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Invitation To The Waltz;

Waltzes in America's Music.

 

I remember many, many years ago as a rather clumsy and awkward youth taking dance lessons as I entered the years when boy's interest turns to girls. My mother had the foresight to realize that (at the time) ballroom dancing was an important social skill. The very first dance I was taught was the waltz. At the time, it was nothing more than a task and the significance and historic importance of the dance was furthest from my mind. Though I never really mastered the waltz or any other dance for that matter, I can look back on those times as enchanting and fun. Today's kids would no doubt gasp in horror at the idea of dancing a waltz to that old fashioned awful music.

 

In spite of today's ideas of what is cool, the waltz must be considered the epitome of grace and beauty. The music can range from the sublime to beautiful to creative and the dance itself is of an almost royal nature; stately, graceful and formal yet intimate. Less often seen today. except in perhaps films of days gone by, at one time the Waltz was THE dance of peasants, poets, lovers and royalty. Honed to a fine art by the Strauss family of Germany by the end of the 19th century, the waltz was king of the ballroom and from a classical art form, it pervaded the popular music genres and moved from the concert stage to the world's and America's parlors.

 

Of an elusive origin, the waltz seems to have been born in the mid 1700's as an offshoot of the many dances then popular but of more humble origins. The dances of those times were quite stately and exceptionally formal as, for example, the minuet. The waltz (both the music and the dance) is described the The New Grove (Vol. 20, p 200) as a "simple and unsophisticated form" of the more stately dances then found in Germany which were called "Deutsher" (German) dances. According to the New Grove (ibid.), the "earliest example of music specifically associated with 'waltzen' is found in a comedy, Der auf and das neue begisterte und belebte Bernardon" in 1754. By the end of the century, the waltz had become quite popular across Europe and was on it's way to becoming an important form of music and dance.

 

Considered by many to be somewhat erotic, even vulgar. In France, Ernst Moritz Arndt decried it's erotic and lustful nature. In England, and entry in Ree's Encyclopedia mentioned how uneasy it would make a mother to see her daughter so engaged. In the second quarter of the 19th century Joseph Lanner (1801 - 1843) and Johann Strauss (1804 - 49) concurrently (and somewhat competitively) completely changed both the complexity of the musical form and in the process legitimized the waltz as the finest and most beautifully graceful dance of the time. Part of their contribution was the lush orchestration of their works and the creation of "sets" within a given work. We'll see that in most of our examples this month. From its more humble simple origins, the waltz became a major work with up to seven sets with repeats and da capo returns with codas and finales. Sometimes a single work rivaled full length classical orchestral works.

 

Almost all nations of the Western world merged the waltz into their own musical traditions and America was no exception. In addition to the pure dance form, "waltz songs" became the rage and the 3/4 time of the waltz became a musical staple for nearly every form of music. From the late 19th century till the 20's American music was infused with a wide variety of waltzes some imported from other countries but thousands written by America's Tin Pan Alley pioneers. This month we'll present you with a variety of waltzes published in America for your enjoyment. I think you'll be enchanted and sometimes surprised by the creativity of the music and its sublime beauty. Sit back and relax for almost every work this month runs for more than five minutes so be prepared for an hour or more of some of America's most beautiful music.

 

If you are new to us, to enjoy the full musical experience, we recommend that you get the Scorch plug in from our friends at Sibelius software. The Scorch player allows you to not only listen to the music but to view the sheet music as the music plays and see the lyrics as well. Each month we also allow printing of some of the sheet music featured so for those of you who play the piano (or other instruments) you'll be able to play the music yourself. It's a complete musical experience! Get the Sibelius Scorch player now.

 

Richard A. Reublin, September, 2005. This article published September, 2005 and is Copyright © 2005 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or a company officer.

