7. From Uncle Remus (With much humour; joyously). American youngsters delight in the negro tales of “Uncle Remus,” and this piece opens with an unbridled joviality that continues to the end. There is a wealth of jolly humour that is delightfully frank and infectious without being commonplace. It is rich and real, with a breadth that was a captivating feature of MacDowell’s personal sense of humour.
8. A Deserted Farm (With deep feeling). A deeper note is struck in this piece, the opening theme being very grave. Later a wistful tenderness comes over the whole, but the grave melody returns and in this mood the piece ends. The whole atmosphere of it is one of loneliness, and, except for a sonorous bar or two, its expression is subdued. It gives an impression of the quiet that hangs around an old country home long since deserted, where human life once existed with all its joys and sorrows.
9. By a Meadow Brook (Gracefully, merrily). This goes bubbling and sparkling along, now swirling round a little rock, now running over a little waterfall, but always going merrily on until softer and softer grows the tonality, finally vanishing from musical sight. The piece is purely a play of tone, but never shallow, for it suggests not only a particular type of Nature scene, but the significance of the beauty and goodness it symbolises.
10. Told at Sunset (With pathos). This piece is of some importance from the fact that it contains thematic allusions to two of the preceding numbers. It opens with a sad, reflective theme that is reminiscent of A Deserted Farm. It proceeds for nineteen bars, dying softly away high in the scale. After a moment’s silence, a softly breathed, but firmly emphasised marching tune appears, marked Faster sturdily. It grows gradually louder until it is thundered out in its full strength, with something of the nervous accentuation peculiar to Elgar’s music. It dies gradually away again, until nothing is left but a few last faint references to its sturdy quality. The grave theme of A Deserted Farm (No. 8) is now introduced (transposed a semitone lower than the original to F minor), freely altered, and infused with more intense expressiveness. The conclusion is dramatic, for after twenty-four bars of deep and tender contemplation comes an impressive silence—and then the stern and solemn chords of the latter part of the introduction to From an Indian Lodge are heard, first softly and then with virile orchestral fortissimo, and with this the piece closes.
OPUS 52. THREE CHORUSES, FOR MALE VOICES.
First Published, 1897 (Arthur P. Schmidt).
1. Hush, hush!
2. A Voice from the Sea.
3. The Crusaders.