Arthur William Foote (5 March 1853 in Salem, Massachusetts – 8 April 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts) was a member of the "Boston Six." The other five were George Whitefield Chadwick, Amy Beach, Edward MacDowell, John Knowles Paine, and Horatio Parker. The modern tendency is to view Foote’s music as “Romantic” and “European” in light of the later generation of American composers. A Harvard graduate and the first noted American classical composer to be trained entirely in the U.S., in some sense he is to music what American poets were to literature before Walt Whitman. He was an early advocate of Brahms and Wagner and promoted performances of their music. Foote was an active music teacher and wrote a number of pedagogical works.
The Grove Music Encyclopedia says: “In his finest works Foote was a memorable composer. His style, firmly placed in the Romantic tradition, is characterized by lyrical melodies, expressive phrasing, and clear formal structure."
The "Cantilena in G", is probably Foote's most "well-known" organ work, as it appears from time to time on recordings and recital programs. Dedicated to Charles Heinroth, it is the first of the "Seven Pieces", composed in 1910. To me, this work immediately calls to mind Bach's "Air on the G-String".
I found this to work beautifully on the sweet sounding stops and floating acoustic of Utrecht.
It was written that Foote detested anything "sentimental", but I'm afraid that I just couldn't help myself with this performance. If I were teaching this, I would tell the student to "embrace the sentimental and make it work FOR the music," rather than by trying to avoid it.
I think Foote was a FINE composer, and have often said that I was going to do his entire organ works. Maybe THAT'S the project that I need to undertake to bring some focus into my life... ;-)