An Introduction to Twentieth Century Music

By Peter S. Hansen | Go to book overview
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his two string quartets ( 1951 and 1960). Many critics and musicians believe that he will be judged the outstanding American composer of his time. Attention is called to one younger man, Leon Kirchner (b. 1919) in this brief summary. He is a pupil of Roger Sessions, and has also worked informally with Schoenberg and Bartók. This orientation is apparent in his compositions, which include a duo for violin and piano ( 1947), a string quartet ( 1949), and a piano concerto ( 1956 ).

There are so many other young composers of merit that a complete list would be almost interminable. Thus, while at the beginning of the century America could claim only a few native composers, by mid-century she had achieved a position of leadership in music.


SUGGESTED READINGS

Copland. Two full-length studies have been written: Julia Smith, Aaron Copland: His Work and Contribution to American Music ( New York, 1955) and Arthur Berger, Aaron Copland ( New York, 1953). There are numerous periodical articles and the Autumn, 1948 issue of Tempo is devoted to his works. Among Copland's own writings, Music and Imagination ( Cambridge, 1952), and the autobiographical sketch in Our Modern Composers ( New York, 1941) are of interest.

Harris. No comprehensive study of Harris' style has been published. Among periodical articles, the following are recommended: Arthur Farwell, "Roy Harris" Musical Quarterly, XVIII, No. 1, Jan. 1932; Walter Piston, "Roy Harris" Modern Music, Jan.-Feb. 1934; and Nicolas Slonimsky, "Roy Harris" Musical Quarterly, XXXIII, No. 1, Jan. 1947. The last article is particularly recommended for the analy­ sis of style elements it contains. Harris' own views on compositions can be found in American Composers on American Music, edited by Henry Cowell ( Palo Alto, 1933).

Piston. "Walter Piston," by Elliot Carter, in Musical Quarterly, XXXII, No. 3, July 1946; "Piston's Fourth Symphony," by W. Austin, in Music Review, May 1955.

Sessions. Mark A. Schubart, "Roger Sessions: Portrait of an American Composer," Musical Quarterly, XXXII, No. 2, April 1946; various

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