About that OTHER American composer, born on the 4th of July

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Wallingford
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Location: Brush, Colorado

About that OTHER American composer, born on the 4th of July

Post by Wallingford » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:10 pm

Yes, STEPHEN FOSTER. After going through so many "serious" composers in this country, it's his tunes that forever ring out in my mind.

"Camptown Races" and "Oh! Susannah" were always fun in grade school, but it took nearly forever for me to come to terms with the ballads, "Beautiful Dreamer," "Gentle Annie" and "Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair." Seemingly slushy stuff, but the melody of "Dreamer" is worth studying away from its old-English text. VERY haunting; and it's the work of someone with only the most natural flair for a melody.

When stripped of their politically incorrect minstrel-show outfittings, these are the work of a tunesmith worth reckoning with.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

Haydnseek
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Location: Maryland, USA

Post by Haydnseek » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:36 pm

Foster's "Ah, May the Red Rose Live Always" is a beautiful and poignant song.

Ah, may the red rose live always,
To smile upon earth and sky!
Why should the beautiful ever weep?
Why should the beautiful die?

Lending a charm to ev'ry ray
That falls on her cheeks of light,
Giving the zephyr kiss for kiss,
And nursing the dewdrop bright.

Ah! may the red rose live always,
To smile upon earth and sky!
Why should the beautiful ever weep?
Why should the beautiful die?

Long may the daisies dance the field,
Frolicking far and near,
Why should the innocent hide their heads?
Why should the innocent fear?

Spreading their petals in mute delight,
When mornin' its radiance breaks,
Keeping a floral festival
Till the night-loving primrose wakes.

Long may the daisies dance the field,
Frolicking far and near,
Why should the innocent hide their heads?
Why should the innocent fear?
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
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Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:07 pm

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me.
Starlight and dewdrops are waitng fo thee.
Songs of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lulled by the moonlight have all passed away.

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List, while I woo thee with soft melodies.
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng.
Beautirful dreamer awake unto me.
Beautiful dreamer awake unto me.

(Keyed, from memory.)

Now what, pray tell, is "old English" about that? It is absurd to deprecate a semi-poetic text that is completely appropriate to its very lovely music because it happens to sound poetic.

Like Ralph who can't stand breaches of proper respect to British peerage, I cannot stand the misuse of the term "Old English." Even Chaucer is not "Old English" (he is in fact quite legible to serious modern readers). This is Old English:

Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard
metudæs maecti end his modgidanc
uerc uuldurfadur—sue he uundra gihuaes
eci dryctin or astelidæ
he aerist scop aelda barnum
heben til hrofe haleg scepen
tha middungeard moncynnæs uard
eci dryctin æfter tiadæ
firum foldu frea allmectig

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:13 am

Image

Great album, marvelous arrangements, especially the spirituals Steal Away and I Want to Die Easy
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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