“The Rosary” by Ethelbert Nevin

After Stephen Foster, Ethelbert Nevin is Pittsburgh’s most famous composer. Like Chopin, Nevin seldom attempted anything longer than five minutes or so (Chopin did a couple of piano concertos, but who remembers them nowadays?). Also like Chopin, he died young (at the age of 39, just like Chopin). Unlike Chopin, he has been almost forgotten, but when he died in 1901 he was one of the great names in light classical music. “Narcissus” and “Gondolieri” remained in the parlor-piano repertory until people forgot how to play pianos and stopped building houses with parlors.

One of Nevin’s most famous compositions was “The Rosary,” Here is a recording (MediaFire link) by the great viola player William Primrose, accompanied by the mediocre conductor Charles O’Connell and the Victor Symphony Orchestra. This recording was taken from a beat-up 78-RPM Victor Red Seal record, and the conversion to MP3 has muddied it a bit. If you want the original WAV file, it’s here (another MediaFire link), but be aware that it’s nearly 15 megabytes. The surface noise is not too distracting, and the performance brings out all the sentimentality that made “The Rosary” such a big hit.

It appears that this recording has been allowed to lapse into the public domain. If there is a copyright owner who objects to Father Pitt’s making it available here, Father Pitt will be happy to remove it.

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2 thoughts on ““The Rosary” by Ethelbert Nevin

  1. I read the novel The Rosary(1910) by Florence Barclay to my wife recently and it features strongly the song The rosary. It is a great read and really puts the words of the song into effect. I remember the words barren gain and bitter loss .We often have barren gain only the cross matters.

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