Movement 1: Praeludium – Andante maestoso
Movement 2: Fugato
Movement 3: Rhapsodie
Movement 4: Scherzino
Movement 5: Marsch
movement 6: Phantasie – Tanz
By a power to thee unknown
Thou canst never be alone;
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud
Thou art gather’d in a cloud
And forever shalt thou dwell
In the spirit of this spell.
There is little in these six movements that reveals an unmistakable and individual voice—the music is too run-through with references to the masters whose music MacDowell had studied assiduously—but the themes are so attractive, the writing for the instrument so completely masterful that the Suite can easily worm its way into one’s affections. The ‘Zweite moderne Suite’ is thoroughly Teutonic from the separate titles of its movements to their musical language—the arresting ‘Fugato’ and its clear nod to Raff (who always saw fit to include a fugue in his own suites), the ‘Rhapsodie’ with its echoes of early Brahms, and the Schumannesque ‘Scherzino’, ‘March’ (Raff also liked to have a march somewhere) and ‘Phantasie-Tanz’.
Teresa Carreño gave the American premiere in New York (8 March 1884) and toured three movements (which three?) of it in the following year.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001