3. Moonshine opens softly with a broad and dignified melody. The expression soon becomes tender, but is interspersed with jocular little passages. MacDowell illustrates in his characteristic manner a lonely tramp at night, with the grotesque streaks of the moonlight breaking quaintly into the pedestrian’s contemplative mood. The music is curiously lonely and suggestive of a quiet moonlight night in the country. Particularly lovable are the soft, characteristic chord progressions, followed by lonely silence, on the second page, just before the opening melody returns. The piece ends with the moon kissing the traveller good-night.
4. Winter is a piece of deep feeling, quite haunting in its expression of lonely grief. Its motto is taken from some lines by Shelley:—
A widow bird sate mourning for her love Upon a wintry bough; The frozen wind crept on above, The freezing stream below.
There was no leaf upon the forest bare,
No flower upon the ground,
And little motion in the air
Except the mill-wheel’s round.
The music is of the kind that remains in the memory for a long time and is of a quality as moving in its sadness as anything MacDowell ever composed. Its suggested scene seems to be the bleak and icy winter of North America.
Composed, Wiesbaden, 1888. First Published, 1894 (J. Hainauer. Revised Edition of Nos. 2 & 3—Arthur P. Schmidt).
2. Cradle Hymn.
These songs are rather beautiful, and sincerely, although not grandly, inspired. They are probably the least known in America and England of MacDowell’s songs, but they do not lack a fine, spiritual outlook.
Composed, 1888. First Published, 1889 (Arthur P. Schmidt).
2. My Jean.
These two songs are full of freshness and charm of expression. Menie is a beautiful song; My Jean is, however, the more important of the two, it is inspired and characteristically human in spirit. Neither of these songs, however, can be compared for spontaneous beauty and expression with MacDowell’s later groups.
Composed, Wiesbaden, 1888. First Published, 1888 (J. Hainauer).
Dedicated to David Popper.