Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer By Harold Vincent Milligan

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was "Written and composed for and respectfully dedi­cated to Miss Mary H. Irwin." The original edition of the other song of this year, "Where Is Thy Spirit, Mary?" has been lost. A second edition was copyrighted in 1895 by F. G. Vandergrift and published by Geo. Mercer, Jr., of Pittsburgh, as "Inscribed to the memory of Mary Keller." Miss Keller was the young lady to whom he also dedicated the song, "There's a Good Time Coming," published in 1846. Musically speaking, "Where Is Thy Spirit, Mary?" is the most ambitious song that he had yet attempted. The verse-form is rather unusual, each verse beginning with an eight-bar phrase which is almost a recitative, before the commence­ment of the real melody. In both of these songs there is the first appearance in his music of the modulation to the relative minor of the original key. He seems to have been groping toward a larger harmonic vocabulary.
Another song of the same type was published by Peters in the following year (1848), "Stay, Summer Breath." It was "written and composed for and inscribed to Miss Sophie Marshall." Miss Marshall is described by Mor­rison Foster as "an old friend of the family. She pos­sessed a beautiful soprano voice, and sang with much sweetness and taste, and was a favorite with Stephen whilst he resided in Cincinnati."
There was also a "quickstep as performed by the military bands," entitled "Santa Anna's Retreat from Buena Vista," which was published for the piano as ar­ranged by the composer.
Two other letters of this period throw some light on Stephen Foster's sudden emergence into fame and his attitude toward his music. One is to his brother Mor­rison, written from Cincinnati April 27th, 1849:
Dear Mit,
You must be tired waiting for an answer to the many favors which I have received from you, not the least welcome of which was that introducing to my acquaintance Signor Biscaccianti and his accom­plished lady. I called on Madame Biscaccianti and was as much

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III