Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s

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Oxford University Press, 16 nov 2000 - 512 pagine
New York City witnessed a dazzling burst of creativity in the 1920s. In this pathbreaking study, Carol J. Oja explores this artistic renaissance from the perspective of composers of classical and modern music, who along with writers, painters, and jazz musicians, were at the heart of early modernism in America. She also illustrates how the aesthetic attitudes and institutional structures from the 1920s left a deep imprint on the arts over the 20th century. Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Virgil Thomson, William Grant Still, Edgar Varèse, Henry Cowell, Leo Ornstein, Marion Bauer, George Antheil-these were the leaders of a talented new generation of American composers whose efforts made New York City the center of new music in the country. They founded composer societies--such as the International Composers' Guild, the League of Composers, the Pan American Association, and the Copland-Sessions Concerts--to promote the performance of their music, and they nimbly negotiated cultural boundaries, aiming for recognition in Western Europe as much as at home. They showed exceptional skill at marketing their work. Drawing on extensive archival material--including interviews, correspondence, popular periodicals, and little-known music manuscripts--Oja provides a new perspective on the period and a compelling collective portrait of the figures, puncturing many longstanding myths. American composers active in New York during the 1920s are explored in relation to the "Machine Age" and American Dada; the impact of spirituality on American dissonance; the crucial, behind-the-scenes role of women as patrons and promoters of modernist music; cross-currents between jazz and concert music; the critical reception of modernist music (especially in the writings of Carl Van Vechten and Paul Rosenfeld); and the international impulse behind neoclassicism. The book also examines the persistent biases of the time, particularly anti-Semitisim, gender stereotyping, and longstanding racial attitudes.

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Making music modern: New York in the 1920s

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With this superb exploration of the classical music scene in New York City during the 1920s and early 1930s, Oja (music and American studies, Coll. of William and Mary) adds to her list of well ... Leggi recensione completa

Pagine selezionate


The Modern Music Shop
Enter the Moderns
The Machine in the Concert Hall
Spirituality and American Dissonance
Myths and Institutions
New World Neoclassicism
European Modernists and American Critics
Widening Horizons
Selected Discography
Programs of ModernMusic Societies in New York 19201931
Selected Bibliography

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Pagina 177 - Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds — religious, moral serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found...
Pagina 225 - It is indeed striking to observe how the political, psychological, and aesthetic discourse around the turn of the century consistently and obsessively genders mass culture and the masses as feminine, while high culture, whether traditional or modern, clearly remains the privileged realm of male activities.
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Pagina 201 - This she might not attempt. It was unladylike. Why? Why were most big things unladylike? Charlotte had once explained to her why. It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves.
Pagina xiii - There is singularly nothing that makes a difference a difference in beginning and in the middle and in ending except that each generation has something different at which they are all looking. By this I mean so simply that anybody knows it that composition is the difference which makes each and all of them then different from other generations and this is what makes everything different otherwise they are all alike and everybody knows it because everybody says it.
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Pagina 21 - Our personality, which is being built up each instant with its accumulated experience, changes without ceasing. By changing, it prevents any state, although superficially identical with another, from ever repeating it in its very depth.
Pagina 64 - As he grew accustomed to the great gallery of machines, he began to feel the forty-foot dynamos as a moral force, much as the early Christians felt the Cross. The planet itself seemed less impressive, in its old-fashioned, deliberate, annual or daily revolution, than this huge wheel, revolving within...

Informazioni sull'autore (2000)

Carol Oja is William Powell Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University. She is co-editor of Aaron Copland and his World, as well as author of Colin McPhee: Composer in Two Worlds, which won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, and American Music Recordings: A Discography of U.S. Composers.

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