Volume Seven in this series features music popular during the time of the frenzied gold rush days, the most iconic of which was represented by the gold rush of 1849, whose participants became known as “Forty-Niners.” This medley features four tunes popular during this era, including:
My Darling Clementine — Even though this tune was not first published until 1880, it is one of the most representative of all songs of the gold rush era. Even today, most school children are familiar with this tune.
Sweet Betsy From Pike — This nostalgic tune evokes the spirit of the era so much that it was frequently played in the saloons of the day. It is an enduring melody that everyone will recognize.
Oh, Susannah — Another ever-popular tune people recognize today, this Stephen Foster tune was written in 1847, right in the heart of the gold rush era.
Coming ‘Round the Mountain — Winding up this medley is the tune most of us remember singing when we were children, a tune whose words tell the story of the excitement of anticipation of a much-awaited – yet unnamed – visitor. .
Here are the program notes the MCSB has used for this piece:
One of the rip-roaring-est periods in American History was the span of years following the discovery of gold in Sutter’s Mill, California, in 1848, an event that sparked the gold rush of the following year, and an expansion of the American Frontier like never before.
The vast majority of those participating in the great gold rush were men, and much of the music of this era reflected the fact that these men were lonely souls. All of the tunes in the suite we are about to play are about the women in the gold rushers’ lives, and how these women touched their hearts.
The first tune in the series is the only one that doesn’t specify the name of the lady, but goes into great detail about the celebration to be made when she finally arrives, in “She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain When She Comes.” The tune “Sweet Betsy From Pike” describes the ardors of a journey across the continent, and “My Darlin’ Clementine” laments about a gold miner’s drowned daughter. The suite closes out with Stephen Foster’s “Oh, Susannah,” written in 1847 and hugely popular with the gold rushers because of its funny lyrics – “the sun so hot, I froze to death,” and became known as the forty-niners’ theme song.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you now the seventh volume in David Miller’s American Frontier Suite series, Gold Rush Days.
This piece has been carefully scored to be a challenging Grade 3, and would be another ideal piece for state contest lists.
It will also make an ideal easy-to-master showcase piece for your next concert.
This work will make an ideal easy-to-master showcase piece for your next concert.