A New Orleans Symphony, mvt. I - Jackson Square
Grade level: 5
Premiere info: Minnesota Symphonic Winds, Timothy Mahr, conductor
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This opening movement is a depiction of New Orleans before the storm. We begin with street music in Jackson Square, which is a central gathering place in the French Quarter. The brass section, building incrementally from low to high, introduce the hymn tune Nettleton, which is commonly sung to the text "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing." The percussion, and woodwinds join the sound through interjections, as if more musicians are coming to the square to join in the fun. The music then shifts as a funeral procession enters the square. The traditional Dixieland band of trumpet, clarinet, trombone, tuba, and drums plays a slow and solemn dirge, which is followed by the whole ensemble joining in that mournful song. Then, in keeping with the tradition of a New Orleans funeral, the band kicks off the up-tempo second line rhythm and everyone marches home for a joyous celebration of life. An original melody, which will return in the final movement, is combined with the familiar tunes of "Oh When the Saints" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" to bring the movement to an uplifting close.
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