Stephen Flaherty's American River Suite Featured at Macy's Fourth of July Celebration
Jul. 08, 2009
Stephen Flaherty's American River Suite saw a celebratory performance by Steven Reineke and the New York Pops as the musical centerpiece for the largest Independence Day display in the United States, the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks celebration. Dedicated to the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's historic voyage and exploration of New York Harbor and the Hudson River and featuring lyrics by William Schermerhorn, the work premiered this past April at the New York Pops 26th birthday gala featuring Idina Menzel and Tony-winner Anika Noni Rose. The performance at the Macy's celebration featured Tony-winner Audra McDonald as well as Idina Menzel and singers from the Choir Academy of Harlem.
American composer and Tony-winner Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island, The Glorious Ones) comments on the occasion:
American River Suite, which is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's historic voyage, is a musical tone poem for soloists, choir and orchestra composed in five sections that captures the many moods of the river and its history.
The piece takes the listener on a musical journey, beginning with the song "Half Moon," which announces Hudson's arrival through the mist, to the bold vistas of "Majestic Valley"; from the fiery fiddle‐playing of "Sparks and Smoke," which celebrates The Clermont, the first steamboat to sail the Hudson River, to the infectious "River at Play." The Suite ends in the present day with "American River," a song which celebrates the spirit and vitality of this river we love.
I truly enjoyed writing the music for this piece and collaborating with lyricist William Schermerhorn and David Hamilton, who provided the thrilling orchestrations.
The performance, as well as the entire Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks celebration, was telecast live on NBC television and on 1010 WINS radio from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York Harbor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for perusal or rental inquiries on American River Suite.
Learn more on Stephen Flaherty at the official website of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahren, his long-time songwriting collaborator, at www.ahrensandflaherty.com.
American River Suite (2009)
for voices, chorus and orchestra
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lyrics by William Schermerhorn
orchestration by David Hamilton