The American Song-Set was written at the suggestion of Michael Mulcahy, who was looking for a piece that used American folk melodies as its basis. Each of the four movements contains several settings of the featured melody, with appropriate alterations of rhythm, tonality, texture and tempo.
1. Red River Valley
A slow, expressive treatment featuring flowing accompanying lines suggestive of a river's movement.
2. Polly Wolly Doodle
A spirited, rather humorous version with echoes of harmonicas and banjos along with some abrupt contrasts of meter, tempo and texture.
3. Home on the Range
A fairly straight forward treatment with the melody presented several times in difference keys.
4. Turkey in the Straw
The most unsual of all the treatments-a chorale opening followed by a fugato statement, as J.S. Bach might have approved the material!