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Sketches of the City

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (07/22/18)
Composer: Nevin, Gordon Balch
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Early 20th-century
Gordon Balch Nevin (19 May 1892 – 15 November 1943) was an American composer and organist. A member of the Nevin musical family of Edgeworth, PA., his cousins were the composers Ethelbert and Arthur Nevin, and he was the son of composer and businessman George Balch Nevin. The Balch Family is one of the Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania.

Nevin occupied the organist's bench at churches in Easton, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; and Johnstown, Pennsylvania; and he was organist of First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, from 1918. Most of his compositions were for organ; he did, however, write a few secular songs, and among his published works are versions of several Stephen Foster songs. He was also a writer, publishing books on organ technique. He died in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania in 1943.

"Sketches of the City" was published by Clayton F. Summy Co. in 1917. It is dedicated "To Hugo Goodwin."

The work depicts, in the language of its day, "portraits" of scenarios and individuals that appear in the "big city."

The opening "The City from afar off" shows us the massive buildings as we approach from a distance. "On the Avenue" is bright and bustling, using all the Flutes at 16' 8' 4' & 2'. "The Grandmother" is a pleasant, easy rocker, and "The Urchin Whistling in the Streets" is a cute, unusual melody! "The Blind Man" is expressive and full of pathos, almost like an organ playing for a sad-scene in a silent movie. It features "thumbing down" throughout most of the piece. "Busy Mills" is a crashing, thunderous picture of the thriving, heavy industry of the day. The "dark spots" are there, but the triumph of American industrial might and power win the day in the end. "Evening" is highly chromatic, with more than a few touches of "impressionism," and the musical "garb" of the day.

PERFORMANCE TIMINGS and NOTES are given in the First Comment.

A photo of Nevin, and 2 of First Presbyterian Church, Greensburg Pa. are attached.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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