Letter to Saint Andrew - (2008)
for medium voice and piano
Dear St. Andrew,
The whisky arrived in due course from over the water;
last week one bottle of it was extracted from the wood
and inserted into
me, on the installment plan,
with this result: that I believe it to be
the best, smoothest whisky now on the planet.
Thanks, oh, thanks: I have
[ 1 ]
Hoping that you three are well and happy
and will be coming
back before the winter sets in.
I am, Sincerely yours,
...the best, smoothest whisky.... Thanks!
[ 3 pages, circa 1' 40" ]
This "Letter to Andres Carnegi" was written on February 10, 1906 to Andres
Carnegi, in Scotland. The text as above is published in Letters of Mark
Twain, Harper & Brothers 1917, with the exception of the repeated phrase
at the end again, "the best, smoothest whisky." For those afflicted by
temperance mentalities by reason of religious outlooks and politically
induced self-importance, it should be noted that alcohol and tobacco
possibly contributed to the early demise of mark Twain in 1910 at the tender
age of 74.
The snappy syncopation is meant to immediately place this song setting in
the musical genre of "Americana" as well as quickly set the key and tone of
the song. The staccato bass line should be in contrast to the right hand's
sustaining lines when possible.
The final wishes to the addressee and his family are meant to be in tempo
throughout, and the final measures can race to their ending.
The score for Letter to Saint Andrew is available as a free PDF
download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work
is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the
graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
Letter to Saint Andrew
[ 1 ]
Peruna was a "medicinal" elixir had a reputation as a cure-all,
popular during Prohibition due to the high alcohol content legally allowed
for "medicinal" purposes. From
Colliers Weekly, October 28, 1905, "Peruna, or, as its owner, Dr. S.
B. Hartman, of Columbus, Ohio (once a physician in good standing), prefers
to write it, Pe-ru-na, is at present the most prominent proprietary nostrum
in the country. It has taken the place once held by Greene's Nervura and by
Paine's Celery Compound, and. for the same reason which made them popular.
The name of that reason is alcohol.* Peruna, is a stimulant pure and simple,
and it is the more dangerous in that it sails under the false colors of a
benign purpose." It was 28 percent alcohol while legally "medicinal" during
Prohibition when other forms of drinking alcohol were so foolishly made