Foster’s “ Soirée Polka” is an appealing and rhythmic piece suited to being played by a wide range of instruments and instrumental groups although the musical material needs to be played with a lightness of touch. A tempo of 108 quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute is used in the playback score. The polka is a lively folk dance full of character originating from the area now known as Czechia (Bohemia). Its popularity spread widely throughout Europe and subsequently North and South America. The dance is upbeat and celebratory in character and written in 2/4 time.
Stephen Foster (1826-1864) is known as the “father of American music,” responsible for writing over 200 songs many of which are still very well known today. His “My Old Kentucky Home” has been the official state song of Kentucky since 1928. He began composing as a teenager and attempted to live his life as a professional songwriter at a time before copyright laws protected a composer’s work so it was impossible for him to earn a decent living. There are a number of variants of this piece in existence so don’t be concerned if you familiar with a slightly different version.
The two piano parts primo and secondo can be downloaded separately as mp3 accompaniments enabling players to enjoy an ensemble music experience playing either the primo or secondo part. The primo part sounds on one side of the stereo channel and the secondo part on the other. Accompaniment 1 plays at 108 quarter note beats (crotchet) to the minute, Accompaniment 2 at 104 quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute, Accompaniment 3 at 100 quarter note beats (crotchet) to the minute and Accompaniment 4 at 96 quarter note beats (crotchet) to the minute.There is a 4 bar click beat before the music starts playing to give a pulse and tempo indication for players. When performing printing two pages of music onto one side of A4 offers a very practical solution for players.