Douglas Stuart Moore (1893-1969)
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The Making of Power and the Land (1939-1940)


Douglas Stuart Moore
1893-1969

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Moore added: “I am afraid the result will be pretty confusing, but what you have here is the best part of the score. No. 10, SCHOOL HOUSE MEETING, was used as the basis of the third movement of my Symphony in A Major which is published by G. Schirmer. No. 9a, CUTTING THE CORN, was used as the fourth movement of the suite, FARM JOURNAL. No. 7b., INSIDE THE KITCHEN, was used as the third movement of FARM JOURNAL. FARM JOURNAL is published by Carl Fischer.”

Still ahead for Moore, who would die on July 25, 1969, was a Pulitzer Prize for his opera Giants in the Earth. One reviewer at the time described this opera’s music “as American as juke boxes or Abe Lincoln.” But perhaps Moore is most remembered today for the Ballad of Baby Doe, which premiered in Central City, Colorado on July 7, 1956. Beverly Sills subsequently played the lead in a subsequent performance in 1956 at the New York City Opera and this was her debut as a leading lady and opera star.

Note: On September 16, 1920, Douglas Moore married Emily Bailey. They had two daughters, Sarah Moore and Mary Moore (Mrs. Bradford Kelleher).

For additional information and photographs of Douglas Moore (with an emphasis on The Ballad of Baby Doe), click here on www.babydoe.org

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Prepared by Dr. Ephraim K. Smith, this brief overview of Douglas Moore is based on materials found in the Douglas Moore Papers in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University. These materials comprise some 45 boxes and 1 flatbox and were the gift of Mrs. Douglas Moore & family in 1971 and 1973 and gifts of Mrs. Bradford Kelleher & Miss Sarah Moore in 1980, 1987, & 1991. Three articles in this collection were particularly instructive: Willard Rhodes, “Douglas Moore’s Music: A Columbia Composer Follows the American Way in Music,” Columbia University Quarterly, 32 (October, 1940), pp. 223-236; “Douglas S. Moore: Folk-bard in tails,” Columbia Alumni News (February, 1951), p. 18; and “Moore, Douglas (Stuart) in Current Biography (November, 1947), pp. 34-36. Dr. Smith would like to thank the archival staff in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library for their assistance.

Dr. Smith would like to thank Mrs. Bradford Kelleher for her critique of his web site essay on Douglas Moore. Quotations from Douglas Moore’s correspondence are used with the permission of Mrs. Bradford Kelleher. He would also like to thank Thomas C. Benet for permission to use photographs of Benet and Moore (and their families) from the 1930s. Dr. Smith would also like to express his appreciation to The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for permission to use the photograph of Moore playing the Parkinson family piano at their farm residence in Warnock, Ohio in 1940. The photograph of the Parkinsons and the film crew in 1940 comes from REA photographic collection at National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Lastly, he would like to thank Paul Tai, Director of Artists and Repertory for New World Records (Newworldrecords.org), for information on the 1998 CRI release of Farm Journal.

© 2005 Ephraim K. Smith


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