First Published, 1894. (Arthur P. Schmidt).
2. Slumber Song.
The Two Old Songs, Op. 9, head the list of MacDowell’s published works with opus numbers. Their position in it, however, is somewhat misleading to the casual observer of the composer’s artistic development, for they are the fruits of a mature period and were given the opus number they bear only as a matter of convenience. They were composed about ten or eleven years after the songs of Ops. 11 and 12, which in comparison with the Two Old, Songs are weak and devoid of individuality and originality. The Two Old Songs are very beautiful and expressive, exhibiting the composer’s melodic gift.
Deserted is a setting of Robert Burns’s lines, “Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon.” It is one of the most expressive of MacDowell’s songs, being full of deep and very human pathos. The melody is one of the most poignant he set down, but it is subjected to repetition that becomes monotonous. The song is expressively indicated Slow: With pathos, yet simply.
Slumber Song is a setting of some of the composer’s own lines, “Dearest, sleep sound.” The song presents a fairly good mating of words and music, and its expression is a lovable one, inimitably MacDowell-like in effect.
Composed, Frankfort, 1880. First Played, July 11th, 1882, by the composer, at the Ninth Annual Convention of the General Society of German Musicians, held at Zurich.
First Published, 1883_ (Breitkopf & Haertel).
Dedicated to Mrs. Joachim Raff.
3. Andantino and Allegretto.
The first public performance of this suite was secured by Liszt, whom MacDowell had interviewed and who was entrusted with the making up of the programmes of the General Society of German Musicians at that time. It was on Liszt’s recommendation, too, that this suite and its successor, the Second Modern Suite for Pianoforte, Op. 14, were published by Breitkopf and Haertel at Leipzig. The First Modern Suite is of comparatively little importance to-day as music, but it is well written and interesting as an early work by MacDowell. Some significance may be attached to the fact that we find two movements of the suite bearing quotations showing their source of inspiration and suggesting their poetic content. Suggestive titles and verses are an outstanding feature of all MacDowell’s later and finest works. Two movements of the suite were first heard in London in March, 1885, at a concert composed of American music.