Titles by: STEPHEN FOSTER
Stephen Foster is virtually the only American composer before the Tin Pan Alley era whose songs are still widely performed and recognized. His works have been recorded by artists as diverse as Jussi Bjorling, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Marilyn Horne, The Byrds, Alison Kraus, and Mavis Staples. Yet despite the songs' enduring appeal, both the composer and his music remain enigmatic. Foster provided some of the most enduring musical images of the American South, including the state songs of Kentucky, "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!," and Florida, "Old Folks at Home" ("Way Down upon the Swanee River"), yet he was only in the deep South on a brief steamboat trip, during which he seems not to have spent much time off the ship. He was a Democrat who wrote political campaign songs, yet also collaborated closely with Charles Shiras, an ardent abolitionist. And although Foster showed a lifelong indifference toward organized religion, he wrote more than twenty hymns.