Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Musical Reflections of Autumn

This month, Clef Notes is looking at music for the four seasons and today, we finally make it to the current season, autumn. What music moves your mind to reflect on the colorful sunsets, falling leaves, and crisp temperatures we experience during autumn in Cincinnati? Today, we’ll look at one piece that uses “autumn” in its title, and another that is more appropriate for Thanksgiving, a very autumnal holiday.

One would think that Edvard Grieg wrote his In Autumn sometime between the months of September and November, but in actuality, he composed the work during the winter of 1865 and 1866 while visiting Rome. At first, he was not pleased with his orchestration for the work so he only published a piano duet version. He later re-orchestrated the piece in 1887. In Autumn contains three sections with a unifying theme. Part of this concert overture comes from a song Grieg wrote in 1865 titled The Autumn Storm. He also pulls from folk elements including a dance from his native land, Norway. Do you find that Grieg’s piece musically reflects the way you picture autumn? If not, do you have another piece you prefer?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only does it occur in autumn, but there are plenty of autumnal characteristics that surround it. Joseph Curiale wrote his Prairie Hymn as a prayer of thanksgiving, perfect for this time of year. The piece was inspired by Ted Kooser’s poem “So this is Nebraska.” Curiale dedicated his piece to Kooser upon its completion in 1995.

What else reminds you of autumn? Perhaps Halloween? Join me next time for my “Horrifying Music of Halloween” playlist in honor of the upcoming spooky holiday!