Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview

work with the aid of a piano, sketching general melodic contours, dynamics or rhythmic groupings, before the actual notation. Sometimes, as in Dicotomy (measures 3 to 93), the theme is conceived first; frequently a mere color effect, scheme of contrast, orchestration or formal idea is the starting point. My works are evolved slowly, in labor and struggle; when outward conditions are favorable sometimes the least progress is made.

"No career, to my knowledge, has embodied greater contradictions than my own--a maximum of talent coupled with a minimum of faith in my creative ability. I cannot remember a time when I did not know keys and chords, having picked them out almost as soon as I could reach the keyboard. I recall my astonishment when at the age of eight I found that not everybody had perfect pitch. I suffered agonies at the age of eleven playing second violin under a leader who permitted the dotted triplet of the first movement of Beethoven's Seventh to be played as an eighth and two sixteenths. At the age of twelve, I wrote an impressionistic theme which bears up well with anything of its kind I have written since. I covered reams of paper with sketches, brave beginnings of all descriptions, the net result of which being that up to the age of thirty- five, I had created not a single large work save a somewhat repetitious overture, since destroyed."So unsurmountable seemed the task of creating anything worth while that for the most part I evaded the issue thru a multitude of irrelevant activities. When I first went abroad, I pored deeply over philosophy, became intensely interested in esthetics, visited dozens of galleries and cathedrals, and read a goodly portion of the German classics. When I returned to America I spent years collecting the songs and calls of birds, of which I have notated several hundred. I dipped into Greek and Italian and became obsessed with French poetry."However, as I became more absorbed in creative work, my avocations began to lose their importance, until now I have but one, undeniably, it seems to me, the most rational of them all from the standpoint of self-interest--an active participation in the movement towards a world socialism, under which alone artists, musicians, scientists, workers and creators of all kinds will be able to function freely and attain a high degree of individual expression."Principal works by Wallingford Riegger:
ORCHESTRA: American Polonaise; Rhapsody for Orchestra; A Study in Sonority; Frenetic Rhythms.
CHAMBER MUSIC: Chromatic Quartet; La Belle Dame Sans Merci; Trio in B-Minor; Divertissment; Dichotomy; Canons [for Woodwinds; Suite for Flute Solo.

Pieces for piano.

About Wallingford Riegger:

Cowell Henry. American Composers On American Music.


Vittorio Rieti 1898-

VITTORIO RIETI, one of the younger representatives of the group of Italian modernists, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, of Italian parents, on January 28, 1898. As a boy he was brought to Italy where he began his first studies. Destined by his parents for a commercial career, he was not permitted to pursue a systematic course of musical study, even tho he showed aptitude for the art from earliest childhood. His lessons in music, therefore, have been few and far between, and he has been for the most part self-taught in harmony, counterpoint and theory. In Milan, he studied for a while with Frugatta, and then in Rome he took a course of ten lessons in orchestration with Respighi. Subsequently, he studied composition with Alfredo Casella, who not only influenced Rieti in his musical approach and outlook, but who was an all- important factor in bringing Rieti his first recognition. It was Casella who was the first to perform one of Rieti's works at an international festival held in Prague in 1924, the Concerto for Wind and Orchestra. And since that time, Casella has done much to spread Rieti's name out of Italy not only with his baton but also thru his writings and lectures.

____________________
Rieti: rē-ĕ′

-215-

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