This week’s music is the Serenade for Strings by American composer Arthur Foote.
Foote was a renowned piano and composition professor at New England Conservatory and a member of the famous composers’ group “The Boston Six.” Along with John Knowles Paine, Horatio Parker, George Chadwick, Edward MacDowell (who we heard a few weeks ago), and Amy Beach (who we will hear from very soon), Foote contributed to the first substantive body of distinctively American classical music. He is also notable because he was the first composer to ever be completely educated in the United States; unlike his piers, he did not study in Vienna, Paris, or Moscow.
Foote’s primary instrument was the organ, but he wrote for a wide range of ensembles. By the end of his career, he had written symphonies, choral works, string trios, woodwind ensembles, and much more. The Serenade for Strings is one of Foote’s most well-known works. Each movement (we will only be listening to the 1st movement today) was originally a separate composition. Foote pieced the Serenade together by combining a number of such smaller compositions into a single whole.