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34 tracks 62 min
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Music for Early America

The pioneering spirit of the first explorers of the United States of America, from their own music from the earliest times to superb evocations of their lives, times and tunes from famous American composers of the twentieth century. Ainsworth Psalms, the Bay Psalter, Ives, Copland, Coolidge and more.

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A Gift To Be Simple
Music for Early America

The pioneering spirit of the first explorers of the United States of America, in a program which combines their own music from the earliest times with superb evocations of their lives, times and tunes from famous American composers of the twentieth century - Ainsworth Psalms, the Bay Psalter, Moravian musicians, Ives, Copland, Coolidge and more.


1 Variations on a Shaker Hymn from Appalachian Spring Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Susskind

Ainsworth Psalms Henry Ainsworth (c.1571-c.1623)
2-6 Psalm 100 - Psalm 25 - Psalm 1 - Psalm 111 - Psalm 97
Rosalind Rees,soprano, Thomas Bogdan, tenor
7-12 Psalm 55 - Psalm 34 - Psalms 13 - Psalm 27 - Psalm 18 - Psalm 75
Rosalind Rees,soprano, Linda Eckard alto, Thomas Bogdan, tenor, Richard Muenz, baritone
13-17 Psalm 37 - Psalm 39 - Psalm 33 - Psalm 24 - Psalm 84
Rosalind Rees,soprano, Thomas Bogdan, tenor

18 The Alcotts from Piano Sonata No 2 'Concord' Charles Ives (1876-1971)
Roger Shields

Bay Psalms Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1590-c.1633)
19-20 Psalm 4 'Oxford Tune' - Psalm 23 'Low Dutch Tune'
Richard Muenz, baritone
21-23 Psalm 73 'York Tune' - Psalm 39 'Martyr's Tune' - Psalm 100 'Old Hundreth'
Rosalind Rees, Thomas Bogdan, tenor, Patrick Mason, baritone

24 Moderato-Coda from Appalachian Spring Aaron Copland
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Susskind

Music from American 18thC century tune books Various
25 from Tuft's 'Introduction': Standish - Isle of Wight - 100th Psalm Tune New
Thomas Bogdan, tenor, Richard Muenz, baritone, Patrick Mason, baritone
26 from Walter's 'Grounds & Rules': Southwell New - Windsor - Litchfield - Psalm 148
Patricia Price, soprano, Fay Kittleston, alto, Paul Parker, tenor, Patrick Mason, baritone, Lin Garber, bass
27 from Lyon's 'Urania': Standish - Isle of Wight - 100th Psalm Tune New
Jan Opalach, bass
28 from Ainsworth, Bay, Walter & Lyon: Cambridge Tune/Southwell Tune Fay Kittleston, alto
29 from Lyon's 'Urania': The Lord descended from above
Patricia Price, soprano, Fay Kittleston, alto, Paul Parker, tenor, Patrick Mason, baritone
30 from Lyon's 'Urania': 19th Psalm
Patricia Price, soprano, Fay Kittleston, alto, Paul Parker, tenor, Patrick Mason, baritone

31 How beautiful upon the mountains John Antes
The Gregg Smith Singers, Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Gregg Smith

Pioneer Dances Peggy Stuart Coolidge (1913-1981)
32 Allegro vivo
33 Andante, quasi rubato
34 Allegro vivo
Westphalian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Siegfried Landau

CCL CDG1136
This compilation P & C 2005 Classical Communications Ltd
Cover image: Birth certificate 1821 American School (19th century) The Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania, USA/www.bridgeman.co.uk

For further information on The Gift of Music range of high quality CDs, please ask for a catalogue or visit our website: t: 01865 882920, www.thegiftofmusic.com




inside book:

A Gift To Be Simple
Music for Early America

The music of early America is fascinating. At first, much of it was imported from Europe, but the story of American music is, like the story of the American nation, one of discovering a new way, a self-reliant way of doing things.

The pilgrims arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 sang religious songs from a psalm book which had been published in Amsterdam by an Englishman, Henry Ainsworth in 1612. Ainsworth's book (tracks 2-17 and others) was very useful; much more so, in fact, than previous, similar publications. The book was pocket-sized, and thus perfect for transport from one side of the ocean to the other, and it included the psalm tunes along with the words. So Ainsworth's Psalms may well have been the first European music to be sung in the New World. Soon, though, as American society grew, the founding fathers of the American communities began to long for their own psalter. The tunes in Ainsworth's book were actually rather hard to sing, and while the earliest pilgrims must have been pretty accomplished musicians, later generations were not always so musically sure of themselves. In addition, some of the translations of the biblical psalm texts were found wanting in a society which aimed to follow God's word to the letter.

The need for a new psalter was addressed in 1640 when the Bay Psalter (tracks 19-23) was published in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This was the first full-length book to be printed in the colonies, and it remained popular for at least one hundred years. Psalm singing became a Christian duty in church, and it was often performed by a lead singer who would intone a line or phrase which the congregation would repeat back. Errors would inevitably creep in over the years and there was much debate about the value of such a practice. Singing schools arose which taught the rudiments of music so that congregational singers could learn to read a musical score, and thus sing more accurately. The success of these singing schools eventually led to a need for more music (and more sophisticated music at that) than a simple psalter could provide. This was an opportunity for entrepreneurial American composers to make their own mark on the American musical scene, and several volumes of music appeared in the eighteenth century, including James Lyon's Urania, or A Choice Collection of Psalm-Tunes, Anthems and Hymns. Lyons had been born in New Jersey and was a graduate of the College of New Jersey (Princeton). Urania was published by subscription in Philadelphia in 1762 (tracks 27, 29 & 30), having been created and compiled during 1761.

John Antes was born in Pennsylvania and attended a Moravian church in Bethlehem. Antes opened a music shop in Bethlehem in 1762. He is considered to be the first American composer of chamber music, even though none of his music of that type was composed while he was living in the United States. He signed himself Giovanni A-T-S, Dilletante Americano. As a Moravian missionary he travelled widely in Europe and as far as Egypt before settling in England, where he got to know some of the greatest composers of the day including Joseph Haydn. Antes' music owes much to the Classical style which was so popular in Europe in the last few decades of the eighteenth century.


The pioneer spirit found its place many times in the music of the twentieth century, as composers, partly resulting from their ongoing search for a truly independent American idiom, turned to the tunes of the early American settlers for inspiration. They were inspired, too, by stories of the lives of the early Americans, and they composed musical expressions of these stories and of the 'true grit' and heady freedom of the early days of the developing nation. Copland's music is very expressive of the wide open spaces of the West. His ballet 'Appalachian Spring' is a very beautiful work, filled with a sense of optimism which must have characterised the people of Appalachia and the rest of America in the early days. Charles Ives, from a much earlier generation than Copland, also captured something quintessentially American in his music. His piano portrait of the Alcotts is touching and moving. Peggy Stuart Coolidge composed the first known ballet music for ice skating , Cracked Ice, for the Boston Skating Club in 1937. It was later orchestrated by Ferde Grofé (see CCL CDG1139). She was the first American composer to have a concert entirely of her own music performed in the Soviet Union, and the first American woman composer of symphonic music to have a recording entirely devoted to her work. She wrote film scores, songs and piano music, and pieces such as those presented here (tracks 32-34): dynamic evocations of the pioneer spirit, full of life and energy.


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