About the Album
Two hundred years ago, an attorney from Baltimore named Francis Scott Key penned a poem in a wave of patriotic inspiration that would later serve as the defining song of our nation. Although the text of “The Star-Spangled Banner” encapsulated a brand of fortitude and resolve that we identify as distinctly American, it was forever joined with a popular tune from the very country against which America was defending its ongoing independence. The genesis of our National Anthem was indicative of the fact that our fledgling country found many of its ideas about music still dressed in European clothes. It would not be long, however, before these hand-me-downs would be absorbed into the fabric of the growing American culture and would reemerge as something altogether new. Over the course of more than two centuries, early American hymns and marching songs were mixed with elements of other pervasive and popular New World originals such as spirituals, fiddle tunes, cowboy ballads, and rags. American composers eventually found the confidence to eschew European conventions and explore uncharted territory. By the turn of the twentieth century, these converging influences were forging a diverse artistic identity that mirrored the composition of the nation itself. While the collection of music on this recording was composed during only the last hundred years of that development, it is drawn from sources and traditions that span the entire official history of our nation, from the Revolution to the present. Each of these six works speaks our native musical language in a dialect all its own, yet their stories are firmly bound together by the authentic and indomitable fiber of the American experience.
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(Select bold title to download individual track)
1. John Williams: "For 'The President's Own'"
2-4. William Schumann: New England Triptych
2. "Be Glad Then, America"
3. "When Jesus Wept"
5-10. Charles Ives (trans. Elkus): Memories, Very Pleasant and Rather Sad: A Charles Ives Song Set
GySgt. Sara Sheffield, mezzo-soprano
6. Memories (a. Very Pleasant)
7. Memories (b. Rather Sad)
8. The Circus Band
9. The Things Our Fathers Loved
10. Old Home Day
11-13. Robert Russell Bennett: Symphonic Songs for Band
14. Vincent Persichetti: Psalm for Band
15. Aaron Copland (trans. D. Patterson*): Finale from Symphony No. 3
*Member, U.S. Marine Band