Something for Thursday

American classical music written prior to, say, Gershwin tends to not be terribly familiar to audiences, as much of what was written prior to that time was deeply indebted to European musical traditions; it took time for truly American musical idioms to emerge (such as jazz) and be incorporated into classical music. But one of the finer American 19th century composers was Edward MacDowell, whose music is still heard today. Here’s a solo piano piece of his, the “Scotch Poem”. I actually played this piece as a high school senior.

The lyric tune in the middle is lovely, but it’s also a bit clicheed, right down to the “Scotch snap” (a rhythmic device that is common to Scottish folk music). But still, an entertaining piece of music from an era of American classical music that tends to be underexplored.

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