Obscure Music Monday: Cadman's 3 Moods; No. 2 - To a Vanishing Race
Charles Wakefield Cadman (Dec. 24, 1881 - Dec. 30, 1946) was an American composer, pianist, and music critic trained entirely in America.
Born in Johnstown Pennsylvania, Cadman began piano lessons at 13, and then traveled to nearby Pittsburgh to study harmony, theory, and orchestration with Luigi von Kunits and Emil Pauer, who were the concertmaster and conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at the time. He did not attend a conservatory of any sort; this was the sum of his musical education.
At age 18, he was working in a railroad office, but still writing music on the side. In 1908 he was appointed music editor and critic of the Pittsburgh Dispatch, and was greatly influenced by Native American Music. He had taken to studying it through the work of ethnomusicologists Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche. He would go on to publish several works on the subject, and became an expert in the genre. Many years later, he would move to Los Angeles, and became a sought after film composer. Cadman wrote for many other genres as well; he was a serious composer of chamber works in particular, and wrote several operas.
3 Moods; No. 2 - To a Vanishing Race was originally written for piano, but this second movement has been transcribed for string orchestra by the composer himself, and it's a very pleasing arrangement. To a Vanishing Race references the Native Americans that he had studied, and come to greatly admire. The melody, played predominantly by the violins, is wistful. There are some lovely and rich parts for the violas, and the lower strings as well. It's a short but utterly delightful work, and sadly, relatively unknown.
Unfortunately we can't find a recording for this---we hope that changes soon!