Summer Wind, Song of Sylphs, 1902. Edward MacDowell, 1860-1908. MacDowell Collection, box 20, folder 10. Music Division, Library of Congress.
This is the last of MacDowell's original choral works to be published, written while he was teaching at Columbia University. The text's poet, Richard Hovey (1864-1900), also taught at the university. The text from Hovey's epic poem, Launcelot and Guenevere, depicts the light summer breeze and imbues it with human qualities: "Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet. / The fleet wind's footing / is light on the roses / where ever he goes is / the lilt of his luting." MacDowell uses "sweet, sweet, sweet" reiterations in the poetry as opening, intermediary, and closing refrains, each time set differently. This work contains a disjunct melodic contour, and the texture is mostly homophonic. MacDowell marks much of the piece at a very soft dynamic with the exception of a one-measure fortissimo phrase, "The lark flies flinging his song on the wind." The harmonic language is quite coloristic.