Edward Alexander MacDowell (December 18, 1860 – January 23, 1908) was an American composer and pianist of the late Romantic period. He was best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls. Woodland Sketches includes his most popular short piece, "To a Wild Rose". In 1904 he was one of the first seven Americans honored by membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He was born in New York City and studied at the Paris Conservatory and Dr. Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfurt. Liszt was an admirer . He was appointed professor at Columbia University in NYC, where his task was to "create a music department." He was often stressed with his work at Columbia, ahd resigned abruptly.
In 1904 he was one of the first seven Americans honored by membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He was subject to depression, which increased severely, and his final illness began when he was run over by a hansom cab in NYC in 1904. Of his final years, Lawrence Gilman, a contemporary, described: "His mind became as that of a little child..."
As it will soon to be time to bring my "Summertime Series" to a close, I wanted to "end" with some of MacDowell's miniature masterpieces.
"Starlight" is part of the "Sea Pieces," first published in 1898.
The fine transcription was done by Frederick N. Shackley (1868-1937), a well-known American organist.
Colors shimmering and dance in the dark sky above the rolling ship. So class they seem near enough to grasp, but are always, always out of reach...
There are two volumes of these transcriptions, both published by Arthur P. Schmidt, Boston. I've already done some of these works, and will complete the set tomorrow.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Edward MacDowell, his signature, his memorial plaque, and one photo of Frederick N. Shackley.
The motto given by MacDowell on the first page is given in the First Comment.