July 2, 2011

100 Year Old Patriotic Song Revived for 4th of July

This bit of fun with the public domain happened over on my other blog SundayMagazine, but I thought it was cool enough to share here.

I posted an article from 1911 about a new patriotic hymn written by the Music Director of New York City’s Parks and Recreation Department (does that job still exist?). The article included sheet music and lyrics for the song:

[Click here to download PDF]

The man who wrote it was Arthur Farwell, and he had pretty high aspirations for this song, considering it more of a global than national anthem:

“It is a world-hymn rather than a patriotic hymn in the old-fashioned sense.

“I have strictly avoided all the paraphernalia of phraseology of the old sort of narrow and egotistic patriotic hymn, and doubt very much if there will ever be another successful hymn of that kind written.

“The cry to-day is world federation, and the ‘Hymn to Liberty’ is addressed to the nations of the world, especially in its first and third stanzas, in behalf of the idea of liberty for the race, as springing to birth in a new sense with the creating fo the American nation.”

I’m not very musical myself, so I couldn’t imagine what the hymn sounded like. And I couldn’t find any recordings or references to it anywhere else online. It’s not even listed in Farwell’s page at the International Music Score Library Project. It seemed to have been long forgotten.

But my readers are more savvy than I am, and now we have two versions to listen to.

First, a reader named SamECircle used Noteflight to create a midi version of just the choral lines. That was pretty cool and gave an idea of the melody.

Then another reader named Daniel Dockery made an arrangement which he posted on his site. He wrote, “No choir on hand, I’ve reset the four voices in a direct, one-to-one setting for string quartet following the traditional arrangements, so the music is the same though the instruments differ; the piano line remains unchanged.”

Be sure to visit his site and give it a listen.


Haha! Awesome! That’s me! (SamECircle)