This collection of songs for soprano voice and piano reduction celebrate Maryland’s heritage by setting four diverse poems to music: “At the Edge of the Choptank River,” “A Maryland Road,” “On Chesapeake Shores: A Fisherman’s Sonnet,” and “The Sires of Seventy-Six.” Jack Stamp at his best!
Genre: Duet for Soprano & Piano | # of Players: 2
Level: Medium | Duration: 9:40
Four Maryland Songs was commissioned by the University of Maryland chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma (the honorary band service fraternity and sorority). The commission was to honor Director of Bands John Wakefield’s thirty years on the College Park campus. After discussions with Professor Wakefield, I decided to write a work based on poetry about Maryland and feature a soprano soloist with wind ensemble. The poetry, a majority of which was found in the collection Maryland in Prose and Poetry, is as diverse as the music which accompanies it.
“At the Edge of the Choptank River,” by J.P. Gelletly, is very rhythmic to accentuate the consistent, pounding shore. However, Gelletly brings religious symbolism into the text and the music adjusts accordingly.
“A Maryland Road,” by W.C. Thurston, is somewhat pastoral, and is reminiscent of the music of Aaron Copland or, at least, has a distinct “American” flavor.
“On Chesapeake Shores: A Fisherman's Sonnet,” by Albert Dawling, is a humorous look at the “after-life” with or without fishing. The music is rhythmic, earthy, polytonal, and folk-like. There is a brief “tongue-in-cheek” quote of the state song in the translation.
“The Sires of Seventy-Six,” by John N. McJuton, is the most serious of the four movements. The text deals with our forefathers and their strife for independence. Between verses there is a serious quote of “Maryland, My Maryland” (which I learned as a fourth grader and can still remember the words).