The Hendersonville Symphony Wind Quintet

The Hendersonville Symphony Wind Quintet

The Hendersonville Symphony begins its celebration of Simone, Sandburg, and the American Symphony with “The American Songbag.” Carl Sandburg’s 1927 anthology The American Songbag was a massively influential song collection that heralded the rise of the widespread appreciation of American folksong. The HSO’s principal wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn) will be performing folksong-inspired works by Dvorak, Still, Simone, and even Dylan in this lively program.

One of the earliest composers to explore the question of a “serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States” was ironically the Czech composer Anton Dvorak. Living and travelling in the US in the early 1890’s, Dvorak composed his “American” Quartet in F major, which was inspired by the culture, spirituals, and even the trains and songbirds of America. The original version for strings has been reworked brilliantly for woodwind quintet by Georges Barrere.

The concert will also feature “Miniatures” by William Grant Still (b. 1895), often called the “dean of Afro-American composers.” The piece includes a number of songs and spirituals from Songbag and other sources, but Still’s masterful treatments move beyond the source material, standing as gems of the repertoire on their own.

Also on the program is Bob Dylan’s “Times they are a Changin.” Dylan visited Sandburg in Flat Rock and presented Sandburg a copy of the song. Tryon native Nina Simone recorded Dylan’s song, and her own “New World Coming” rounds out the concert.