The Mississippi Suite (Tone Journey) is an orchestral suite in four movements by Ferde Grofé, depicting scenes along a journey down the Mississippi River from its headwaters of Minnesota down to New Orleans.
Later, American lyricist Harold Adamson wrote words to music from the ballad theme of the suite's final movement. The resulting song was called "Daybreak". Frank Sinatra recorded "Daybreak" twice, once with Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra on July 1, 1942, and nineteen years later, on May 2, 1961, for the album called "I Remember Tommy". (See under Adamson at #)
- I. Father of the Waters – depicts the birth of the Mississippi River in the streams of Minnesota and the lands of the Chippewa Indians .
- II. Huckleberry Finn – based on the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. A short piece ruminating on Huck's prankish nature.
- III. Old Creole Days – Grofe's interpretation of spirituals sung by slaves on the plantations
- IV. Mardi Gras – depicts Fat Tuesday in New Orleans.
The entire piece runs about 17 minutes.
Paul Whiteman recorded the piece in 1927 in abbreviated form (minus the first movement) because of the space limitations of the 12-inch 78-rpm disk, the lengthiest recording format available at that time. Whiteman's recording was released by Victor on Victor 35859. (See gramophone record) (That recording can be heard here #)
The first full recording of the work, as Grofé composed and orchestrated it, was made in 2004 by Steven Richman conducting the Harmonie Ensemble/New York and released in 2006 (Bridge Records 9212).
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