Morning Glories: Americana

by Rex Levang, Minnesota Public Radio
June 30, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — Every weekday at 10 a.m., the hosts at Classical MPR play a standout work based on the theme for the week. We call these works Morning Glories.

This Friday is the Fourth of July — we'll lead up to it with five pieces that show how four American composers and one Czech have given expression to America's history, landscape, and aspirations.


Schickele: String Quartet No. 2 ("American Dreams")
Peter Schickele is often associated with the far-out compositions of P. D. Q. Bach; here, however, he speaks in his own voice.


Copland: Billy the Kid
Aaron Copland used folk melodies and cowboy songs to tell the story of Billy the Kid and America's westward expansion.


MacDowell: Piano Concerto No. 2
A flamboyant piano concerto from 1890 by one of the first American composers to win international recognition.


Still: Symphony No. 4
William Grant Still said that this symphony was meant to reflect the spirit of the American people.


Dvořák: Hiawatha Melodrama
Fascinating fact: While Dvořák was living in America, he studied and was influenced by Longfellow's "Hiawatha." This piece brings together Dvořák's music and Longfellow's words.
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