Today, November 11th, 2018, marks the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One. This and my next upload are offered in commemoration of that day.
Van Denman Thompson (1890-1969) served in the School of Music under six presidents for a period of 45 years. University organist and a teacher of organ, piano, and composition since 1911, he also directed the School of Music from 1937 until his retirement in 1956. He was a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and earned the degree of B.Mus. from Lincoln-Jefferson University in 1919 and was elected a fellow of the American Guild of Organists in the same year. DePauw awarded him an honorary doctorate in music in 1935.
Outside of his work in the Music School and as organist and choir director at Gobin Methodist Church, Thompson was best known for his brilliant organ recitals and witty chapel entertainments. Diminutive in stature (about 5 ft. tall) and painfully shy, he revealed a remarkable sense of humor in his public appearances. His colleague Jerome Hixson has described him as a "lesson in the gentle art of not taking himself too seriously."
Van Denman Thompson was a prolific composer of hymns, anthems, cantatas, and oratorios, and a principal contributor to the 1935 edition of the Methodist Hymnal edited by Dean Robert McCutcheon of the Music School.
"To an American Soldier (Elegy)" was published in 1919 by the H.W. Gray Company as No. 116 in their "St. Cecilia Series." This moving tri-part work features a long, sadly sighing melody in the external sections, and a busily chromatic march in the middle, which requires many pistons! The climax rises to two trumpet calls, before falling away to the melancholy of the beginning. The march is again hinted at the end, but this time it remains in the minor, with one last "thump" of the 32' Open Wood on the last note.
Score is attached, as well as 2 photos commemorating William Spahr, Musician, 312th Infantry, killed Oct 30, 1918. (See 1st comment.)