Dictionary of American Classical Composers

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9780415938488: Dictionary of American Classical Composers

First Published in 2005. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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About the Author:

Author Neil Butterworth, a recognized composer, is past Chair of the Dept. of Music at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He resides in Scotland.

From Booklist:

This second edition follows the first (called A Dictionary of American Composers and published by Garland) by 20 years and includes updated lists of works by the composers who are covered as well as entries that have been rewritten as appropriate. Though aiming for an informative and readable tone, the Dictionary tends toward the drily pedantic. It does, however, give a wealth of information on selected composers and their significant works and dates as well as biographical background.

Alphabetically arranged entries cover approximately 650 composers from the eighteenth century to the present. The first edition had more than 1,000 entries, and it is not clear why people were dropped. All of the composers are either American-born or naturalized citizens, in which case music written abroad is also discussed. All have had their music performed widely. Composers of light music, jazz, and popular songs are omitted, with the exception of Stephen Foster, included because of his historical significance. More than 200 black-and-white photographs satisfy curiosity as to how a composer looks.

An appendix listing American composers and their students is followed by a bibliography arranged by composer. There is no cross-referencing, but the index lists all "substantial" references to a composer. Musical compositions and other topics are all listed under composers' names in the index, however, so there is no way to find a piece of music without knowing the composer, or to link composers who share common traits.

The volume is unique among current music reference sources in its focus on Americans. Given the two decades between the first and second editions, this is a worthwhile addition to any college or university library supporting a music program. Ann Welton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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