Harl McDonald – Bataan – from the Suite, My Country At War – NBC Studio Orchestra – Joseph Sulpak, cond. – July 15, 1943 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Harl McDonald – Bataan, 2nd movement from the Suite, My Country At War, performed by the NBC Studio Orchestra conducted by Joseph Sulpak for the NBC Radio Series Music Of The New World. When America landed itself in the middle of World War 2 on December 7, 1941, a tremendous effort was underway to instill a sense of national urgency as well as bring every American (wherever possible) to get involved as a sense of deep commitment to winning the War. Every aspect of American life was geared towards waging the war, and support by way of Propaganda came from a vast range of creative endeavors.
One of those was by way of Music. Every American composer was obliged to chip in either by way of a piece to instill national pride or by way of performance for the troops heading overseas.
The composers called on to create stirring marches or descriptive program works, many of which were played once or twice and largely never heard again.
One piece that managed to get a commercial recording was My Country At War, a series of orchestral pieces written by Harl McDonald and performed on a Columbia Records release (MM-592) by The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. The piece, Bataan received additional performances and was considered by many, for a time, to be America’s equivalent to The 1812 Overture.
This performance, as part of the NBC Radio series “Music Of The New World” features the NBC Studio orchestra under the direction of Joseph Stulpak and features only the second movement “Bataan” as part of the program.
Yes, the war for Hearts and Minds was everywhere; some successful and some highly forgettable.
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