Shenandoah for Flute (optional second flute or violin) and Piano
Arranged by Cindy McTee
Published by Bill Holab Music/Rondure Music Publishing
Includes piano score, flute 1 part, and optional flute 2 part
There are many reasons why I decided to write an arrangement of the folk song, Shenandoah: the beautiful melody invited and challenged me to harmonize it; I was busy dealing with health issues at the time and knew that a re-creative (less intense) activity of this sort would help me cope; and I wanted to say “thank you” to friends Jeanne and Jimmy Galway for their generosity and wonderful friendship.
The introduction and coda borrow from the second movement of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, an idea suggested to me by Leonard Slatkin who was conducting the work at the time I shared my first draft of Shenandoah with him.
According to Wikipedia, Oh Shenandoah, also called simply Shenandoah, or Across the Wide Missouri, is a traditional American folk song of uncertain origin, dating at least to the early 19th century. The lyrics may tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer’s nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia and a young woman who is his daughter; or of a Union soldier in the American Civil War, dreaming of his country home to the west of the Missouri river, in Shenandoah, Iowa (although the town lies some 50 miles east of the river.) The song is also associated with escaped slaves who were said to sing the song in gratitude because the river allowed their scent to be lost. — Cindy McTee