The National Music of America - online book

The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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268 The National Music of America.
the young composer; he was unfortunate in business, and this sent him still deeper into dis­sipation. In i860 we find him separated from his family, because of his uncontrollable habits, and keeping a little grocery in New York. Pecuniary difficulties caused him to sell his most popular songs for the merest pittance.
His masterpiece must be considered ' The Old Folks at Home " (" Way down upon de Suwannee Ribber"), of which about half a million copies were sold. A more tender lyric of home and its memories has never been writ­ten. We pity the musician who finds it " too simple" because it does not stray far from tonic, dominant, and subdominant harmonies ; richer musical treatment would, in almost every case, spoil Foster's heart-songs. He died in New York, Jan. 13, 1864, the result of a fall and of gashing himself against a pitcher.
One can only draw the veil of pity over the miserable ending of so sweet a nature; he was, like Burns, a man who sang the purest
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III