I am a senior at Arthur Foote's alma mater (Harvard) and I find that his music wonderfully captures the spirit of New England in its simplicity, directness, and tunefulness. These works are extremely well performed--the pianist is very sensitive, particularly to the beautifully undulating lines of the first trio in c minor. The second trio is much more sharply "New England" in style, with its somewhat angular melodies and crisp rhythms. Reminds me of a spring day in the Boston Public Garden. How can the old Yankee temperment not appear in Foote? He was a native of Salem, MA, the descendant of sea captains, and the son of the publisher of the Salem paper.
Foote's style is indebted to European models, yet I firmly believe that its character is pure 19th century Boston. If you are looking for the music of the era and cultural climate of Henry Adams, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Charles Eliot, then this is your music. The most appropriate visual complement to this music is Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's Back Bay-- an impeccabbly preserved area lined with 1870's and 1880's Victorian brownstones and mansions and shaded by large trees in the center of the boulevard. While this music hardly blazes new trails, it stands very well on its own and well-represents the "Athens of America" that Boston has always striven for. Clearly, Boston was much more conservative in its musical tastes than New York City, and would ultimately lose its strong musical influence. However, Foote represents the best of the Boston Classicists, and is well worth exploring for its historical and cultural merits as well as its musical ones.
Also, the price is right.