First Published, 1883. (Revised Edition—Arthur P. Schmidt.)
This is a weak and unimportant work in MacDowell’s catalogue. The conventional morceau style did not suit his type of genius even before it was fully developed. Some years later the composer revised the piece, but it is still of little value, despite its outward grace and charm.
OPUS 17. TWO FANTASTIC PIECES, FOR PIANOFORTE.
First Published, 1884 (J. Hainauer). (Revised Edition of No. 2—Arthur P. Schmidt.)
2. Witches’ Dance (Hexentanz).
The Legend is interesting and by stretching the imagination may suggest some fantastic fairy tale, but its chief merit is that it is more in keeping with MacDowell’s natural gift for musical suggestion than are the preceding pianoforte pieces, and also the succeeding ones comprising Op. 18.
The Witches’ Dance became popular with pianoforte virtuosi, being better known under its German title of Hexentanz. MacDowell grew to detest its shallow outlook and the appeal it made to the flashy pianist, although he himself played it in public as late as 1891. He revised both the Two Fantastic Pieces some years after their original publication.
OPUS 18. TWO PIECES, FOR PIANOFORTE.
First Published, 1884 (J. Hainauer). (Revised Edition of No. 1—Arthur P. Schmidt.)
1. Barcarolle in F.
2. Humoresque in A.
These are two more unimportant pieces in conventional style, indicating that MacDowell had not realized at that time just where his true genius lay. The revised version of Barcarolle made some years after its original publication, fails to make it convincing, although it has a certain outward charm and is well written in the particular style of piece of which it is an example. Poetic significance, as we know it in MacDowell’s representative works, is conspicuous by its absence in these two compositions.
OPUS 19. FOREST IDYLS, FOR PIANOFORTE.
First Published, 1884. New Edition, 1912 (C. F. Kahnt Nachfolger. British Empire—Elkin & Co.).
Dedicated to Miss Marian Nevins.
1. Forest Stillness.
2. Play of the Nymphs.
4. Dance of the Dryads.