Saga of the Mississippi

Harl McDonald

Full Score - Study
Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Instrumentation: 3 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 3 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, Contra-bassoon, 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Percussion: Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Cymbal, Strings
Item Number: 466-41177
Number of Pages: 84
Duration: 15:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Custom Print, 4-5 days

$52.99
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Quick Overview

Mississippi I. Father of Waters: born of the Highlands and the Lakes; the Glaciers, the Mountains, and the Prairies. The picture of your birth is clounded in the ice and mists of ancient ages but your spirit remains our life stream. II. The Red Man knew your bountiful gifts and gave thanks to the Great Spirit on your banks. -- The Spanish and French Fathers brought the glory of Christianity to America on Mississippi. But all men, white and dark; -- Indian, Spaniard, and Negro; Bourbon and Yankee, combined to make Mississippi the heart of America. Saga of the Mississippi Harl McDonald Born near Boulder, Colorado, July 27, 1899 Now living in Philadelphia The original suggestion for a symphonic work on the subject of the Mississippi came indirectly from the late Booth Tarkington who saw in it color and movement and atmosphere translatable into the terms of music. In the course of time, by the mysterious processes of composers' chemistry, it took shape as a tone-poem of two sections, one representing the rise of the great stream from its primeval geologic sources, the other the human history of the river. Mr. McDonald devised the following verbal outline of the general scheme of his diptych: "I. Father of Waters: born of the Highlands and the Lakes; the Glaciers, the Mountains, and the Prairies. The picture of your birth is clounded in the ice and mists of ancient ages but your spirit remains our life stream. II. The Red Man knew your bountiful gifts and gave thanks to the Great Spirit on your banks. -- The Spanish and French Fathers brought the glory of Christianity to America on Mississippi. But all men, white and dark; -- Indian, Spaniard, and Negro; Bourbon and Yankee, combined to make Mississippi the heart of America." The first of the two movements, beginning molto andante, is vaguel modal to hint at antiquity. It is built upon the conventional two themes, with an episode, poco piu mosso, misterioso, for prehistoric murk and muck. There are various changes of pace and mood. The second, Allegro ma vigorosamente, prefigures an Indian ceremony. A theme presented by flute, clarinet and bassoon is a Canadian Indian fishing call collected by the late J.B. Beck. A later passage of quasi-Gregorian chant identifies the French and Spanish priests who made the great river their highway. The fishing-call is altered in rhythm and harmony to represent Negro field hands and roustabous. A turbulent close brings all these elemts together in the muddy swirling currents of the Mississippi. The work was begun in the summer of 1945, and was revised and completed in the summer of 1947. Harl McDonald, who is the manager of The Philadelphia Orchestra, has concerned himself with music as an art, as a science and as a business in course of his career. He was born on a cattle ranch in the Rockies, but since his was a musical family, his up-bringing combined piano lessons with ranch life. Years of study and professional experience followed in Los Angeles and in Germany. In 1927 he was appointed lecuter in composition at the University of Pennsylvania and he has since then made is home in Philadelphia. In 1933 under a grant of the Rockefeller FOundation he collaborated with physicists in research dealing with the measurement of instrumental and vocal tone, new scale divisions and the resultant harmonies. In that same year he was named head of the University's music faculty and conductor of its choral organizations. In 1939, having been a member of the Board of Directors for five years, he was appointed manager of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He continus to write, but otherwise his entire attention is now devoted to managerial duties. Chief items in the catalogue of his compositions are four symphonies, three orchestra suites, a half-dozen tone-poems, three concertos and considerable quantity of choral music.
466-41177

Scores & Parts

Saga of the Mississippi - Full Score - Large

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