Simple Lives
David Sampson (1990)

Simple Lives for orchestra is a single movement, thirteen minute work written during the fall of 1990 on commission from the Colonial Symphony to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. It was premiered during the spring of 1991 with Yehuda Gilad conducting.

The work is dedicated to the Colonial Symphony and is also intended to honor my grandmother, Eunice Sampson, and her two sisters, Naomi Magnuson and Edna Friedstrom. The three sisters were residents of Orion, Illinois, a small, rural town about 160 miles south of Chicago. From my visits as a young boy, I remember the family farm with its chickens underfoot and horses to be broken and acres and acres of cornfields. I remember all of the relatives fixing their cherished covered dishes when the folks from back East would visit them each summer. My memories were warm and comforting. When I was about twelve, we stopped visiting Orion and my memories became influenced in time with my experiences as a young musician in Philadelphia and New York. The lives of my relatives began to seem hopelessly old-fashioned. With time though, my thoughts changed. As an adult, I began to visit Orion once more and got to know Eunice, Naomi and Edna again. What I found were lives that were marvelously rich in directness, humor and spirituality. What I once thought of as simple and old-fashioned turned out to be focused and consistent. Simple Lives reflects that change of perspective and honors their example. My grandmother, Eunice, in her late ninties, passed away while I was writing Simple Lives. Naomi died shortly thereafter at the age of one hundred and nine. Edna, in her early hundreds, still lives in Orion.

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