The history of American classical music : MacDowell through minimalism /

Main Author: Struble, John Warthen.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: [New York] : Facts On File, c1995.
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Review by Choice Review

Those who believe that only white men working primarily in the eastern US produced all American classical music worth noting will find much to like about this book. Struble clearly knows his people well and provides interesting biographical sketches of his favorites. It is therefore unfortunate that a book that could have made a step forward in defining the nature of American classical music is curiously backward-looking. Coverage of Copland's career is thorough, though one might ask whether Struble has overrated the quality of his music and the extent of his influence. Material on Ives is plentiful, yet the most recent materials and controversies about his work are unacknowledged. The tables in the appendixes are generally useful, but they contain some avoidable errors; and the list of "fundamental repertoire" omits entirely such major living figures as Miriam Gideon, Vivian Fine, and Louise Talma. Most important, Struble treats the music superficially (the book contains no musical examples), and one must question the expertise of a music historian who thinks that polyphony began with Leonin and credits Palestrina with the codification of functional tonality. One must also question the savvy of an author who attempts a history of American classical music but ignores more than half the country and two-thirds of its population. General and lower-division academic collections. K. Pendle; University of Cincinnati

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.