 


On The Beautiful Blue Danube

1874

(Originally published by Strauss in 1867)


Music by: Johann Strauss (ii)
Words by: C. C. Haskins
Cover artist: Unattributed


As we mentioned in our introduction, it was the Strauss and Lanner families who truly brought the waltz to worldwide attention and interest. The Strauss family is no doubt the best known. The original Johann died in 1849 and his oldest son Johann the second, (1825 - 1899) became even more famous and wrote more waltzes and other "Deutsher" dances. Johann's brothers Josef (1827 - 1870), and Eduard (1835 - 1916) and later, their sons also carried on the family tradition. Most would agree though that it is Johann (ii). though whose music we most admire and recall. Though the senior wrote many outstanding waltzes, his son outdid him in a way any father would be proud of. He wrote his first waltz at the tender age of six and it was published much later as Erster Gedanke. Strauss wrote hundreds of musical works from operettas to waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and marches.

 

The "Blue Danube" was published as Strauss' Opus 315 in 1867 under the title, An der shönen blauen Donau and was an immediate monster hit in the waltz world. Strauss used the waltz construction his father handed down to him of a work that begins with a slow introduction, five distinctly different waltz melodies and a coda. Each section is expanded through the liberal use of repeats and returns to segnos to thus create a quite long work (in this case, as written well over eight minutes). This pattern is the same for almost every work we present this month with the exception that not all works use five waltzes, some as few as 2 but the overall layout is the same. It is interesting to note that though the melodies of all the component waltzes are different, they still seem to belong together and if one stands back or simply listens to the whole, it all fits and makes for a most pleasant experience.

 

The melodies contained in this work are all well known and surely recognized by all but the most hermitic of musical listeners. It's a beautiful and flowing work that in many ways is as much a tone poem that evokes the breadth and length of the Danube as well as its flowing beauty. This particular edition is quite unusual. Published some seven years after the work's first appearance and published in America by D, P. Paulds the issue is published with lyrics, very unique. Perhaps the writer, Haskins, was hoping to capitalize on the works popularity and turn it into a popular song. Quite honestly, he should have left well enough alone as in some places, the lyrics become more laughable than singable. The music is in general true to the original but does not contain all of the waltz motifs of the original. After all, who would want to sing a song in the parlor that goes on for over eight minutes? As it is, we have a work of three and a half minutes. For this publication, the piano part is significantly reduced so that a less accomplished player may play it. The full version requires a great deal of skill. To compare the two, listen to our version and then listen to this piano roll version. This terrific work was provided to us by Terry Smythe of Canada and is used with his permission. Terry has provided us with many fantastic files of songs we've featured.

Enjoy this fantastic beginning of our exploration of the music of the waltz.

 

Hear this lasting waltz hit. ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Listen to Terry Smythe's piano roll MIDI.

Lyrics

 



Rendezvous Valse

1897


Music by: George Rosey(piano solo)
Cover artist: unknown (photographers and locals unknown)


It's pretty tough to compete with the Strauss dynasty, but many a composer did and as the waltz gained traction in the US, the sheet music publishers would inundate us with thousands. Of course, as with most of our musical heritage, most are forgotten. Yet, on rediscovery, we find that there were many excellent and wonderfully creative works published that deserve a hearing. This piece is one of the many such works.

 

In length, this work comes close to that of the Blue Danube, running some 11 pages and over 300 bars. With a lengthy but sparklingly interesting introduction, three waltzes and a relatively long coda, it runs but five seconds less than the Blue Danube if all repeats are honored. The introduction almost reminds me of a children's' song. It opens with an interesting, almost oriental motif then moves into a more playful melody that seems totally out of character for a waltz but sets the stage for an overall work that has a light feeling and includes some creative turns that make it an overall entertaining and lively experience. Though published in America, the work still has that Viennese flair to it and is unmistakably in the mold set by the Strausses and Lanners. Imagine dancing to one piece for almost ten minutes! But, that was the nature of these classic waltzes of the 19th century. I can only imagine that the serious waltzers of those days had to be in excellent shape!

 

Enjoy this wonderful old "lost" waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

listen to MIDI version

(There are no Lyrics for this work)


 


My Lady Laughter Waltzes

1905

 


Music by: Charlotte Blake
Cover artist: Unattributed

 

If you read the biography below on this composer, you'll see that she was a very accomplished composer and was a major contributor to the development of Tin Pan Alley and American music. Interestingly, much of her music prior to 1906 was published only as "C. Blake" but once her work became more popular, her full name was given. This was not unusual for women composers of that era.

