Edward MacDowell eBook

Lawrence Gilman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about Edward MacDowell.
and then a new theme is heard softly, con tenerezza, pensieroso, over a florid accompaniment.  After this has run its course, it is followed by intensely passionate outbursts of sorrow, the whole culminating in a thunderous repetition of the first theme.  This reappears with great solemnity, which is emphasized by tolling, drum-like strokes, in the bass.  The close is mysterious and impressive; the widespread chords, the wailing, clashing discords in the final bar but one, and the far away last chord, pppp, all tend to increase the depth and mystery of the piece. From a Log Cabin is an inspired tone poem suggesting the atmosphere of a quiet evening in the woods, with the slow setting of the sun in the Golden West; a scene by which Nature often creates the sense of the mysterious more impressively and truly than any man-made attempts can equal.  This view of declining day, the gradual shutting off of light and life, was strangely prophetic when MacDowell wrote it, for his own end came by a similar process in the form of an ever deepening gloom fatalling obscuring his mental light.

10. The Joy of Autumn (Allegro vivace).  This is a splendidly exhilarating piece and the longest by far of the set.  The music leaps along with the sheer joy of living, the themes being singularly fresh and bright.  The whole number is written in a brilliant and masterly manner, requiring a polished pianoforte technique to secure its full effect, especially in the exultant whirl and rush in the final page.  A comparison of this piece with the In Autumn of the Woodland Sketches (Op. 51) makes the great advancement of MacDowell in the technique of composition obvious even to the tyro. The Joy of Autumn is one of the most brilliant and spontaneous things in modern music; it is never commonplace, it is always MacDowel-like in spirit and artistic worth, and shows its author at the height of his maturity.  With this joyous and beautiful piece, MacDowell bade farewell to his God-given creative art.  Happily he did not know at the time that From a Log Cabin was to prove a truer-expression of his future; a prophetic description of the tragic end of his life.

WORKS WITHOUT OPUS NUMBERS

SIX LITTLE PIECES ON SKETCHES FOR PIANOFORTE, BY J.S.  BACH,

Published by Arthur P. Schmidt.

  1. Courante.

  2. Menuet.

  3. Gigue.

  4. Menuet.

  5. Menuet.

  6. Marche.

These are illuminating little MacDowell-like adaptations of some sketches by “one of the world’s mightiest tone poets,” as MacDowell described J.S.  Bach.  They are charmingly and cleverly written, although not always satisfying, it is to be feared, to the strict purist.

FROM THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY (TRANSCRIPTIONS FOR PIANOFORTE OF HARPSICHORD AND CLAVICHORD PIECES).

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Project Gutenberg
Edward MacDowell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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