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American composers 20th century Almanac a series of original compositions by young American composers commissioned and recorded by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant in aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These compositions were written to highlight important American holidays or seasonal observances. Today we're going to hear the first performance of a solemn observance from Memorial music 1058 by Robert Palmer. It will be played by the honors orchestra of the National Music Camp at Interlochen Michigan Orian Dolly conducting. But first here is Robert Palmer the composer with a few words about his composition memorial music. I was happy to learn that in the commissions for works appropriate to the series of national holidays that I should have been assigned Memorial Day the nature of the series indicates the kind of mature and imaginative thinking
characteristic of the National Association of educational broadcasters. It is also the sort of commission composers today have all too seldom which is to write music in their own terms to fill a very specific functional need. I would like to discuss two aspects of my approach to the problems of this commission. First the holiday itself and its meaning for me and them some thoughts on my approach to the creation of the work itself. During my earliest days Memorial Day meant for me what was at that time an extensive trip with my family from Syracuse New York through the Cherry Valley and the Catskills to the beautiful country of the Hudson Valley where an annual reunion was held at a Dutch Reform Church in the valley below the Xango mountains. Here in one of the oldest churches in the area I buried my maternal ancestors. After the decoration of the
graves in the morning we all assembled in the afternoon for a festive gathering at the farm of my great uncle at Montgomery New York. The holiday gods had at first a family significance which combined with the beauties of the scenery left an indelible impression. Long after these annual trips were no longer taken the same pattern of the more solemn morning and festive afternoon activities were characteristic of memorial days spent at home in later years. In the morning with the services and the decoration of the graves of war dead. Then in the early afternoon hours the various patriotic and civic groups would stage the Memorial Day parade down the Main Street and its thousands of counterparts across the land. The holiday was originated So my research tells me by the custom of Southern women throwing flowers on the graves of Southern as well as northern
dead immediately after the Civil War. This fact which I had not known before I became even more poignant to me when I realized also that May 30th is not universally celebrated in these United States. The nature of the holiday has since lost most of its original narrower meaning and represents a tribute to those who have lost their lives in all the increasingly terrible wars of the last hundred years. I would like my memorial music to be thought of as perhaps thoughts of an American on Memorial Day. If I am representing anything it is my own thoughts on the significance of war in the past. And this includes the American past as well as the larger past from which we come. It also must include thoughts on the incredible change that war has undergone in our time. When the borderline between war and peace is increasingly hard to define.
In deciding on a form for the work I very soon came to the idea of using the morning and afternoon relationship the emotional and dramatic basis was from the first derive from the more solemn and religious observances of the morning and the festive character of the traditional American parade. I have therefore divided the work into two parts. Calling the first part solemn observance and the second part. Traditional festivities the dichotomies of passive active solemn boisterous inward outward suggested a slow more serious and reflective movement for part one. In the first movement as well as in the second I have used closed form in the limited sense that the opening material of each movement is briefly stated at the end of that movement
in the central portions of both movements. There was a free unfolding of the material which proceeds from expressive rather than from formal considerations. These two movements are probably the freest from the formal standpoint of any I have written. It is not possible for me to quote as did the late Charles Ives from American patriotic songs or hymns I was whose works on national subjects are as fine as any we have was able to use this material naturally and with great originality. I did feel that something of the nature of the solemn observance should begin to Caite it. It took care of itself when my initial idea for part one seemed to have a human like character. This idea and a few shorter fragments became the basis for the movement. I feel that I am in some sense a national composer in some works my focus has
been and other than specifically American directions particularly in my art more abstract instrumental works. There is a series of more American works mostly associated with texts. A setting of Asia Lindsey's Abraham Lincoln walked at midnight for chorus an orchestra and an elegy for Thomas Wolfe called K-19 both from the mid forties belong to this group. More recently a chamber Cantata of Knight and the sea commissioned by the from Foundation contains a setting of Walt Whitman's out of the cradle endlessly rocking. I feel that memorial music like The Thomas Wolfe Elegy without text belongs to the group of my works with a somewhat more specifically national expression that was composer Robert Palmer's discussing his memorial music 1958.
We now hear a solemn observance from this work performed by the honors orchestra of the National Music Camp. Or am Dolly conducting it. The Boss. The owner. The Boss. The owner. The anything.
Yeah.
Yeah. You. Do.
News. The boy. Her.
Womb. That was a solemn observance from Memorial music 958 by Robert Palmer. This is been one in a series of original compositions by American
composers American composers 20th century Almanac has been commissioned and recorded by the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service and regret in aid from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters a consultant for the series has been Ross leaf any composer in residence at the University of Michigan. This is the N.A. E.B. Radio Network.
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Series
American composers 20th century almanac
Episode
Robert Palmer: Memorial Music
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-jq0sw12b
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Description
Description
No description available
Date
1960-08-31
Topics
Music
Media type
Sound
Duration
00:13:53
Credits
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 559-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:19:02
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Citations
Chicago: “American composers 20th century almanac; Robert Palmer: Memorial Music,” 1960-08-31, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jq0sw12b.
MLA: “American composers 20th century almanac; Robert Palmer: Memorial Music.” 1960-08-31. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jq0sw12b>.
APA: American composers 20th century almanac; Robert Palmer: Memorial Music. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jq0sw12b