Blakeslee, S(amuel) Earle
- A. Dean Palmer
(b Oberlin, oh, Nov 2, 1883; d San Luis Obispo, ca, March 9, 1972). American composer. After completing basic studies in Oberlin and Denver, he received the bachelor’s degree in music at Pomona College, Claremont, California, in 1908. In 1916 he joined the music faculty at Chaffey College, Ontario, California, where he remained until his retirement in 1954. Blakeslee’s only opera, The Legend of Wiwaste [Wewahste], based on a Dakota Sioux legend dealing with tribal customs of betrothal and marriage before the coming of the white man, is cast in late 19th-century Romantic style and reflects in its large orchestral resources the influence of Puccini and Wagner. It also embodies many characteristics of American Indian music: Indian melodies, rhythmic figures inspired by Indian drumming patterns, choruses in parallel octaves, pentatonic scales and orchestral accompaniment in open 4ths and 5ths. First performed in Ontario, California, on 25 April 1924...