Foote Arthur (William)

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Foote Arthur (William)

Foote, Arthur (William), distinguished American composer; b. Salem, Mass., March 5, 1853; d. Boston, April 8, 1937. He studied harmony with Emery at the New England Cons, of Music in Boston (1867–70) and took courses in counterpoint and fugue with Paine at Harvard Coll. (1870–74), where he received the first M.A. degree in music granted by an American univ. (1875). He also studied organ and piano with BJ. Lang, and later with Stephen Heller in France (1883). Returning to the U.S., he taught piano, organ, and composition in Boston; was organist at Boston’s Church of the Disciples (1876–78) and at the 1st Unitarian Church (1878–1910); also frequently appeared as a pianist with the Kneisel Quartet (1890–1910), performing several of his own works. He was a founding member and presi-dent (1909–12) of the American Guild of Organists. He taught piano at the New England Cons, of Music (1921–37). Foote was elected a member of the National Inst. of Arts and Letters (1898). His music, a product of the Romantic tradition, is notable for its fine lyrical elan. His Suite in E major for Strings (1907) enjoyed numerous performances and became a standard of American orch. music. He publ. Modern Harmony in Its Theory and Practice (with W.R. Spalding; 1905; rev. ed., 1959; republ. as Harmony, 1969), Some Practical Things in Piano- Playing (1909), and Modulation and Related Harmonic Questions (1919). His autobiography was privately printed (Nor-wood, Mass., 1946) by his daughter, Katharine Foote Raffy.


ORCH In the Mountains, overture (1886; Boston, Feb. 5, 1887; rev. 1910); Cello Concerto (1887–93); Francesca da Rimini, symphonic prologue (1890; Boston, Jan. 24, 1891); Serenade for Strings (1891; based on the earlier Suites, opp. 12 and 21); Suite in D minor, op.36 (1894–95; Boston, March 7, 1896); 4 Character Pieces after the Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam (1900; based on a set of piano pieces); Suite in E major for Strings, op.63 (1907; rev. 1908; Boston, April 16, 1909); A Night Piece for Flute and Strings (1922; derived from the Nocturne and Scherzo for Flute and String Quartet, 1918). CHAMBER: 2 piano trios (1882; rev. 1883; 1907–08); 3 string quartets (1883; 1893; 1907–11); Violin Sonata (1889); Romance and Scherzo for Cello and Piano (1890); Piano Quartet (1890); Piano Quintet (1897); Sonata for Cello or Viola and Piano (n.d.); Nocturne and Scherzo for Flute and String Quartet (1918; also as A Night Piece for Flute and Strings, 1922); also various piano pieces; organ music. VOCAL: The Farewell of Hiawatha for Men’s Chorus and Orch. (1885); The Wreck of the Hesperus for Chorus and Orch. (1887–88); The Skeleton in Armor for Chorus and Orch. (1891); O Fear the Immortals, Ye Children of Men for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (1900); Lygeia for Women’s Chorus and Orch. (1906); some 100 songs, 52 part songs, and 35 anthems.


F Kopp, A. F.: American Composer and Theorist (diss., Univ. of Rochester, 1957); D. Alviani, The Choral Church Music of A.W. F. (diss., Union Theological Seminary, 1962); D. Moore, The Cello Music of A. E, 1853–1937 (diss., Catholic Univ. of America, 1977); W. Cipolla, A Catalog of the Works of A. F. (1853–1937) (Detroit, 1980); N. Tawa, A. E: A Musician in the Frame of Time and Place (Lanham, Md., 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire