Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise

 
9780190914479: Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise
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During the nineteenth century, nearly one hundred symphonies were written by over fifty composers living in the United States. With few exceptions, this repertoire is virtually forgotten today. In Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise, author Douglas W. Shadle explores the stunning stylistic diversity of this substantial repertoire and uncovers why it failed to enter the musical mainstream.

Throughout the century, Americans longed for a distinct national musical identity. As the most prestigious of all instrumental genres, the symphony proved to be a potent vehicle in this project as composers found inspiration for their works in a dazzling array of subjects, including Niagara Falls, Hiawatha, and Western pioneers. With a wealth of musical sources at his disposal, including never-before-examined manuscripts, Shadle reveals how each component of the symphonic enterprise-from its composition, to its performance, to its immediate and continued reception by listeners and critics-contributed to competing visions of American identity.

Employing an innovative transnational historical framework, Shadle's narrative covers three continents and shows how the music of major European figures such as Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Liszt, Brahms, and Dvorák exerted significant influence over dialogues about the future of American musical culture. Shadle demonstrates that the perceived authority of these figures allowed snobby conductors, capricious critics, and even orchestral musicians themselves to thwart the efforts of American symphonists despite widespread public support of their music. Consequently, these works never entered the performing canons of American orchestras.

An engagingly written account of a largely unknown repertoire, Orchestrating the Nation shows how artistic and ideological debates from the nineteenth century continue to shape the culture of American orchestral music today.

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About the Author:


Douglas W. Shadle is currently Assistant Professor of Musicology at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Review:


"More than anything else, Orchestrating the Nation illuminates the origins and myriad strategies of the classical music world's eternal animus against American composers."--PostClassic


"Absorbing." --New Yorker


"Superb." --New York Times


"[Shadle] delves deeply into the forgotten history of symphonic composition by Americans born between 1777 and 1874...in his exhaustively researched text." -- Symphony Magazine


"By the 19th century, an impressive body of American symphonic works had emerged; however, it has been only briefly covered in standard course texts on American music...Filling this obvious void, Shadle (Vanderbilt Univ.) provides an excellent, painstakingly detailed study of those American works, including musical examples, structural-narrative analyses, illustrations, and photographs of composers. He investigates why more recent American composers chose to write symphonic works that would be subjected to German-influenced criticism, what made them believe it was an enterprise worth pursuing, and the creative impulses behind these works. An invaluable resource for those studying the history of American concert music...Highly recommended."--Choice


"Orchestrating the Nation contains much valuable new research. A broad spectrum of critical commentary, well beyond the reactionary Dwight, is presented, bringing into focus the competing agendas that emerged in the search for a national voice in music."--Gramophone


"Shadle...provides a string of interesting portraits of individual American composers...and the impassioned debate their works engendered."--BBC Music Magazine


"Shadle's Orchestrating the Nation unveils a significant chapter in music history in a form that is informative, engaging, and appealing to both scholars and music lovers. The author has convincingly brought the nineteenth-century American symphonic enterprise back into academia."--H-Nationalism


"[A] praiseworthy contribution to music history..."--Journal of Musicological Research


"Shadle has produced a book that is a delight to read, with discoveries on virtually every page and written in a style that impels the reader onward. The non-musician need not fear getting entangled in dense music analysis or running up against incomprehensible jargon: the author has a talent for the nontechnical description of musical processes...a most welcome addition to the core literature about music in nineteenth-century America."--Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era


"Douglas W Shadle's pioneering Orchestrating the Nation charts the turbulent course of 'The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise' (as its subtitle has it) with scholarly detail and illuminating commentary. He estimates around 100 symphonies were produced by American-born or domiciled composers during the century. Initially derivative of their European counterparts, successive generations went to the land, to native folklore and to politics to source an authentic sound...With a companion website offering musical excerpts of works discussed, this is an invaluable introduction to a woefully neglected aspect of American music making."--Classical Music


"Douglas W. Shadle's monograph Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise is a major contribution to the scholarship of this time period. Taking as his subject a body of music that even late-nineteenth-century American critics refused to acknowledge, Shadle unearths, analyzes, and advocates for a repertoire that has been erased almost completely from the historical and performance record. Indeed, the manner of that forgetting is at the heart of this book as his topic is 'the very processes through which listeners confer value upon composers, pieces of music, and the act of composition itself.' (p. 3) ... Well written with a dry wit that enlivens the prose, Orchestrating the Nation is an important contribution to the study of the symphony in the nineteenth century. -- Transposition. Musique et sciences sociales


"This book is accessible to a variety of audiences. For a reader with limited or no knowledge of music notation, Shadle and Oxford University Press have put together a straightforward companion website that includes audio clips of the music discussed in each chapter. Shadle also includes and extensive list of American periodicals available digitally ... Shadle provides readers with an engaging introduction to a vast repertoire that is glossed over in music history texts, if mentioned at all, and entices the reader to enter in an aural representation of a developing national identity." -- Notes


"Shadle's prose is clear and elegant, with delightful turns of phrase. He makes his points neatly, and often seasoned with a clever yet incisive wit. In addition, his musical analyses, while necessarily brief but never superficial, similarly use language in a way that both describes and evokes the sounds of the music itself. In a word, Shadle's writing sings. The notated musical examples are gratifyingly accessible as recorded audio clips on the book's companion Web site."--The Journal of American History


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2018. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. During the nineteenth century, nearly one hundred symphonies were written by over fifty composers living in the United States. With few exceptions, this repertoire is virtually forgotten today. In the award-winning Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise, author Douglas W. Shadle explores the stunning stylistic diversity of this substantial repertoire and uncovers why it failed to enter the musical mainstream.Throughout the century, Americans longed for a distinct national musical identity. As the most prestigious of all instrumental genres, the symphony proved to be a potent vehicle in this project as composers found inspiration for their works in a dazzling array of subjects, including Niagara Falls, Hiawatha, and Western pioneers. With a wealth of musical sources at his disposal, including never-before-examined manuscripts, Shadle reveals how each component of the symphonic enterprise-from itscomposition, to its performance, to its immediate and continued reception by listeners and critics-contributed to competing visions of American identity.Employing an innovative transnational historical framework, Shadle's narrative covers three continents and shows how the music of major European figures such as Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Liszt, Brahms, and Dvorak exerted significant influence over dialogues about the future of American musical culture. Shadle demonstrates that the perceived authority of these figures allowed snobby conductors, capricious critics, and even orchestral musicians themselves to thwart the efforts of Americansymphonists despite widespread public support of their music. Consequently, these works never entered the performing canons of American orchestras.An engagingly written account of a largely unknown repertoire, Orchestrating the Nation shows how artistic and ideological debates from the nineteenth century continue to shape the culture of American orchestral music today. Seller Inventory # BZE9780190914479

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