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Program Notes

The Mills of New England


William D. Pardus, composer

New Hampshire composer William D. Pardus composed The Mills of New England in 2002. This four-movement work paints a musical picture of the many mills and mill towns of New England, and the workers of the mills. The boldness of the enormous mills—most of brick with thousands of windows to provide light for the workers—is captured in the opening movement, "Of Bricks, Windows, and Workers." Included in this section are excerpts from the 19th century labor song, Hard Times at the Mill. "Rows of Gray Houses" depicts the multi-family tenements, generally painted a dull gray and arranged in many rows. In the third movement, "The Strike," the rumbling of the workers’ unrest is heard in the opening portion followed by the call "We Must Strike." The atmosphere becomes very chaotic, violent, and dissonant. The final movement, "At the Clubs of the Immigrants," incorporates excerpts of several folk song melodies from Quebec, Portugal, Eastern Europe, and Ireland.

—published score


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