 

The waltz begins with a shorter than usual introduction that is faster than most and very sparkling. That description fits the entire work, it sparkles with some lovely melodies and harmonies that make for a great listening experience and makes you want to get up and dance and whirl around the ballroom. Blake's liberal use of dotted rhythms and in an interlude in waltz 1, a bit of pleasant dissonance makes for an interesting work. We only get two waltzes and a coda from Blake and somewhat more than four minutes of music, but we certainly were not left wanting when it comes to melody or harmony. It's a terrific waltz.

 

Charlotte Blake (Born, May 30th, 1885, Ohio; Died August 21st, 1979, Santa Monica, CA). From around 1903 to 1912 Charlotte Blake was a staff writer for Jerome H. Remick, proprietor of the Whitney Warner Publishing Co., in Detroit, MI. Throughout this period she lived with her family at the home address of Edward C. Blake, who headed up a truly traditional Michigan enterprise: E. C. Blake & Co., "Dealers in Raw and Dressed Furs." In the city directories, Charlotte Blake was simply identified as a "pianist" or "clerk," but in fact she composed over 35 titles for Remick including syncopated pieces, rags, novelettes, waltzes, and songs, several of which received top billing in Remick's advertising campaigns. At first she was referred to as "C. Blake, composer of 'Missouri Mule,' etc." but by 1906 the Remick ads revealed her full name.

For example:

"Dainty Dames" Novelette: This beautiful, little, dainty semi-classic by Charlotte Blake stands out prominently with the very best class of leaders and is played continuously. It is called a Novelette and certainly is novel in every sense of the word, and exceedingly melodious. Especially adapted for Theater and Concert work and is a most catchy Schottische.

 

In 1911 Remick published three songs plus an instrumental rag, which
received this amusing review:

With "rags" in general we are at enmity, and we pour out the vials of
our wrath on the ragger who invented rag. But seeing that "rags" are on
the market we must acknowledge them. As a sample of this peculiar kink,
Charlotte Blake's "That Tired Rag'" is as good as any of them.

[American Musician & Art Journal, Mar. 25, 1911, p. 18]

 

After 1919 Charlotte Blake seems to have abandoned her composing career.
She continued living with her family in the Detroit area at least through the early 1930s and apparently never married. Eventually she moved to Santa Monica, California where she died in 1979 at age 94.

 


Nan Bostick's chronological listing of Charlotte Blake compositions found via titles from the Whitney-Warner and Jerome Remick Library of Congress claimants file, Detroit Public Library's collection of sheets by Detroit composers, or titles in my own, or various other folks' collections:

King Cupid (1903); The Missouri Mule March. (1904); Dainty Dames - A Novelette (1905); The Mascot (March) (1905); My Lady Laughter (1905); Love Is King (1906); Could You Read My Heart (1906); A Night, A Girl, A Moon (1907) Curly March and Two Step (1907); Orchids, Novelette Three Step. (1907); Hip Hip Hooray (1907); The Last Kiss (1907); I Wonder If It's You. (1907); Boogie Man, A Creep Mouse Fun (1907); So Near and Yet so Far (1907); Gravel Rag (1908); In Memory of You (1908); It Makes A Lot of Difference When You Are With The Girl You Love. (1909); Poker Rag (1909); The Wish Bone Rag and Two-Step (1909); Yankee Kid (1909); Honey Bug Song (1910); Bridal Veil Waltzes (1910); You're a Classy Lassie (1910); Love Ain't Likin', Likin' Ain't Love (1910); Meet Me Half Way (1910); Miss Coquette (1910); Love's Dream of You (1910); Roses Remind Me of You (1910); The Road to Loveland (1911); I Don't Need the Moonlight to Make Love to You (1911); That Tired Rag (1911); The Harbor of Love (1911); Queen of the Roses (1913); Land of Beautiful Dreams (1913); Rose of the World (1915); Honey When It's Money (1919).



