Foster's America" is a three-movement suite featuring four original songs by American composer, Stephen C. Foster – "A Penny for Your Thoughts," "Beautiful Dreamer," "If You've Only Got a Moustache" and "Gentle Lena Clare" – arranged by the inimitable David Gillingham.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 10:00
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2/3
Percussion 1 (xylophone, marimba, temple blocks, cowbell, brake drum, hi-hat)
Percussion 2 (bells, temple blocks, bass drum, snare drum, large tam-tam)
Percussion 3 (vibraphone, crash cymbals, hi-hat, suspended cymbal, 2 tom-toms)
Foster's America is a three-movement suite featuring four original songs by American composer, Stephen C. Foster (1826-1864). Two of the songs are not well known, but certainly bear the characteristics of Foster's melodic, harmonic and rhythmic style. The first movement features the song, "A Penny For Your Thoughts." It is cast in a sort of "march-like” style and features chamber scoring that is reminiscent of banjo or guitar accompaniments which were popular in Foster's day. The "Scottish snap" rhythm in the melody is a unique earmark of the catchy melody. The second movement, "Beautiful Dreamer" should be familiar to many. To capture the "dreamy" atmosphere, the atmosphere, the movement begins with an introduction in E-flat minor with a flute and clarinet solo in dialogue using motives from the song accompanied by a texture of vibraphone, bells, and marimba to enhance the ambiance. E-flat minor succumbs to E-flat major as the song unfolds. However, there is a rhythmic twist to the presentation in that the melody employs three quarter notes followed by two dotted halves against a consistent pattern of eighths in 6/8 meter instead of the consistent eighth notes of the original version in 9/8 meter. The movement works its way to a climax of the tune in 3/4 meter and ends as dreamily as it began. The third movement casts two songs, "If You've Only Got a Moustache" and "Gentle Lena Clare." The former is sort of a novelty song and is treated in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, while the latter is treated with expressive sweetness as a contrast to the first. Both tunes join together (not quite exactly) followed by a rousing coda.