Missouri composer Gay Holmes Spears (b. 1958) has won several awards for her works, which have been performed around the world. She often uses folk songs in her music, and Sourwood Suite (2007) is no exception. From the score:
The composer’s interest in folk song is demonstrated in this suite for band. Movement 1, Blow the Candles Out, is based upon an Anglo-Scots courting song. … The second movement, Winter’s Night, is a song found throughout the southern states. It is a song of lovers parting, in which the narrator swears to come back even though he may go ten thousand miles away. … The lonesome, wistful quality of the song is preserved in this setting. … Sourwood Mountain provides some comic relief to the previous two movements. This fiddling tune from the southern mountains … speaks of chickens crowing and a young man who is going to ask for the hand of a young woman. It reminds us of the eternal battle of the sexes.
See a preview of the score at Ludwig Masters.
The first movement is based on “Blow the Candles Out,” presented below by a Finnish(?!) band that specializes in Irish music. The lyrics tell the story of a young man meeting his lover in her room at night for one last tryst before he goes off to either an apprenticeship or war. The last verse acknowledges the possibility of a child that may come of it, promising an eventual return.
Information on the folk song “Winter’s Night” has thus far proven elusive. The movement is built on canon and contrapuntal entrances, and should be approached with a singing quality in mind.
Here is “Sourwood Mountain,” which exists in a great many different versions. These lyrics are a bit sillier than the program notes above seem to suggest.