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Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music Hardcover – July 11, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Sachs leaves us thinking of Cowell as not just a great American musician but a
great American, period." --Booklist


"Gorgeously written...Sachs sets a furious narrative tempo from the get-go, each page seemingly revealing a nugget of information that history was hitherto reluctant to divulge...This man made of music deserves this first biography and a revival too; let's hope Sach's book seals the deal." --Gramophone


"A magisterial biography...Essential." --Choice


"A more complete picture of these years than we could have hoped for. Henry Cowell is a compelling read, but it also offers a remarkable contribution to studies of American musical culture in the twentieth century...Sachs has offered both a captivating biography for the general reader interested in American music and an excellently documented version of the composer's life in which even a dedicated Cowell scholar is sure to find something new and of interest." --ARSC Journal


"Offers a rich discourse not only on the life of Henry Cowell (1897-1965), but also a
commentary on the many prolific figures close to him...Joel Sachs has not only deftly navigated through an extraordinary amount of source material but also delivered a riveting
account of Cowell the musician. This book will provide a rich resource for anyone with
an interest in American music, ethnomusicology, music and politics, and music and
society in the first half of the twentieth century. Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music is
an extraordinary contribution to the field." --Notes


"An expert sleuth, Sachs is able to tease a trustworthy narrative out of conflicting reports, correcting, corroborating, and expanding upon the account of events given by both Henry and Sidney Robertson Cowell, his wife...This careful approach is fully displayed in Sachs's treatment of Cowell's arrest, jail term, pardon, and unusual marriage...Joel Sachs is to be commended for his detailed attention to the wide variety of documents and sources in the Cowell Collection at the New York Public Library and elsewhere, a patient and major undertaking of several decades...With Sachs's monumental new biography we can now examine all facets of Cowell's entire life and career. His book is a major contribution to U.S. musical scholarship and points scholars of early twentieth-century experimental music in new directions."--Journal of the Society for American Music


About the Author


Joel Sachs is Professor of Music History, Chamber Music, and New Music Performance at The Juilliard School, where he conducts the New Juilliard Ensemble.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195108957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195108958
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.4 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,829,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exceptionally well written biography of one of the pioneers of contemporary music.
Should be required reading for anyone interested in the cultural history of the United States in the first half of the 20th Century.
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By john goodman on March 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Joel Sachs' authoritative and important biography of the composer Henry Cowell gives us an in-depth view of one of America's most important composers and early pioneers of new music. The improbable achievements of this maverick are laid out in great detail in Sachs' searching portrayal. It is a quintessential American story of rags to cultural riches and it is as surprising and compelling as the very music he wrote. Sachs has done us a great service in bringing this story to us so cogently. Cowell's influence has had a broad and lasting reach across the entire field of music which comes down to us today. We can only hope that this powerful biography will help place the music of Henry Cowell back in the contemporary repertoire where it belongs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I strongly recommend this book. 20th century composer bios are too often sparse overviews. This is a well researched, well written book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating biography of a composer I was not terribly familiar with. The author was a high-school classmate and remains a friend.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great, well researched, and well written and long overdue book on one of the most important pioneers of American art music.
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