Poll: Which Piece Best Captures the Spirit of Labor Day?
Friday, August 30, 2013
Poor Labor Day. Like Thanksgiving, it has never had its own music.
Other holidays have festive pieces and thematic lyrics. But go to a Labor Day concert and you get a lot of Americana: patriotic songs, songbook classics, and a dose of Sousa.
But throughout 400 years of classical music, more than a few composers have addressed work in its myriad forms.
In Verdi's rousing Anvil Chorus, workers bellow "So, to work now! Lift up your hammers!" Virgil Thomson's The Plow That Broke the Plains was the soundtrack to a New Deal documentary from the 1930s, about unchecked development in the Great Plains. And Schumann was one of many composers to have found inspiration in country life with "The Happy Farmer."
Still other composers have been inspired by the collective spirit of labor: Gershwin's "Nice Work If You Can Get It," Joan Tower's Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, Eric Coates's march "Calling all Workers."
Take our poll or tell us about your favorite in the comments box below. We'll be playing select labor-themed pieces all day Monday on WQXR.