Two Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op.74
Arthur Foote (1853-1937) was born in Salem, Massachusetts and was the first important American composer trained entirely in America. His main teacher was John Knowles Paine, from whom Foote gained an admiration for and was primarily influenced by the leading Central European Romantic composers of the day, such as Mendelssohn, Schumann, Dvorak and Brahms. After graduating, Foote became active in the musical life of Boston and made his living primarily by teaching the piano. He was fortunate in having friends and supporters who were able to arrange for his larger compositions to be performed by the Boston Symphony. Foote wrote approximately 200 works, most of these for voice. Roughly 75 have opus numbers. Though chamber music comprises only a small part of his output, these works are among his best.
The Two Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op.74 date from 1913 and are late compositions. Foote was sixty years old when he wrote them. The two pieces are entitled Canzonetta and a Song of Sleep. The Canzonetta is predominantly graceful and charming while the Song of Sleep is almost a crooning lullaby. Foote intended them as short recital works to be played either between works of greater length or as encores. Both are quite appealing and fill the bill quite well.