniment

Subtitle: The Beautiful Hymn, adapted to a German melody and arranged as a solo, duett (sic) or quartette

Dedication: “inscribed to Carrington Mason, Esq. and his estimable wife, Mrs. Maria B. Mason”

Year of publication: 1889

Publisher: E. Witzmann & Co., Memphis

Description: The text, with the original title being “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” was written by Charles Wesley in 1738. Mr. and Mrs. Mason, listed in the dedication, were prominent citizens in Memphis, and very likely supporters of The Professor’s work. This live recording is from a concert of the composer’s music held at Rhodes College in Memphis on October 25, 2003. Daniel Anglin, a student at Rhodes who was awarded a grant to research the life and music of C.P. Winkler, conducted the performance, and also sang the bass part in the quartet.

12. My God, My Father and My Lord

Genre: Song, performed by David Ask, tenor, and David Winkler, piano

Year of publication: undated manuscript

Description: The lyrics of the song are of unknown origin, or perhaps written by the composer. They express a sincere desire to know God and follow His will.

13. La Solitude

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Subtitle: An Evening Meditation Dedication: “Written for Mrs. Lillian Winkler” (wife of his oldest son, Dr. William Bond Winkler of Ft. Myers, Florida)

Year of publication: manuscript dated Feb. 16th, 1911

Description: One of my favorite pieces, it is somewhat ragtime in nature, with a sturdy main theme followed by a gentler melody. Composed when The Professor was 86 years old.

14. I Am a True American Citizen

Genre: Song, performed by David Ask, tenor, and David Winkler, piano

Subtitle: A patriotic song, adapted to Yankee Doodle and Dixie

Year of publication: 1906

Publisher: W.H. Willis & Co., Cincinnati / Chicago Description: The Professor, who lived through the Union occupation of Memphis during the Civil War, over 40 years later cleverly combined a popular song of the North with a song of the South, using original lyrics to express the unity of “these United States, this grand and glorious nation.”

15. The Herdsman’s Call

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Subtitle: A Pastoral Idyll

Dedication: “Inscribed to Miss Jimmie Chaney”

Year of publication: 1904

Publisher: E. Witzmann & Co., Memphis

Description: This charming piece is the second in a 3-part series titled “Brilliant Compositions Suitable for Home or Recitals.” The introduction is marked “Cattle Call,” and is meant to imitate the soft mooing of cows in a meadow.

16. Magnolia Grove Waltz

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Dedication: “Dedicated to my son Philip Mason Winkler”

Year of publication: 1866

Publisher: F. Katzenbach, Memphis

Description: This sprightly waltz is the fifth in an 8-piece series titled “Southern Gems: A Series of Easy Pieces for the Use of Teachers.” Indeed, most of The Professor’s published music for piano came out of his own teaching experience, and was meant to provide entertaining but musically sound pieces for student musicians. Philip Mason Winkler was the second child of Christopher Philip and Susan Margaret Winkler, and was also my great-grandfather.

17. Prayer

Genre: Vocal quartet with piano accompaniment (as performed at the Rhodes College concert mentioned above)

Date of composition: December 29, 1904

Description: This piece came to me as an unpublished manuscript of the vocal parts only. I composed a piano accompaniment to go with it. From the beautiful vocal writing of this song, we get a sense of why The Professor was so highly regarded in his community as a choral conductor.

 

The words, written in 1818 by the Scottish hymn writer, James Montgomery, are included here, since they’re a little hard to hear on the recording:

 

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed,

The motion of a heav’nly fire that trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear,

The upward glancing of an eye when none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try;

Prayer the sublimest strains that reach the Majesty on high.

O Thou by whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth, the Way,

The path of prayer Thyself hast trod, Lord! teach us how to pray.

18. My Sister’s Gallopade

Genre: Guitar solo, performed by Jesse Crites

Dedication: “Composed for the Guitar and affectionately dedicated to my Sister, Ulrica”

Year of publication: 1850 Publisher: G.P. Reed & Co., Boston

Description: Another beautiful piece for solo guitar.

19. The Cuckoo-Alarm Clock

Genre: Piano solo

Subtitle: “also imitation of Music Box”

Year of publication: undated manuscript

Description: A novelty piece, written for piano, but recorded here utilizing a computer playing a celesta sound. A composer’s note on the music, states: “The alarm is set for 4 o’clock A.M., therefore the Cuckoo calls 4 times; the left hand must play the Cuckoo call quite loud, while the right hand must play the echo very faintly. The measures representing the Alarm must be played with great force and very fast. In Germany, many clocks can be found, to which a music box is attached, which is set in motion when the alarm ceases.” From the composer’s original, I have shortened and rearranged the order of some of the selections. At the end, listen carefully and you can hear the “music box” wind down!

20. Duettino

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Subtitle: L’Entretien des Amants [The Lovers’ Conversation]

Year of publication: undated manuscript

Description: A poem of unknown origin is included under the title, as follows:

 

“O blessed love ! – each heart shall own,

Where two congenial hands unite,

Thy golden chains inlaid with down,

Thy lamp with heav’n’s own splendor bright.”

 

The composer explains: “This piece of music is intended to represent the sweet discourse of two engaged lovers, and the melody must be brought out clearly and distinctly above the accompaniment throughout; the rise and fall of the melody must suggest to the skillful player the various shadings of crescendo and diminuendo, also the ritardando at the end of each phrase of eight measures. The last two measures must be played very diminuendo and rallentando. A good player will know how to use the pedal to advantage.” If you listen closely, you can imagine, after the introduction, a woman’s voice singing, followed by the man’s. Then later in the piece, both parts come together as a duet.

21. Fond Memories

Genre: Piano solo, performed by David Winkler

Subtitle: Nocturne

Dedication: “dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Mary P. Wilkins as a tribute of sincere friendship”

Year of publication: 1877

Publisher: H. G. Hollenberg, Memphis

Description: The cover page notes that the piece was “Arranged from a melody by A. Terschak and partly composed by Ch. Ph. Winkler.” Adolf Terschak (1832-1901) was an Austria-Hungarian flautist and composer. This lovely piece is one of The Professor’s most mature compositions, composed when he was in his early 50s.

Audio Selections

Audio Selections

Here are several samples of C. P. Winkler's music:

New Recollections of Memphis (piano solo)

New Recollections of MemphisC. P. Winkler, performed by David Winkler
00:00 / 04:19

Anna's Galop (guitar solo)

Anna's GalopC. P. Winkler, performed by Jesse Crites
00:00 / 02:21

My God, My Father and My Lord (vocal solo)

My God, My Father and My LordC. P. Winkler, performed by David Ask, tenor, and David Winkler, piano
00:00 / 01:59
bottom of page