The Great American Symphony: Music, the Depression, and War

The Great American Symphony: Music, the Depression, and War

by Nicholas Tawa
     
 

ISBN-10: 025335305X

ISBN-13: 9780253353054

Pub. Date: 05/01/2009

Publisher: Indiana University Press

The years of the Great Depression, World War II, and their aftermath brought a sea change in American music. This period of economic, social, and political adversity can truly be considered a musical golden age. In the realm of classical music, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Howard Hanson, Virgil Thompson, and Leonard Bernstein—among others—produced

Overview

The years of the Great Depression, World War II, and their aftermath brought a sea change in American music. This period of economic, social, and political adversity can truly be considered a musical golden age. In the realm of classical music, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Howard Hanson, Virgil Thompson, and Leonard Bernstein—among others—produced symphonic works of great power and lasting beauty during these troubled years. It was during this critical decade and a half that contemporary writers on American culture began to speculate about "the Great American Symphony" and looked to these composers for music that would embody the spirit of the nation.

In this volume, Nicholas Tawa concludes that they succeeded, at the very least, in producing music that belongs in the cultural memory of every American. Tawa introduces the symphonists and their major works from the romanticism of Barber and the "all-American" Roy Harris through the theatrics of Bernstein and Marc Blitzstein to the broad-shouldered appeal of Thompson and Copland. Tawa's musical descriptions are vivid and personal, and invite music lovers and trained musicians alike to turn again to the marvelous and lasting music of this time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253353054
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
05/01/2009
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Contents
Preface

1. Preliminaries
Attitudes
The Times
Symphonism Ascendant
The Symphony's Public Role
2. Symphonies of the Mid- to Late Thirties
The Romantic Symphony: Barber
The Spiritual Symphony: Hanson
The All-American Symphony: Harris
The Muscular Symphony: Schuman
The Civil Symphony: Carpenter
Afterthought: Thomson and Cowell
3. Symphonies of the War Years
Wartime Attitudes
The Commemorative Symphony: Antheil
The Aesthetic Symphony: Diamond
The Dramatic Symphony: Bernstein
The Masterly Symphony: Piston
The Ambivalent Symphony: Barber
The Theatrical Symphony: Blitzstein
4. Symphonies of the Immediate Postwar Years
The Conservatorial Symphony: Moore
The Dynamic Symphony: Mennin
The Plain-Spoken Symphony: Thompson
The August Symphony: Copland
The Self-Reliant Symphony: Creston
The Knotty Symphony: Sessions
5. American Symphonies after 1950
The Symphony in the Leanest Years
The Symphony after 1990

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >