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Origins: Santa Anna's Retreat

Lighter 25 Jul 18 - 12:48 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jul 18 - 01:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jul 18 - 05:31 PM
Lighter 25 Jul 18 - 07:11 PM
Lighter 25 Jul 18 - 07:32 PM
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Subject: Origins: Santa Anna's Retreat
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 12:48 PM

The now popular old-time tune "Santa Anna's Retreat" was first collected by Alan Jabbour from octogenarian fiddler Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Va., in 1966-67. Listen to Reed playing it here:

http://memory.loc.gov/afc/afcreed/130/13035a33.mp3

Reed, in turn, had learned it around 1900 from an elderly neighbor, who, as Reed recalled, had been a fifer in the Mexican War (1846-48).

This all becomes more interesting when we take a look at the anonymous composition, "Santa Anna's Retreat from Cerro Gordo" (Louisville: W. C. Peters, 1847). Reed's tune is a simplified and somewhat altered version of this: https://www.loc.gov/resource/sm1847.072350.0/?sp=1

The subtitle of "Cerro Gordo" is instructive: "The subject taken from a celebrated Scotch Melody as performed by the American Bands on that occasion."

The "Scotch Melody" sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't place it. The sheet music includes satirical comments at certain passages: "Santa Anna loses his wooden leg" and "Santa Anna loses his Mexican hat."

The whole thing is to begin "animato" and slowly increase to "Double-Quick
time." For obvious reasons.

Quince Dillon, Reed's neighbor, also taught him to play a "British Field March," which bears some similarity to the "Retreat":

http://memory.loc.gov/afc/afcreed/130/13035a32.mp3


As a footnote to musical history, a composer calling himself "Skedaddles" produced a melodically unrelated "Beauregard's Retreat from Shiloh" in 1862, with an extensive satirical, pro-Union narration.

You can hear both Cerro Gordo" and "Shiloh" on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9jerqyGJdw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPsBbeHynnc

And both are worth listening to!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Santa Anna's Retreat
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 01:50 PM

That's a neat tune and it does sound Scottish but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Something about "we will take the (something) way" about going somewhere in the Hebrides?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Santa Anna's Retreat
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 05:31 PM

It's actual name is the U.S. - Mexico War. Though the website has been hit by some kind of bug knocking out entries, you'll still find a lot of that history at https://library.uta.edu/usmexicowar/. There are also some songs (sheet music) but I don't remember seeing this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Santa Anna's Retreat
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 07:11 PM

"Mexican War," "U.S.-Mexican War," and "U.S.-Mexico War" are all in use.

Contemporaries called it the "Mexican War"- because it was fought in Mexico.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Santa Anna's Retreat
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 07:32 PM

Stephen Foster wrote a piece called "Santa Anna's Retreat from Buena Vista."

I think it's the least interesting of the three Santa Annas:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PATJWPg02kk


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Mudcat time: 25 September 1:23 AM EDT

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