© 2012 by Sunny Knable.  Photo by Misha Kaufman

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North American Ballades (1979-1980) by Frederic Rzewski 

 

 
 
 
Musical characteristics:
Four movements:
 
1) Dreadful Memories
2) Which Side Are You On?
3) Down By the Riverside
4) Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues 
 
-Written for Ursula Oppens
-Based on tunes that can be distorted and transformed without destroying, like 'tonal cement'
-Nearly everything is derived from basic tune, melody cut into smaller pieces, stretched, compacted, etc.
-Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues depicts the mechanical sounds of the factory surrounding the folk song
 
Political Inspiration:
-"These ballads are the things I believe in."
-"Dreadful Memories" is a song from the 1932 coal miner's strike
-"Which Side Are You On"  is from the same period, still sung
-"Down By the Riverside" is a song  that is a symbol of the peace movement during Vietnam war
-"Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues" is an industrial blues from North Carolina, depicting non-union workers
     inspired in part by 1979 film starring Sally Field called "Norma Rae"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pete Seeger's "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues"                            Emanuele Arciuli performing "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues" 
                                                                                                               2007, Miami Piano Festival