The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: YOU MUST HEAR THIS: The “Air” for strings by the American composer Arthur Foote | June 23, 2018

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has heard quite a lot of music — mostly orchestral music and chamber music — by the American composer Arthur Foote before.

It was okay — perfectly acceptable, accessible and listenable if not always memorable.

But this time was different.

As often happens, it occurred on Wisconsin Public Radio.

That is where I heard the “Air” from Foote’s “Serenade for Strings” in E Major, Op. 25.

The music proved beautiful, relaxing and even restorative. You know it’s good when it is hard not to listen.

Foote (1853-1937, below in 1930) is generally considered to be the first American composer trained entirely in the United States. He was a member of “The Boston Six,” also called the Second New England School and the New England Classicists, a group that included Amy Beach and Edward MacDowell.

Here is a link to Foote’s biographical entry on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Foote

And here is an entry about The Boston Six:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_New_England_School

The Ear doesn’t recall hearing the Air or the entire Serenade by Arthur Foote performed live in Madison, although it seems like perfect fare especially for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, but also possibly for the Middleton Community Orchestra, or even a University of Wisconsin-Madison group or the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Anyway at the bottom – for your listening pleasure, as they say — is a YouTube video of the Air that proved so appealing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE5VDFBOhtU

Let us know what you think.

The Ear wants to hear.


3 Comments »

  1. Many thanks for sharing this sublime music by Foote. Totally new to me.

    Comment by Daniel Petry — June 23, 2018 @ 10:26 am

  2. This has been on my short list for my high school group for several years, just have not yet pulled the trigger. Lovely work, that movement and the entire Serenade. His Suite for Strings is also a fine piece. And his Four Character Pieces after the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is good listening as well.

    Comment by Steve Kurr — June 23, 2018 @ 9:19 am

  3. Thank you. It’s always great to learn of something so beautiful, but especially on this magnificent morning.

    Comment by Connie Wiegeshaus — June 23, 2018 @ 6:06 am


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