I adore Bach, Mozart, the Beethoven String Quartets, Messiaen, the Stravinsky ballets, plus a host of others, old and new. Such a wealth of Western music! But I didn't grow up in Germany, or Austria, or France, or Russia. I grew up in America, and except for a 5 year sojourn in Alaska, in the American South. This is one of the several pieces I wrote back in 2000 celebrating my own heritage. You may or may not have heard the song "Shortnin' Bread", but hopefully you'll relate to it!
The pianist is the late Greg McCallum. In 2003, he and I were invited to the Hoddesdon Music Festival in the UK, where he played the European premiere of this piece and its companion pieces. A wonderful old man, who must have been at least 90 years old, came up to me after the performance and said "You don't look old enough to have written Shortnin' Bread!" I tried to explain that I didn't write the original song, just the piece based on the original song, but he wasn't having any of it. "My mama used to sing Shortnin' Bread!" he told everyone in sight. "This American is much older than she looks!"
I had almost as much fun writing this piece as I did in Hoddesdon! The retrograde section worked out so well that I used sections of it elsewhere. I'd love to hear what you all think!
By the way, the score was written with a very old version of Finale, so there are some things that need updating. I'm aware of those formatting needs.