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Family Album
Album No. 25 | Recorded 2005


Album Playlist


About the Album

What makes a piece of music "American?" It seems to be a simple question, yet it has been debated by composers and musicologists for decades. In 1892 the renowned Czech composer Antonin Dvorák was brought to America to help the young country find its musical identity. This was a time when most of our native composers either studied in Europe or learned from European-trained American teachers, and much of the music produced on our soil could be described as little more than clones of European models. Dvorák's message was simple and direct: "The new American School of music must strike its roots deeply into its own soil." By the late nineteenth century, the soil to which Dvorák referred was already a rich blend of multicultural influences, and the Czech composer specifically cited "the Negro melodies, the song of the creoles, the red man's chant, or the plaintive ditties of the homesick Germans and Norwegians" as potential sources of inspiration. Dvorák sensed this "melting pot" aspect of American society would become its defining quality, and his instruction to allow this characteristic to shape our musical identity has proven to be astute. Throughout the twentieth century new and even more varied cultures have enriched out societal fabric and have be one part of our music, as the selections on this recording demonstrate. From these six American composers we hear tangos, polkas, marches, and waltzes, all forms which originated in different lands but which have been appropriated and transformed. Even jazz, the most quintessentially American of all musical styles, can trace its roots to foreign shores. The works on Family Album are but a small sampling of the incredible range of musical ideas and idioms that have become part of the rich and vibrant tapestry that is American music.

Read the CD album booklet

Listen to the Album on YouTube



(Select bold title to download track)

1. Aaron Copland: An Outdoor Overture

2. Scott Lindroth: "Spin Cycle" (2001)

3. John Williams (ed. Bulla): Prelude and Fugue

4-15. Walter Piston (trans. Patterson): Suite from The Incredible Flutist

4. Introduction: Siesta in the Market place

5. Entrance of the Vendors

6. Entrance of the Customers

7. Tango of the Merchant's Daughters

8. Arrival of the Circus

9. Circus March

10. The Flutist

11. Minuet

12. Spanish Waltz

13. Eight o'clock Strikes

14. Siciliana

15. Polka Finale

16. Michael Gandolfi: Vientos y Tangos

17-21. Morton Gould: Family Album Suite

17. Outing in the Park

18. Porch Swing on a Summer Evening

19. Nickelodeon

20. Old Romance

21. Horseless Carriage Galop