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The History of American Classical Music: MacDowell Through Minimalism Hardcover – December, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Struble identifies "Americanist" music as a "conservative" style using vernacular sources for melody and rhythm. In contrast, most American composers-though often representative of their generation-have expressed distinctly original ideas in their memorable music. Such strong opinions, supported by reasonable arguments, are the author's best asset. Unfortunately, Struble repeatedly threatens to numb readers with paragraphs that do little but present lists in between discussions of individual composers. Still, this is less technical and focuses more exclusively on art music than H. Wiley Hitchcock's Music in the United States (Prentice Hall, 1988. 3d ed.) and will make a thoughtful, reasonably priced supplement to large music collections. Useful appendixes give a historical chronology, list composers by place of origin, and propose a canon of major works.
Bonnie Jo Dopp, formerly with Dist. of Columbia P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Facts on File (December 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081602927X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816029273
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I originally purchased this book on account of its nice chapter on minimalism and its introduction by Philip Glass. Fortunately, I was very surprised to see myself devour the book's chapters on non-minimalist 20th century music as well. The book is well written and well categorized.
The book is essentially split into chapters based on style (in chronological order) starting with the very unknown 19th century American composers. The writing focuses more on the personal lives of the composers and how their pieces were received rather than a theoretical evaluation of style or its evolution. I actually prefer it be written this way since this book was my introduction to American classical music.
The minimalism chapter is good, especially when compared to other multi-stylistic books which only cover minimalism (and usually 20th century music) because they have to.
If I were teaching a class on 20th century music, this would definitely be a required text. Of particular interest is the concluding chapter on the author's views concerning the future of music; he brings up some interesting points worth mulling over.
I didn't care enough about the early American composers too much (Griffes, etc...), so my review doesn't reflect those chapters.
I certainly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in 20th century American acoustic music (electronic music isn't really covered).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Stott on December 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book- full of information and very readable, without being too tecnical or pedantic. I might fault the author for being a bit sparse on 19th C. American composers, but this is a matter of personal judgement and the need to keep the book within manageable length. Also in 1998 fewer works by composers such as Fry, Bristow, Lambert and John Knowles Paine were available for listening.
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