Publisher: G. Schirmer
Spoon River (band version) (1929)
Works for Band/Wind/Brass Ensemble
arr. by Glenn Cliffe Bainum
Based on an early American fiddle tune, Grainger created a setting that "aims at preserving a pioneer blend of lonesome wistfulness and sturdy persistence." The 16-measure melody is fully explored and developed in a variety of harmonizations and instrumental colors, and is particularly noteworthy for the extensive use of "tuneful percussion" (bells, chimes, xylophone, marimba) as well as important parts for piano and harp. This publication brings back the classic 1967 edition arranged for band by Glenn Cliffe Bainum.
A Captain Charles H. Robinson heard a tune called "Spoon River" played by a rustic fiddler at a country dance at Bradford, Illinois (U.S.A.) in 1857.
When Edgar Lee Masters' " Spoon River Anthology" appeared in 1914, Captain Robinson (then nearly 90 years old) was struck by the likeness of the two titles and he sent the "Spoon River" tune to Masters, who passed it on to me. The tune [is] very archaic in character; typically American, yet akin to certain Scottish and English dance-tune types.
My setting (begun March 10, 1919; ended February 1, 1929) aims at preserving a pioneer blend of lonesome wistfulness and sturdy persistence. It bears the following deidcation: "For Edgar Lee Masters, poet of pioneers."
Percy Aldridge Grainger