Hosanna, 1918. Arthur Farwell, 1872-1952. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M2072.F
Hosanna was published in 1918 along with Breathe on Us, Breath of God, as part of Farwell's Four Part Songs for Community Chorus, op. 51. It is the only piece in the set dedicated to the students of the Third Street Music School Settlement, which Farwell directed from 1915 to 1918. The Settlement was founded in 1894 to provide high-quality music instruction to underprivileged youth. It is still thriving today on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When Farwell was affiliated with the school, it had more than one thousand students and one hundred faculty members.
Farwell wrote both text and music for this rousing march. Like Breathe on Us, Breath of God, it was a wartime work meant to inspire patriotism and a sense of common purpose. It is strophic in form with unison verses followed by a four-part refrain. The accompaniment reinforces the melody with thickly doubled chords that make use of the piano's low register.
Farwell orchestrated Hosanna for an extraordinary performance in Carnegie Hall by the students of the Third Street Music School Settlement in March 1918. The concert, led by the composer, featured a chorus of eight hundred and an orchestra of two hundred. The highly successful event (for which the stage had to be nearly doubled in size) not only raised a significant amount of money for the school but also heightened its profile and reputation in New York City.