Home refers to the place, physical and spiritual, where we spent our formative years. For some of us, the experience was a great joy and brings back marvelous feelings and memories; for others, not so much. Making peace with our home of origin is very important. That is our focus this week.
Technical and Analytical Readings
- Catherine A. Lutz, Unnatural Emotions: Everyday Sentiments on a Micronesian Atoll & Their Challenge to Western Theory (University of Chicago Press, 1988).
- Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America (Little, Brown & Company, 2011): “This final, literal moment of fight to get back to her home in Harlem is most certainly a metaphor for the homecoming journeys of all those for whom Harlem was and is the only place to be.”
- Edmund de Waal, Letters to Camondo (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021): “Composed of a series of intimate letters to the long-dead count, the book follows de Waal as he wanders from room to room in the museum, commenting on its treasures and offering quietly profound reflections on French Jewish history, the nature of collectiing and the vicissitudes of memory”.
- Jeremy Atherton Lin, Gay Bar: Why We Went Out (Little, Brown & Company, 2021): “. . . a toast for the gay bars that shaped queer identity, both personal and collective.”
- Maud Newton, Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation (Random House, 2022): “Who am I? is the question troubling Maud Newton in her extraordinary and wide-ranging book . . . Because ancestors are trouble: locating them, understanding our connections to them, reconciling facts about them with myths we’ve been told, and reckoning with the impact of those distortions and deceits — all of which Newton seeks to do.”
Novels and stories:
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1861).
- Cynthia Voigt, Homecoming (Aladdin, 2003).
- Eric Nguyen, Things We Lost to the Water: A Novel (Knopf, 2021): “The question of how to define home persists throughout. Is it a place? A person? A state of mind?”
- Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Songs for the Flames: Stories (Riverhead Books, 2021): “The protagonists of these stories don’t know one another but the writer-narrator knows all of them, and he seeks, through their lives and his own acts of archival imagination, something crucial about himself and the long, troubled past of his homeland, Colombia.”
- Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois: A Novel (Harper, 2021): “. . . a young Black woman has to figure how to craft a life that is joyful and whole against the backdrop of the American South, where the land is a minefield of treasures and tragedy.”
- Norman Rockwell, Christmas Homecoming (1948)
- Norman Rockwell, Homecoming Marine (1945)
- Norman Rockwell, The Homecoming (1945)
- Norman Rockwell, Homecoming
- Norman Rockwell, Homecoming (1924)
- Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 9 (1910)
- Vincent van Gogh, Village Street and Steps in Auvers with Two Figures (1890)
- Isaac Levitan, Golden Autumn, Village (1889)
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Hills of Trouville (1885)
- Claude Monet, Zaandam (1871)
- Gustave Courbet, The Homecoming (1854)
Music: songs and other short pieces
- John Denver, Country Roads
Film and Stage
- Great Expectations, adapted from Charles’ Dickens novel, about a man who “almost (but not quite) forgets his modest origins as the foster son of kindhearted blacksmith Joe Gargery”
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Many popular music groups emphasize their roots. Notable among these are:
The works under this heading are about home as a personal experience.
- Dvořák, Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 59, B. 93 (1881)
- Ives, Symphony 2 (1910), offering a wealth of homespun images from the United States.
- Herbert Howells, String Quartet No. 3, “In Gloucestershire” (1923, rev. ca. 1930) (approx. 29-30’), “arose from thoughts not only of the Cotswolds but also of The Great War”.
- Howells, Concerto for String Orchestra (1938) (approx. 28’), was “sketched a short time after Sir Edward Elgar's death in 1934, and at a still brief interval, after the loss of an only son, Michael Kendrick Howells . . .”
