Morton Gould's Fall River Legend ballet suite for Orchestra. Study score.
Fall River Legend was commissioned by Ballet Theatre with choreography by Agnes de Mille, music by Morton Gould, and sets by Oliver Smith, and recieved its world premiere performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, on April 22, 1948.
Having selected for her subject the historical Lizzie Borden murder case, de Mille used both pantomime and ballet techniques to convey the story. Morton Gould created the musical score in a similar way alternating programmatic sections with more formal dance patterns. The set dance movements form the basis of this orchestral suite, omitting most of the purely dramatic sequences.
A feeling of austerity and doom opens the Prologue, followed by a group of Waltzes depicting Lizzie's childhood. The sadness of Lizzie's girlhood is reflected in the nostalgic Elegy. Church social is a setting for a parish dance, and Hymnal Variations suggest the old New England hymn tunes. The festive Cotillion is an exhuberant sequence of dancing patterns. Epilogue returns to the foreboding mood of the prologue.