Edward MacDowell eBook

Lawrence Gilman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about Edward MacDowell.
the Shepherdess we have MacDowell composing in his beloved Nature style, although not in a manner quite comparable with the pianoforte pieces, Woodland Sketches, Op. 51, and New England Idyls, Op. 62.  As a whole, the First Suite for Orchestra is not the finest of MacDowell’s orchestral works up to this stage, but it stands alone in the style of its poetic subject matter.  It has not the same bearing as Hamlet and Ophelia, Op. 22, Lancelot and Elaine, Op. 25_, Lamia, Op. 29, or The Saracens and the Lovely Alda, Op. 30, which all have an historical or romantic outlook, but it possesses instead the wonderful spirit of mysterious Nature.  Even the noble Second (Indian) Suite for Orchestra, the grandest of MacDowell’s orchestral works, cannot alter the position of this first suite, which has an interest entirely its own.  In performance the work is notable for its fresh and finely-coloured material, and makes a fine item in a concert because of its brilliancy and the charmingly interesting suggestions of its poetic sub-titles.

OPUS 43.  TWO NORTHERN PART-SONGS, FOR MIXED CHORUS.

Composed, 1891. First Published, 1891 (Arthur P. Schmidt).

  1. The Brook.

  2. Slumber Song.

These are well written and effective part-songs, making lovely unaccompanied choral numbers.  They have been undeservedly overshadowed by the composer’s instrumental and solo songs.  Both should be sung together for the sake of the intentional contrast.

OPUS 44.  BARCAROLLE, FOR MIXED CHORUS AND ACCOMPANIMENT FOR PIANOFORTE DUET.

First Appeared, 1892 (Arthur P. Schmidt).

This is a meritorious choral piece, skilfully written.  The somewhat elaborate accompaniment for pianoforte requires two players.

OPUS 45.  FIRST SONATA, TRAGICA, IN G MINOR, FOR PIANOFORTE.

Composed, 1892-3. Third Movement First Publicly Played, March 18th, 1892, at Checkering Hall, Boston, U.S.A., by the Composer.  First Public Complete Performance, March, 1893, at a Kneisal Quartet Concert at Chickering Hall, Boston.  Played by the Composer.  First Published, 1893 (Breitkopf & Haertel).

  1. Largo maestoso—­Allegro risoluto.

  2. Molto allegro, vivace.

  3. Largo con maesta.

  4. Allegro eroico.

Huneker, the celebrated American writer on music, described this sonata, soon after its appearance, as “the most marked contribution to solo sonata literature since Brahms’ F minor piano sonata.”  The work is chiefly notable for its general boldness and strength, punctuated by passages of intimate tenderness and deepness of expression, and its slow movement is one of MacDowell’s most inspired efforts. 

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Edward MacDowell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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