- Harty: An Irish Symphony (1904, rev. 1915 & 1924)
- Lamond, Ouvertüre "Aus Dem Schottischen Hochlande", Op. 4
- German, Symphony No. 2 in A minor, "Norwich" (1893)
- German, Welsh Rhapsody
- Falla, 4 Piezas Españolas (1909)
- Liszt, Hungaria (Poème symphonique No. 9), 103 (1854)
- Atterberg, Symphony No. 4 in G Minor, "Sinfonia Piccola", 14 (1918): draws on Swedish folk music
- Glinka, Syphony on Two Russian Themes in D minor
- Gould, American Ballads
- Dvořák, My Home Overture, 62, B125a (1881)
- John Ireland, A Downland Suite (1932)
- Raga Desh (Des) is a Hindustani classical raga for late evening. The word “desh” means “country” or “province” (performances by Banerjee, Parvez Khan and Zia Mohiuddin Dagar).
- Guastavino, Flores Argentinas (Flowers of Argentina)
- Florence Price, Symphony No. 3 in C Minor (1938), set against the backdrop of the Great Depression in the 1930s
- Dutilleux, Piano Sonata (1948): “. . . a lucid and overtly personal amalgam of French pianistic traits stretching back some seven decades . . .” [Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone magazine, November 2021 issue, p. 60.]
- Anders Koppel, Mulberry Street Symphony: “Each of the seven movements of Mulberry Street Symphony is a dramatic piece that tells a story in sound. The cinematic opening track, ‘Stranded in the City,’ conveys the sights and sensations of an immigrant's arrival into New York City during the latter part of the 19th century.”
- Gloria Coates, Symphony No. 14 (2001-2002) (approx. 34’), “is an especial homage to Gloria Coates's native land, based as it is on early American hymns by two of New England's first composers”.
- George Winston, “Montana – A Love Story” (2004) (53')
- Steven Halpern, “Ancient Echoes” (2013) (71')
- Ex Silentio, “Lethe” (In the Courts of the Orient) (2020) (60')
- Ex Silentio, “Mneme” (2015) (60')
- Art “Turk” Burton, “Ancestral Spirits” (2019) (70')
- Alchemy Sound Project, “Afrika Love” (2021) (41')
- Brian Landrus Orchestra, “Generations” (2017) (59')
- Fernando Garcia, “Guasábara Puerto Rico” (2018) (51'): “. . . relishing the tussle of folkloric cross rhythms . . . makes this . . . a masterful mash-up of interlacing meter.” [Michael Jackson, Downbeat magazine, June 2018 issue, p. 74.]
- Ros Bandt, “Glass & Clay” (1995) (63'), evoking the distant past
- The Crossing, “Seven Responses” (2017) (106'), “will challenge artists and audiences alike to explore our relative distance from, or closeness to, music across centuries, cultures, and continents.”
- William Goldstein and Lawrence Juber, “Musings”
- Catalyst Quartet, “Uncovered, Volume 2: Florence B. Price”: the composer’s heritage is foremost in these chamber works from an African-American composer of the middle twentieth century.
- Amaro Freitas, “Sankofa” (2021) (45'). Freitas says: “The symbol of the mystical bird, which flies with its head back, teaches us the possibility of going back to our roots, in order to realize our potential to move forward. With this album I want to bring a memory of who we are and pay homage to neighborhoods, names, characters, places, words and symbols that come from our ancestors. I want to celebrate where we come from.”
- Three Notch’d Road, “Shining Shore: Music of Early America” (2022) (57’): “. . . the Charlottesville group has mined the rich heritage of its own musically fertile region, presenting a fresh, inviting line-up of short songs and instrumental works that were likely heard in the state or its preceding colony from the late 17th-to mid-19th-centuries.”
- Nat Brookes, “Cormorant” (2023) (57’): “Inspired by the driving grooves of British Folk Musics and the twisting flow of European Bal, Cormorant is a beguiling mix of Jigs, Three-Two Hornpipes, Mazurkas and more.”
- Voces8, “Enchanted Isle” (2019) (79’): “. . . all of this music paints a landscape portrait of our home, our enchanted isle, back in the U.K.” [Barnaby Smith, of Voces8]
Starting from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born, / Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother, /After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements, / Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas, / Or a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a miner in California, / Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink from the spring, /. Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess, / Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy, Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of mighty Niagara, / Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and strong-breasted bull, / Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow, my amaze, / Having studied the mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the mountain-hawk, / And heard at dawn the unrivall'd one, the hermit thrush from the swamp-cedars, / Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.