Listen to and see this wonderful waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

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(There are no Lyrics for this work)


Waltzing With The Girl You Love

1905



Words and Music by: George Evans and Ren Shields
Cover artist: Starmer

 

In July and August of this year (2005) we featured songs about summertime and among the songs featured was In The Good Old Summertime, perhaps the defining "summertime" song of all time. That pair wrote many other songs including this one; a "waltz song." One offshoot of the infatuation with the waltz in the early 20th century was the waltz song. Many songwriters hopped on the wagon and wrote many very nice songs based on the waltz. Not that there were not songs in 3/4 time well before this but the waltz craze caused the publishers to either bill songs as "waltz songs" or published many songs based on the waltz theme. This work is such an example and the only "song" and one of only two works with lyrics in this month's feature.

 

As with "formal" waltzes, waltz songs have an introduction of sorts and in this case, two waltzes, one the verse and the second is the chorus. Of course, though the construct may be similar, it is much more aligned with the strophic format of most popular songs, and of course was written with lyrics in mind. Musically, this song is a little less complicated than some of the waltzes that we're looking at this month. Including this song in this month's feature allows you to see the differences between a popular song and a more classic musical works such as the waltz. It also is meant to point out that 3/4 time is more than just a waltz although it's sometimes very to think otherwise, especially when songs of this type were intentionally called "waltz songs."

 

The songwriters for this song were somewhat less prolific than some of Tin Pan Alley's more famous writers but nonetheless, they managed to produce some huge hits including In The Good Old Summertime (Scorch format).

George Evans (b. 1870, Wales - d. 1915, Baltimore) Evans' family brought him to the US at age seven. He became a performer before he was a composer. Known as a blackface minstrel, he starred in Lew Docstader's Minstrels at one point in his career. According to histories, Evans was well known for his comedic routines which he also performed on vaudeville. In 1894 Evans wrote the song I'll Be True To My Honey Boy which became quite popular and resulted in him gaining the permanent nickname of Honey Boy. Some of his compositions are still well remembered and have become classic "gay 90's style songs. Almost all of his songs were in collaboration with Ren Shields. Among them are In The Good Old Summertime (1902), In The Merry Month of May (1903), Come Take a Trip In My Air-Ship (1904), You'll Have to Wait Till My Ship Comes In (1906) and of course, Waltzing With The Girl You Love (1905).

 

Ren Shields (b. 1868, Chicago, IL - d. 1913, Massapequa, NY) Shields started his career as have many songwriters as a youth in minstrel shows and vaudeville. He sang as a part of the Empire State Quartet in vaudeville from 1890 - 1894 and also performed with Max Million beginning in 1894. Somewhere along the way, Shields met George Evans, composer and fellow vaudevillian and the two collaborated on a number of songs many of which are still remembered more than a century later. Among his hit lyrics are; In The Good Old Summertime (1902) (Scorch format), In The Merry Month of May (1903), Come Take a Trip In My Airship (1904), Steamboat Bill (1910, and Waltzing With The One You Love (1905).

 

 

Hear this waltz song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics




A Southern Dream

1905



Music by: Harry J. Lincoln
Cover artist: Dittmar


The same year that Evans & Shields wrote their waltz, Harry J. Lincoln penned this very interesting characteristic waltz. Lincoln, best known for some of his rousing marches, sets a completely different tone with this work. The cover art is an exceptionally nice image of a Southern Belle dreaming of a gallant beau who is shown as a ghostly image holding the damsel's hand. Lincoln also published under the name of Abe Losch and also as a Vandersloot. He was the writer of a number of works we have featured over the years, his most famous work may arguably be The Midnight Fire Alarm (Scorch format), written by Lincoln in 1900 and republished by E.T. Paull in 1908.

 

In this case though we see a different aspect of Lincoln's composing skills and one that I found very elegant. The introduction to this piece sets the "southern" tone of the work with a wonderful interpretation of Massa's In The Cold, Cold Ground by Stephen Foster. It's more likely that many people will recognize the introduction as What A Friend We Have In Jesus. I believe that beautiful and serene opening sets the scene for a "southern dream." The waltzes after the introduction are quite genteel in their melody and feel. Lincoln gives us three distinct waltzes and then a grand coda that reiterates the principal waltz melody. Playing time is almost six minutes so Lincoln has given us a full measure of music. This is a work that deserves hearing much more often than once every one hundred years.

 

Enjoy this great Lincoln waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

(There are no Lyrics for this work)



Red Roses

1908



Music by: Franz Lehar
Cover artist: unknown

 

Though American composers had provided plenty of waltz music to sate the hunger for waltzes during the first decade of the 20th century, works by favorite composers of Europe still were well known and desired. One of the greatest composers of light opera was Franz Lehar (1870 - 1948). Most famous for his operetta, The Merry Widow (1905), Lehar's success with that work made just about any work by him one that would gain interest. In 1908, Lehar produced the operetta, Der Mann mit den drei Frauen (The Man With Three Wives). The story involves a Viennese traveling salesman who loves his wife as much as his home acquires "wives" in London as well as in Paris. When the three "wives" discover his scheme they get together to teach him a lesson. The story ends with the penitent sinner returning to his Viennese wife.

 

Lehar has taken a number of themes from that operetta and compiled a new work titled Red Roses (Rote Rosen). On the cover of the piece, the text announces "Valse on melodies from the operetta." This one is quite lengthy, just seven seconds short of eight minutes so pull up an easy chair and sit back to enjoy some fantastic music in the tradition of the Viennese "Straussian" style. Lehar gives us a full measure of four waltzes plus the introduction and coda in this set. They are outstanding and listening to them one can understand the worldwide appeal of Lehar's music.

 

Franz Lehár (30 April 1870 - 24 October 1948) was an Austro-Hungarian composer, mainly known for his operettas. Lehár was born in Komárom (Hungary) as the eldest son of a bandmaster in the Austro-Hungarian army. He studied violin and composition but was told by Antonin Dvorak that he had better give up playing and focus on writing music. After 1899 he lived in Vienna. He was also wrote a number of waltzes, the most popular being Gold und Silber as well as waltzes drawn from some of his famous operettas. The era in which his music thrived came to be known as the Silver Age.

Among his more famous operettas are; The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe) (1905), The Count of Luxembourg (Der Graf von Luxemburg) (1909), Frederica (1928) and Land of Smiles (DAs Land des Lächelns) (1929). Individual songs from some of these have become standards, notably Viljafrom The Merry Widow and You Are My Heart's Delight ("Dein ist mein ganzes Herz") from The Land of Smiles. (From Wikipedia, available under the terms of the GNU Free)

 

Listen to this great operetta inspired piece ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

(There are no Lyrics for this work)



Geraldine

1915



Words and Music by: Henry Lodge
Cover artist: Starmer

 

By 1915, the waltz craze reached its peak in America and would fade out till the 1920's when more active and "modern" dances and music such as the Charleston and fox-trot came into favor. Still in full force though, waltz music abounded and we have many examples from 1915 alone. One style of waltz that was popular at this time was a slight variation called a hesitation waltz. The "Valse Hesitation" was actually begun in the 1880's and became very popular in the US. According to the excellent dance history site Streetswing.com:

"The "Hesitation" is a halt on one foot (with the other foot suspended in the air) during the whole "1-2-3" of the beat of the music, or during the "2-3" only of every alternate "1-2-3." The ways of performing the "hesitation" are many and varied, and no way can be said to be more orthodox or correct than any other. It's popularity soared into the 1910s with the exhibition dance teams of the time and rag-dancing." (From Streetswing.com)

 

In this work, we can get a sense for the slight differences in the "true" waltz and the hesitation. What? You say you've listened and it sounds like a regular waltz to you? Well, it is and it isn't. It isn't in that the hesitation was simply a different way of dancing to a waltz, therefore could in theory be danced to any waltz music out there. Perhaps the one subtle thing that would qualify this piece to be a hesitation waltz is the use of dotted notes in the first waltz on the second beats that could call for the "hesitation" called for in the above description. The grandioso repeat of the first theme uses emphasis on the second beat to accommodate the hesitation step. Otherwise, this piece is a waltz as those we've already seen. It begins with an upbeat introduction and takes us through three waltzes with very enjoyable melodies. The third waltz was very nice, a bit reminiscent of some of the Strauss waltzes. The piece ends with a coda that leads to a Presto finale.

