Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer

Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer

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Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer

Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The record of scientific and material progress in America has been fairly well established, but in the fine arts we are just beginning to find ourselves, and it is important that the story of our beginnings along these lines should be gathered together and preserved.

Stephen Foster occupies a unique position in the history of music, not only of this country, but of the world.No other single individual produced so many of those songs which are called "folk-songs," by which is meant songs that so perfectly express the mood and spirit of the people that they become a part of the life of all the "folk" and speak as the voice, not of an individual, but of all.So completely do the "folk" absorb these songs and adapt them to their own uses, that the individuality and frequently even the name of the originator is completely lost, thus giving rise to the erroneous idea that a "folk-song" is a song created not by an individual but by a community.It is obvious that all things must have a beginning, however obscure, and every folk-song is first born in the heart and brain of some one person, whose spirit is so finely attuned to the voice of that inward struggle which is the history of the soul of man, that when he seeks for his own self‐ expression, he at the same time gives a voice to that vast "mute multitude who die and give no sign." Such a one was Stephen Foster, more fortunate in his fate than that glorious company of nameless poet-souls, whose aspiration after "the fair face of Beauty, haunting all the world," is preserved in the folk-songs of the world. Surely his name is worthy of at least one volume upon the shelf of history!

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