"A Tidal Wave of Encouragement": American Composers' Concerts in the Gilded Age

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In July of 1884, pianist Calixa Lavallée performed a recital of works by American composers that began a highly influential series of such concerts. Over the course of the next decade, hundreds of all-American concerts were performed in the United States and Europe, a movement that fostered both the development and the perception of American music as a unique art form. A Tidal Wave of Encouragement-the title of which is derived from one observer's description of the movement-is the first in-depth study of this significant period in American music. Providing a comprehensive history of the Concerts as well as detailed accounts of the intense critical debate surrounding them, author E. Douglas Bomberger reveals how one decade shaped the future of American classical music and very much impacted the way we hear it today.

The movement, crucial in focusing discussion on American music and providing performance opportunities for composers and musicians for whom no such opportunities had before existed, was far more extensive and widespread than most scholarship had credited it. This oversight is due in large part to the dearth of objective studies of the Concerts; previous considerations have tended either toward the merely nostalgic or toward the unnecessarily disparaging. Bomberger's work is a corrective to this, as well as much-needed historical and critical account of a project whose influence had yet to be fully acknowledged.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275974466
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

E. DOUGLAS BOMBERGER is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The author of many journal articles, he is the editor of Brainard's Biographies of American Musicians (Greenwood, 1999).

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Table of Contents

1 Prelude: All-American Concerts before 1884 1
2 The MTNA Concerts, 1884-1888: An Idea Whose Time Had Come 9
3 Henry E. Krehbiel, Critic 23
4 Frank Van der Stucken's Novelty Concerts 29
5 The Exposition Universelle of 1889: American Music on a World Stage 45
6 Interlude: Flood Tide 65
7 The MTNA Concerts, 1889-1892: An Idea Whose Time Was Past 73
8 The Arens Tour of 1891-1892: Propaganda, Parochialism, and All-American Concerts 87
9 Edward A. MacDowell, Reluctant Hero 121
10 The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893: American Art Music Humiliated 127
11 Manuscript Societies and the Ghettoization of New Music 145
12 Postlude: Dvorak and New Directions in American Art Music 165
App. 1 Selected American Composers' Concerts, 1881-1901 173
App. 2 Frank Van der Stucken's American Festival, November 1887 183
App. 3 Programs and Reviews of American Composers' Concerts in Europe 189
App. 4 Repertoire Performed at Public Meetings of the Manuscript Society of New York, 1890-1901 203
Bibliography 213
Index 221
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