Though published only posthumously, Greeting to America
, Op 56, was composed for Vieuxtemps’s American tour of 1843–4. As the title suggests, the piece is in the manner of a salute from the Old World to the New: the orchestral introduction and the first violin solo are in fact based on an Italian air. A call to attention by the trumpets, however, leads to a fantasia on ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, after which the basses introduce, and the violin enthusiastically takes up, the lively march-tune of ‘Yankee Doodle’. Vieuxtemps had in fact dealt with this well-known tune before, in his Souvenir d’Amérique, Variations burlesques sur ‘Yankee Doodle’
, Op 17, but the bravura variations in the present work are not related to that earlier set. In an imposing coda, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘Yankee Doodle’ are triumphantly combined.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2012