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Program Notes

Suite of Old American Dances

(1950)

Robert Russell Bennett, composer

Robert Russell Bennett composed the Suite of Old American Dances in 1950. This suite is an original composition for band in which the composer seeks to set the mood of a Saturday night barn dance with all the gaiety which festivity demands, recalling several of the characteristic dances remembered from childhood. The goal achieved is a genuine piece of music—not a novelty as one might expect from such a setting. Bennett has described the music as "native American dance forms ... treated in a 'riot' of instrumental colors," and the composition is distinguished by superb effectiveness of instrumental writing and facile flow of musical ideas. The dances include: Cake Walk, Schottische, Western One-Step, Wallflower Waltz, and Rag.

—Acton Osterling, Jr., University of Louisville

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