During World War 2, early Americana was crucial to national identity.
During World War 2, early Americana was crucial to national identity and well-being.

Music Of The New World – Music of the settlers – November 1943 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

A slice of early Americana this weekend, just in time to end up Thanksgiving weekend – a look at music of the Early American settlers and music of the 20th century which was inspired by them.

This studio broadcast from 1943, is an example of the sense of renewed nationalism which swept America during the Depression and the years during World War 2. Unearthing music popular during the time of the early settlers, or basing new compositions on Folk tunes during that period was the basis for a lot of creative output during this period. Via government programs such as the WPA, the adaptation of themes based on early Americana, either in written, musical or artistic form was prevalent in just about every part of the U.S. from 1933 to 1946.

Some of it has gone on to achieve a level of immortality, such as the music of Aaron Copland, the art of Andrew Wyeth and Thomas Hart Benton and others. While most of it has faded into neglect and total obscurity. Still, this was music played often in concert halls and on the radio, and this program Music Of The New World was a weekly staple in many musical diets during the dark days of World War 2.

This broadcast, from November of 1943, comes at a time when the War was dragging on but fortunes were starting to turn in favor of the allies – and the music was imbued with a sense of pioneer spirit and “can-do” about it.

Performed by the NBC Studio Orchestra, conducted by Henri Nosco with soloists Suzanne Bloch, Andrew Rowan Summers, this was the fourth in a series on Folkways in Music broadcast by the NBC Network in November of 1943.

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