. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Eastman School Symphony – Howard Hanson – May 14, 1949 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
Back over to some mid-century Americana this weekend. Weldon Hart is a name you don’t hear very much anymore. Since his untimely death by suicide in 1957, Hart’s work has languished and is hardly ever played these days. But in the years after World War 2, Weldon Hart was a bright star on the horizon, with several of his pieces gaining national prominence.
One of his most notable works was the John Jacob Niles Suite, based on music popularized by the noted American Balladeer and important figure in the Folk Music revival of the 1950s, John Jacob Niles. It quickly became one of Hart’s most popular works, and this broadcast from the 1948-1949 season of the Eastman School Symphony, marked its premier.
Having done a spot-check of various sources, there appears to be no commercial recording of this work. I am sure someone who is familiar with Hart’s work will set me straight on that. But in the meantime, this may be the only known recording of his work, and the first performance at that.
Conducted by Howard Hanson, here is the John Jacob Niles Suite by Weldon Hart, from a broadcast by the Eastman School Symphony of May 14, 1949.