A History of American Classical Music

Overview

This richly detailed narrative tells the stories of America's classical composers, set against significant events in American history.

Acclaimed music writer Barrymore Scherer follows the development of American classical music, from Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, Joplin, and Sousa, to lesser-known names such as William Henry Fry and Alan Hovhaness. Scherer surveys the period from the Mayflower through the Europe-tribute years to the two world wars and onwards to the growing ...

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Overview

This richly detailed narrative tells the stories of America's classical composers, set against significant events in American history.

Acclaimed music writer Barrymore Scherer follows the development of American classical music, from Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, Joplin, and Sousa, to lesser-known names such as William Henry Fry and Alan Hovhaness. Scherer surveys the period from the Mayflower through the Europe-tribute years to the two world wars and onwards to the growing academic and concert confidence of the post-war period. Broadway, opera, musicals, bandstands, marching bands and piano players all get their place.

The book includes a CD of carefully chosen pieces. Readers also gain access to an exclusive website that offers new essays, the musical works in full, and more. This revolutionary book utilizes traditional and new media to provide a uniquely rounded portrait of the American classical scene and music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Like Charles Hamm's Music in the New World (1983), this excellent history serves as an inclusive tutor for the layperson. Scherer (music critic for The Wall Street Joumal and a lecturer on classical-music appreciation on PBS and at venues in New York City) takes a broad view of classical music... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers." - Choice
Library Journal

This overview-originally published in the United Kingdom by Naxos Books and previously in the United States in 2005 as The Story of American Classical Music(with a much shorter text)-covers the entire range of American classical music from Colonial times to the present, including several 21st-century works. Scherer, music critic for the Wall Street Journal, takes a broad view of classical music, discussing Scott Joplin, operetta, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Amy Beach, and Charles Ives. The focus, though, is clearly on a discussion of canonical classical music for the "educated layman" rather than the "trained musician." This does not aim to be definitive in an academic sense, and unlike Joseph Horowitz's Classical Music in America, it does not discuss the social importance of classical music; however, it has its own niche as a well-written chronological popular history of classical music in America based on composers and eras. The accompanying audio CD and available online tracks-18 on the CD and over 150 online, many of them complete works-help enormously. Highly recommended.
—Bruce R. Schueneman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402210679
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Series: Naxos Books Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,359,818
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Barrymore Scherer is music critic for The Wall Street Journal, contributing editor of Art & Auction magazine, and author of Bravo! A Guide to Opera for the Perplexed. He lives in New York, NY.
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Table of Contents


CD Track List     i
Website     iv
Acknowledgments     v
Preface     vii
Introduction: The Dawn of American Classical Music     1
From Founding through Revolution     5
The Awakening     21
Transplanting Romantic European Traditions     35
Into the Twentieth Century: The Traditionalists     53
American Impressionists and Folklorists     63
New England Iconoclast: Charles Ives     66
From Bandstand to Broadway: The 1890s to 1930s     70
The Earlier Struggles of American Opera     88
Modernism Elbows its Way into the Concert Hall     94
Europeans Abroad     110
Between the World Wars: Americans Struggle to be Heard     116
Lighter Hearts of the 1920s and 1930s     133
Perpetuating the Romantic Tradition     137
America Goes to War: The 1940s     145
Exploring the Frontiers of Sound     153
The Melting-Pot of American Opera and Musical Theatre     164
Anxiety's Son: Leonard Bernstein     175
The Age of Anxiety: Music in the Cold War Era     180
Making the Most of Minimalism     195
Today and into Tomorrow: Old Glory and New     206
Conclusion     226
Selected Bibliography     228
Index     230
About the Author     247
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