for flute and guitar(1985)
I. Barbara Allen
|Commission||Commissioned by Paula Robison and Eliot Fisk|
|Premiere||April 20, 1985; New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA) · Paula Robison, flute; Eliot Fisk, guitar|
Mountain Songs is a cycle of eight songs based largely on American folk music. Most of the tunes, as reflected by their titles, are lyric ballads from the southern mountains of Appalachia with the exception of Cindy, a minstrel fiddle song, and Hush You Bye, a popular lullaby from the Deep South. Quicksilver, which ends the cycle, is a wholly original song written in collaboration with the American poet Daniel Mark Epstein.
While the cycle is based on folk material, each song is original and through-composed. The new melodies, dialogues, harmonies, and architecture sprung, sui generis, from the traditional strophic tunes. Guitarists especially should note that although an improvisational spirit pervades the cycle and the use of expressive rubato is encouraged, it is enormously important to pay close attention to all the details of this edited version before introducing one’s own liberties.
I recommend that the cycle be performed in its entirety. If for reasons of timing and/or difficult it becomes necessary to abridge the work, I would suggest that the following combinations be used:
I, II, III, V
I, II, III, VIII
I, II, IV, V
I, II, IV, VIII
I, II, V, VII
I, II, VII, V
I, II, III, IV, V
I, II, III, V, VI, VIII
I, II, IV, V, VII, VIII
If any one of these groups is programmed I ask that the individual titles be listed on the program, followed by the remark “from Mountain Songs”.
– Robert Beaser, 2014