. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Silas G. Pratt: Serenade For Strings – NBC Studio Orchestra – Joseph Stulpak, cond. – 1944 broadcast performance – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
A bit of late 19th-early 20th Century long-forgotten American Orchestral Music this weekend. Silas Gamaliel Pratt is not a household name, by any stretch. Born in 1846 and died in 1916, Pratt was one of that handful of American composers who sought to get away from strictly European music in the concert hall. He composed three operas, only two have been performed. He wrote one symphony (that is known), about the sinking of the Titanic which had its premier in 1913 and a few other pieces, but not really very much else.
This weekend’s piece, a Serenade For Strings, is one of the few Orchestral pieces he wrote, or which have survived. It was performed in this 1944 broadcast by the NBC Studio Orchestra conducted by Joseph Stulpak, as part of a program on the growth and development of the modern American Symphony Orchestra.
It’s a rather charming piece – certainly European in flavor, but nothing earth-shattering. Not that all music has to be. It’s also highly doubtful this piece has ever been commercially recorded – as I also suspect most of Pratt’s other works aren’t either.
So, Silas Gemalial Pratt is another name to add to your “recent discoveries” list.