 

Listen to this 1915 "hesitation" ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

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(There are no Lyrics for this work)



Cassandra

1915



Music by: Charles L. Johnson
Cover artist: unknown

 

Yet another 1915 entry into the American composed waltz scene was this fabulous work by one of America's most talented early black composers (see biography below). When I first saw the cover on this one I have to admit I was not sure if the subject was an oddly dressed man or a very tough, hardworking woman. I decided a woman given the title but still can't be sure. It appears the artist decided to create an androgynous subject long before Saturday Night Live thought up the concept with their unisex "Pat" played by Julia Sweeney. However, I must admit that it is a very artistic cover. As with many things in life, the cover is not necessarily representative of the music.

 

Johnson has given us a jewel of a waltz that has some unique passages and shows a great deal of creativity. A brief introduction leads us into the first waltz which clearly shows his ragtime influence. With grace notes and triplets, in some respects the first section does sound very much like a ragtime piece yet retains the waltz character. The second section of the first waltz is a complete departure from the first and somewhat dissonant and un-waltz like. The second waltz is much more conventional in its melodies and harmonies, especially in the second section. After the two waltzes we return to the first "raggy" theme for the finale. It's an excellent work and shows the wide range of talent Johnson possessed as a composer.

 

Charles Leslie Johnson was born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 3, 1876. He started taking piano lessons at age six and at sixteen was studying composition and music theory. Incredibly talented, he taught himself to play the violin, banjo, guitar and mandolin. He not only was a composer and performer but also an important patron of the arts in organizing a number of string orchestras. Like many great composers of the times, he was a song plugger early in his career, playing for J.W. Jenkins Sons' Music Company. His first published rag was Scandalous Thompson, published by Jenkins in 1899. Later, Johnson was associated with Central Music Publishing and then Carl Hoffman Music Company. While working at Hoffman in 1906, Johnson was working on a new rag when the bookkeeper walked in and asked him what the name of the new work was. Johnson had not named the song yet but noticed the man carrying a carton of dill pickles. Johnson supposedly replied, "I'll call it 'Dill Pickles Rag.' " After the success of Dill Pickles (Sibelius scorch format), Johnson started his own publishing firm which was purchased by Will Rossiter in 1910 with the stipulation that Johnson not re-enter publishing for at least one year.

Johnson became one of the most prolific composers of the period and expanded his compositions to cover all types of music other than rags. He was published by all of the major firms and was so productive he even resorted to using pseudonyms to make it look like he had a staff of composers working for him. In all, Johnson wrote thirty two rags including Porcupine Rag in 1909 and Blue Goose Rag in 1913. His biggest money making song was Sweet and Low in 1919. Considered a clever and creative composer, Johnson's high sense of humor was often reflected in his works, as it is in Dill Pickles. Always a homebody, Johnson stayed in his hometown of KC for his entire life and died there on December 28, 1950.

 

Listen to this great Johnson waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

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(There are no Lyrics for this work)



Valse Annette

1915



Music by: Lionel Baxter
Cover artist: W. Clay

 

By comparison to the "Pat" cover, the cover on this musical gem is a terrific example of the Art Nouveau style which was a strong influence of these times. In some respects, it has elements off the Art Deco style which was beginning to emerge at this time. I'll leave the debate as to style to the artists among us (not me!) and simply state that I think it is an elegant and beautiful cover.

