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Published on Apr 10, 2011
Chester is the third movement of a piece called The New England Triptych, based on a book of tunes written by William Billings during the American Revolutionary War. Chester begins with a march that was played by the Continental Army and sung around the campfire: The Foe comes on with haughty stride Our Troops advance with martial noise Their Vet'rans flee, before our Youth And Gen'rals yield to beardless Boys. Schuman then transports this hymn to the 20th century, by altering its rhythmic and harmonic structure until it is barely recognizable. In the end, the musical battle is won by tonality as the march reappears in its original form.