This work was commissioned by Tatsunokuchi Junior High School in 1998 for ensemble contest. Since parts are not so difficult and melodies are distributed equally, this arrangement will help improve individual ability while teaching ensemble style.
More than a simple medley, this is a rhapsody utilizing Foster’s melodic motives. They include “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Massa’s in de cold ground”, “Camptown Races”, “Oh Susannah” and “Jeannie with Light Brown Hair”. At times melodies overlap; it should be interesting to determine which melody is played by whom.
Perform the 2nd-4th measures of A clearly to define the melodic line. The melody in the 2nd and 3rd parts should balance equally with the counter line in the 1st. At B have the melody more prominent as you feel the total harmony. The slurs at C should have clear attacks, whereas E is legato-that expression begins in the measure before E. H mixes fragments of various melodies; treat it as a climax to what began at C and do not emphasize those melodies as much as keeping them in balance. The 2nd to 4th measures of H should be performed with conviction and not lose momentum from romanticizing the phrases. The tempo of I does not need to be slower; express “Grandioso” through resonance. In the first 4 bars of J, 2nd and 3rd parts have the main melody. At K, a full chorus of “Jeannie with Light Brown Hair” begins, but it is written in the style of Grainger’s “Irish Tune from County Derry” so please concentrate on harmonic progression more than melody.
If this arrangement must be shortened, it would be best to take the Optional Coda from J, leaving the structural climax of the piece intact instead of omitting parts at J, K or L.