Tone Poem Tuesday

Charles Martin Loeffler is one of those late-Romantic American composers of whom relatively little is heard nowadays, mainly because their music tends to be too derivative of European traditions, although this is likely unfair in Loeffler’s case. His European bona fides are well established, however, by virtue of the fact that he was born near Berlin and moved around Europe a good deal before emigrating to the United States in 1881, when he was twenty. His music apparently abounds in unusual instrument pairings and interesting sounds, especially late in his career when he became interested in jazz. (I’m getting all this from Wikipedia, by the way. I’m being honest when I say that I know nothing about the man.)

Loeffler’s A Pagan Poem is a dramatic work indeed, based on a work of Virgil. Apparently he did not mean the work to literally tell the story but convey some of its emotion. I can’t speak to his level of success there, but this is a powerful and emotional work.

Here is A Pagan Poem.

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