Pretty Little Girl With The Red Dress On – Unterseher

SA, piano

A tender, poigant look at loss and legacy drawn from the American folk song “Po’ Howard.”

Purchase PRETTY LITTLE GIRL WITH THE RED DRESS ON from Reg’s web site

PROGRAM NOTES

Fragments and phrases of this song show up all over the folk music of the American South. The meaning of this song in the form that I first heard it, in a recording by Leadbelly, appears to refer the relationship between “Po’ Howard” and his lover with a wandering eye. It is sung at a much faster tempo and rhythmic structure than this arrangement. I have taken a much different view of it, the view of a person in that area between the loss of parents and the realization that their own children will experience that loss when they pass on.

NOTES ON PREPARATION AND PERFORMANCE

Take your time with the phrase shapes, and carry them through to the end. Don’t be afraid of the spaces between singing. Use American soft non-plosive “t’s” in the words “pretty” and “little.” It should be sung with a sweet, nostalgic attitude, loving and sad at the same time.

TEXT

Traditional American Folk Song

Poor old Howard’s dead and gone
left me here to sing this song
Who’ll be here when I am gone?
Pretty little girl with the red dress on… who knows?

 

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About Reginald Unterseher

Reginald Unterseher is Music Director and Composer-in-Residence at Shalom United Church of Christ, Richland, Washington. His works are published by Oxford University Press, Walton Music, and through NW Choral Publishing at www.reginaldunterseher.com. He is the Washington State Music Teacher’s Association’s “Composer of the Year” for 2013. Mr. Unterseher’s compositions are regularly performed throughout the world and have been featured at ACDA and MENC conventions in the US as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He currently serves as Repertoire & Standards Chair for Men’s Choirs for the Northwest Division of the American Choral Director’s Association, and is in demand as a choral and vocal adjudicator and clinician. Mr. Untereseher is a past Artistic Director of Consort Columbia (now Mid-Columbia Mastersingers), founder and past Chorus Master of Washington East Opera, and an active member of Male Ensemble Northwest.