Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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V
AMBITION
Stephen Foster was now well launched on his career as a song-writer. At twenty-three, success had come to him suddenly, unexpectedly and to an amazing degree. His "strange talent for musick" had set a nation singing, and his melodies were soon to travel overseas into every corner of the world. He had discovered within himself a vein of pure gold and he set himself to develop the riches of this unsuspected and miraculous gift of God. He left his brother's office in Cincinnati and returned to Pittsburgh intending to devote himself to study and composition. His prospects were of the brightest. His first attempts at composition had struck the chord of popular favor and, in discovering him, the public had helped him discover himself. / He had not had to learn his art by struggle and self-denial, nor to adapt his wares to his market by patience and labor. He voiced instinctively and spontaneously the heart of the people and the spirit of the times.;
He returned to his father's home in Alleghany City and fitted up a back-room at the top of the house as a "study." His experience in Cincinnati had taught him that he had no taste or aptitude for a business life, and he never attempted it again.
His brother Morrison says that he now "devoted him­self to the study of music as a science." Just how much "studying" he did is doubtful. Unfortunately, there is no evidence in his music itself to indicate that he "studied deeply and burned much midnight oil over the works of the masters, especially Mozart, Beethoven and Weber," nor that "he struggled for years and sounded the depths of musical science." That he was acquainted with the music of these masters is no doubt true, but the state­ment that he studied them carefully or derived much
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III