American Classics by Arthur Foote
Paul Van de Water | Virginia, USA | 05/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arthur Foote (1853-1937) is one of America's major but little known composers. He was a student of John Knowles Paine at Harvard and a contemporary of George Whitefield Chadwick and Horatio Parker. The Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered and promoted many of Foote's works. In fact, I first encountered Foote on a Pearl CD of Serge Koussevitzky conducting American music, including Foote's Suite in E and the original BSO recordings of Roy Harris's Symphony 1933 and Symphony No. 3.
Like Harris and other better known successors, Foote gave an individual, American idiom to classical forms. The notes to the Pearl disc describe the Suite in E as belonging "to that series of Romantically inclined, neo-Baroque works that can be traced back as far as Grieg's Holberg Suite." Similarly, the Air (from the Air and Gavotte) is modeled after the air from Bach's Third Suite. In contrast, Francesca da Rimini and the Four Character Pieces might be characterized as tone poems.
Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony deserve our thinks for making these orchestral works by Foote available in fine performances with modern sound. If you're already acquainted with Foote, this disc is self-recommending. If you like American symphonic music, you should give it a try."