Rosa Rio, one of the last original generation theatre organists, began her training at the Eastman School of Music where there was a three-year course in theatre organ (at the insistence of George Eastman). She continued a career that began in the 1920s as a theatre organist accompanying silent films, as organist of soap operas for the NBC Blue Radio Network, private music teacher and, beginning in 1993, a return to accompanying films at the Tampa Theatre.
This is Rosa's 1979 arrangement of this famous New Orleans gospel song frequently performed in jazz funerals. It is usually listed as a folk song because the author and composer are unknown. Rosa suggested adding a clarinet or trumpet to her arrangement for organ and piano, and we are glad to oblige.
Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite for orchestra consists of five movements. “On the Trail” is the best-known of the movements, the aural report of the day riding on the back of a pack donkey (imitating its clip-clop), beginning and ending with a great “hee-haw”. The sharp hoof beats of the animal form an unusual rhythmic background for the cowboy’s song. The sounds of a waterfall tell them of a nearby oasis. The sight a lone cabin, and as they approach it, a music box it heard. The traveler stops at the cabin for refreshment. Now fully rested, the traveler journeys forth at a livelier pace. The movement ends as man and burro disappear in the distance.
This arrangement of Silent Night, originally published in 1978, is a reflective setting using chimes and soft jazz chords.