 

Little seems to be available about the composer of this work, Lionel Baxter. We do have knowledge of a very few other works by him around this same time period. It seems that he wrote at least three waltzes using women's names in the title. The cover states he is "Composer of the international successes; Valse June & Valse Elaine. In addition we know of one other work; Captain Betty (1914),. Valse June was published in 1914. Valse Annette begins with a delicate introduction in common time. The theme reminds me of tripping through a field of daisies; its a gay and carefree introduction. The first waltz begins with triplets leading to a very contrasting theme to the introduction. It's a bit more ponderous but the continuous use of triplets between phrases ties us to the lilting introduction. The waltz moves to a second theme that is a somewhat heavy marcato theme with liberal use of octaves. With a reprise of the first theme we then move into a "TRIO" which is an unusual construct in waltzes but does appear more than rarely. The trio is but another waltz but very different than what has gone before. The first and second themes are much more romantic and light. After that, we reach the coda and finale. I enjoyed this one very much, it is a rarity.

 

Listen to this wonderful waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

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(There are no Lyrics for this work)



Loyalty Waltz

1918



Music by: H. B. Blanke
Cover artist: unknown

 

By 1918, America had entered the war and we had troops in France fighting for our allies against the Kaiser and his army. During this period, America's music was almost entirely focused on war tunes or war related issues and even works without lyrics were named or contained images related to the war. In this case, we have a waltz that is simply named and carries an image of Joan of Arc carrying the flag of France. It is a very nice work, printed in a paper saver format, all scrunched onto two pages and as a result is certainly much shorter than most of the works we've listened to this month. Through the use of repeats and DS to Coda, the composer makes the work as long as possible but the limit of two pages (most of the others are seven or eight) still gives us a work that is at 4:37, about half the length of the others.

 

The waltz begins with an introduction as all have but in this case it is nothing more than a short exposition of the first theme which is a flowing and simple melody. It comes across somewhat regal or grand. The second waltz has a bit of a gypsy flair to it to my ear. The third waltz id a marcato (military imagery?) waltz that repeats and then we go DS for a large part of the work to a short and very slow coda.

 

I've found little about H. B. Blanke other than a few miscellaneous other titles including Cubanola (1913), Franceska Waltzes (1902), Lazarre Waltzes (1901), My Lady of the North Waltzes (1904), Peggy O'Neil Waltzes (1903), Under The Rose Waltzes (1903) and one song, When the Mocking Birds are Singing in the Wildwood with lyricist Arthur J. Lamb in 1906. One of our alert readers has contacted us and noted that Blanke is most likely Henriette Blanke-Belcher who also wrote the waltz Marsovia in 1908.

 

Listen to this "wartime" waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

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(There are no Lyrics for this work)



Dreaming In The Moonlight

1919



Music by: Franklyn Manning
Cover artist: unknown

 

By 1919, the waltz had about run its course as a mainstream popular dance in America. Though it would always be a mainstay of ballroom dancing and was used to torture young boys in dance lessons (me), it is now reserved for formal affairs and ballroom activity, mostly I suppose by us geezers as I don't think I've seen many youngsters, teenagers or yuppies doing anything other than a macabre disjointed dance floor activity that looks as though they are in excruciating pain. The Jazz age was upon us and most composers would now turn their attention to all the new and more modern forms of dance and few waltzes would appear in popular music except as a foundation for song.

 

A very short introduction consisting of a run of notes takes us to waltz 1. Throughout this piece, Manning makes substantial use of the pedal which at times can make a work a little "muddy." The first waltz is a pleasant one, rather unremarkable though but it morphs into a melodic line that makes use of dotted rhythms on the second beat that hearken back to the hesitation waltz. The second waltz is in my mind much more interesting. It is upbeat with a much more enjoyable melody and contains a delightful little trio. The coda is short and sweet. And thus ends our look at the waltz in America's music. We hope you enjoyed the music and for those of you who play the piano, we hope you enjoy this month's free printable scores. (Must use the Scorch plug-in, free from Sibelius Music.

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Listen to this 1919 waltz ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

(There are no Lyrics for this work)


This article published September, 2005 and is Copyright © 2005 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or an officer of the corporation. Though the songs published on this site are often in the Public Domain, MIDI renditions are protected by copyright as recorded performances.

Thanks for visiting us and be sure to come back again next month to see our new feature or to read some or all of our over 120 articles about America's music. See our resources page for a complete bibliography of our own library resources used to research this and other articles in our series.

 

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