Music of Edward Collins, Vol. 6

Jeni Bern (soprano), Peter Auty (tenor), Henry Waddington (bass), Jane Irwin (mezzo-soprano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Marin Alsop (conductor)

Catalog #: TROY0650
Release Date: April 1, 2004
Format: Digital

The motivation to compose a choral work on a grand scale seems to have arisen from a commission from New York's Society of the Friends of Music to Edward Collins. There is, however, no record of a performance by the Society. A microfilm copy of the score was found in the late 1980s by composer and choral conductor William Ferris. He conducted what may have been the first performance on June 2, 1989 in Chicago. The Society's commission likely prompted action by Collins on an idea that may have been percolating for some time, something that could encompass his feelings about nature and life. Inspiration was found in the Wisconsin countryside each summer at the cottage of his wife's family on Cedar Lake, or on the Door County Peninsula. By the time Collins addressed himself to his Hymn, choral works were no longer quite as fashionable as they had been in the 19th century. The score achieves a distinct grandeur, while Collins's own text reflects his familiarity with great writing: it is, if somewhat elevated and archaic in tone, literate and eloquent. Though the source scores are not clearly dated, the composer's journals indicate that the composition of Variations on an Irish Folksong was probably completed after the 1927 Irish Rhapsody and the 1929 Hibernia(Irish Rhapsody). These Variations are based primarily on "Oh! The Taters they are small over here!" the "potato famine" folksong that also is used by the composer, sparingly, in Hibernia. The earliest version of Cowboy's Breakdown for piano solo, is found in a music notebook. Collins initialed and dated the score December 10, 1935, near the title; above the final measure he wrote the date January 10, 1936. It is interesting to note that Aaron Copland's "cowboy" ballets, came after Collins's concise, though equally energetic, Cowboy Breakdown, published in 1938.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Hymn to the Earth Edward Collins Jeni Bern, soprano, Jane Irwin, mezzo soprano, Peter auty, tenor, Henry Waddington, bass, Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Chorus, Marin Alsop conductor
Variations on an Irish Folksong Edward Collins Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor
Cowboy's Breakdown Edward Collins Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor


  • "I certainly consider [Collins] an important re-discovery and well worth your money and attention. ...That he has a champion of Alsop's stature is a more important endorsement than mine."

    – American Record Guide

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