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.
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.