Designed to give listeners a small sampling of music in America, the program begins
with the familiar Shaker melody 'Simple Gifts,’ composed in 1848. Also on the program, in
keeping with the early American religious spirit, is a recent composition (2013) by Oxford
composer Brian Joyce, entitled ‘Three Last American Hymn Preludes.' This work is based
on old melodies from hymnals of the early 1800s.
Some of the traditional folk spirit of American music will be represented in two compositions by Jay Unger. His ‘Ashokan Farewell’ was used in the Ken Burns 1990 documentary film entitled ‘The Civil War,’ and his ‘Lover’s Waltz’ is a 1997 piece that was made familiar to American audiences in his duo-fiddle performances with Molly Mason.
Some American classics by George Gershwin from his Broadway musicals of the 1920s and 30s will remind listeners of an important era of American stage and film music in the 20th century.
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