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Gypsy's music for American Thanksgiving

A slightly early post for your Thanksgiving travels. Classical music in the U.S. took awhile to mature, so I begin with a non-American who traveled through the south and mid west, listening to music of Negroes, other folk musics, and taking in American culture in different ways:

Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9, Op. 95 "New World. In this work, Dvorak did his best to incorporate elements of African American he heard singing during his travel across the states. The syncopated melodies throughout the piece correspond to the music he heard. Dvorak admonished American classical composers to pay attention to this important contribution to music in North America. The 2nd movement (Largo) uses the spiritual "Goin' Home" as its basis (caveat - the melody you hear in the english horn may be different than the "Goin' Home" you know). The 3rd movement (Scherzando) is based on Longfellow's Hiawatha, a poem that captured Dvorak's imagination before his trip abroad. Thus the Czech/Moravian/Bohemian composer tried to lead the way for Americans to acknowledge the contributions of those who were marginalized in our society.

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach: Symphony in E Minor "Gaelic". Mrs. Beach, the "dean of American Women Composers" and the leading voice of the New England composers, did attempt to take up Dvorak's rallying cry. She did write a string quartet based on Inuit melodies, but felt that she would do better with music in her direct heritage. She was right: this late Romantic work incorporates Gaelic melodies artfully.

This composer deserves way more attention than he got in his lifetime: Coleridge-Taylor "Perk" Perkinson: Three Miniatures for flute and piano. The 1st piece to which I was exposed was Perk's flute sonata; however, there's no recording available as far as i can tell. Perkinson artfully merges his African-American heritage with Impressionism, neo-classicism, and various 20th century styles. If posterity is fair, you'll be hearing more Perkinson as the years pass. In addition, I have to give a shout out to pianist John Cheek, who introduced me to Perkinson's music. He has a great recording of Perkinson and Martino that includes Perk's Statements: Sonata No. 2 for piano.

Imogen Heap: Just for Now - definitely for all of your family holiday gatherings, no matter where you reside.

That done - I'm up for theme suggestions from y'all. Or I can just go rogue and suggest general favorites until a late December entry.



Wow, I started at the bottom with Imogen Heap and I can't get past it - so great!

And I've been listening to Amy Beach and the Gaelic Symphony. Thanks Gypsy for another nice selection of great music.

Glad you're enjoying.

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanks for the links and background. i was interested to see which version of "symphony for the new world" you would choose but for some reason here overseas i keep getting sent to amazon, where my only option is to buy the recording. anything to do about this?


My copy of the New World Symphony is Philly with Eugene Ormandy. It's a good recording, but i don't feel it's definitive or amazing, plus it may be hard to get these days.

As for you being directed to Amazon, the links (in the U.S. at least) lead to a page on Amazon with either a recording I recommend r a page with multiple recordings of the work I'm featuring. I couldn't decided among the choices in Amazon, so I just left the link to the page that popped up when I searched the symphony. If you like heavy brass, go with Chicago and Solte. Otherwise, it's a judgment call and you might try listening to some excerpts on pandora: http://www.pandora. I just went over there, and they seemed to have changed their format, but it could be useful to you.

pedantsarus uses You might try that.

btw, just use the google for pandora - the link doesn't seem to work even stateside.

btw fyi i read on wiki that "goin' home" was based on the dvorak, and not the other way around. care to comment?

I read that too, but had heard a solo version of Goin Home that was still in the style of a spiritual but not what Dvorak had composed. Since I have heard enough American Indian melodies presented in classical music that had no match to the original, I thought Dvorak just had a somewhat selective memory.

So, more reading, and I'll now defer to this, since that's their gig.


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