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Roy Harris

Publisher: AMP

Folksong Symphony (Symphony No. 4) (1940)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
43 Minutes
Mixed Chorus
Programme Note
Roy Harris Folksong Symphony (Symphony No. 4) (1940)
Composer Note:

The moods which seem particularly American to me are a noisy ribaldry, a sadness, a groping earnestness, which amounts to suppliance towards those deepest spiritual yearnings within ourselves, and finally a fierce struggle of will for power, for power in itself.

—Roy Harris

It is not so much a symphony as it is a little concert of Americana—five numbers with chorus and a couple of interludes for orchestra; but, whatever its title, Mr. Harris has picked some of our best and best-loved tunes… These are sung pretty straight by the chorus, mostly in unison, while the orchestra plays clever and pertinent accompaniments, sophisticated harmonically and ingenious rhythmically… Mr. Harris has contributed a refreshing item to the repertory.
Henry Simon, PM,01/01/1943
Forty-five minutes swept by like a second and left one listener with the excited consciousness of having heard something like the American continent rising up and saying hello… Harris has taken some of our best tunes, kept the words intact, the melodies too (more or less), and embellished them in a sort of free fantasia of seven movements. It is easy enough to take such material and treat it objectively. But Harris has assimilated it lovingly and it has come out in a form so completely original and fresh that it all sounds new and momentous. His rich, flowing sonorities crowd upon you with compelling urgency. They reach up and out and seem to awaken something that has long wanted to speak.
Herbert Ewell, The Cleveland Plain Dealer,28/12/1940
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