Those Were the Days

Four Nostalgic Songs

Samuel Adler

Text: Texts by Donald Justice
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

When I was asked to orchestrate these songs to be premiered by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, I added another song to round out the cycle and strengthen it. The author of the poems, Donald Justice, was himself a musician, having studied piano and composition. I fell in love with his poetry and feel that these poems say a great deal about ?the old days? and studying music as children. In the first song I suggest a popular song of yesteryear on the words ?the dead don't get around much anymore?. There are no other quotes until we get to the final poem, ?Mrs. Snow?. Here, I try to create an atmosphere of nostalgia and traditional music teaching by quoting from ?the great composers?, especially Beethoven and Schubert, whose busts I imagine were on Mrs. Snow?s piano for sure. Also, the ?innocent waltz? is a tune which any young music student would write under the circumstances. In the second poem, the idea of a young composer trying to compete with the already established world of composition is recalled and I, as a composition teacher, so often have had some of these thoughts when listening to compositions by my students and composers like them. The music in this song is more dense and troubled to express the text and its implications; while it is relieved in the third poem which recalls a ?boring? Sunday afternoon indoors while the weather rages out of doors.

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1999, 2013
Orchestration Solo Voice; 2 2 3(B.Cl.) 2 - 2 2 0 0; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
Premiere First performed by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann conducting, September 7th, 2013. Sarah Colburn, soprano soloist.


I. Nostalgia and Complaint of the Grandparents
II. At the Young Composers' Concert
III. Time and the Weather
IV. Mrs. Snow

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