Saturday, March 7, 2015

Of Sailors and Whales

Of Sailors and Whales (Five Scenes from Melville) by W. Francis McBeth is a tone poem based on five scenes from the great American novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Melville’s story depicts the life of the sailor Ishmael as he boards the whaling boat the Pequod. The novel was influenced by real events of first mate Owen Chase on the Nantucket, Massachusetts whaling ship, the Essex, which was sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean in 1820. Of Sailors and Whales was commissioned by and is dedicated to the California Band Directors Association, Inc., and was premiered in February 1990 by the California All-State Band, conducted by Francis McBeth. The work is subdedicated to Robert Lanon White, Commander USN (Ret.). Dr. W. Francis McBeth, who was born in March, 1933, in Lubbock, Texas, and passed away in January, 2012, was Professor of Music Emeritus at Ouachita University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. (Source: Kimberly Williams)