Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music

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Oxford University Press, Jul 9, 2012 - Music - 624 pages
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Joel Sachs offers the first complete biography of one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century American music. Henry Cowell, a major musical innovator of the first half of the century, left a rich body of compositions spanning a wide range of styles. But as Sachs shows, Cowell's legacy extends far beyond his music. He worked tirelessly to create organizations such as the highly influential New Music Quarterly, New Music Recordings, and the Pan-American Association of Composers, through which great talents like Ruth Crawford Seeger and Charles Ives first became known in the US and abroad. As one of the first Western advocates for World Music, he used lectures, articles, and recordings to bring other musical cultures to myriad listeners and students including John Cage and Lou Harrison, who attributed their life work to Cowell's influence. Finally, Sachs describes the tragedy of Cowell's life, being sentenced to fifteen years in San Quentin -- of which he served four -- after pleading guilty to a morals charge that even the prosecutor felt was trivial. Providing a wealth of insight into Cowell's ideas and philosophy, Joel Sachs lays out a much-needed perspective on one of the giants of twentieth-century American music.
 

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Contents

ThirtyNine
PART FOUR FOUR ENDLESS YEARS
Life Stops
The Hearing
The First Summer
The Second Day of Reckoning
Living with
Living with It Continued

The Expanding Circle
Beginning Bicoastal Life
Genesis of a Theoretical System
Henry Goes to
Marketing Henry
PART TWO INTERNATIONAL ULTRAMODERNIST VIRTUOSO
The Trio
Conquering Europe First Attempt 1923
Attacking the American Market
Europe Again 1926
Making It in America Scene 2
Europe Third Installment 1929
New Musical Resources
New Projects and Old 19291931
PART THREE THE FRENETIC YEARS
Looking beyond Europe from Berlin
American Interlude
Berlin Again
The End of Virtuosity
The New Technologies
Collapsing Dreams
American Composition or Americanist Music
Surveying the Larger Musical World
Music and Politics
Henry and His Circle
A Doomed Romance
Compositions of 19291936
The Melody Book and Other Ideas
Toward the Exit
PART FIVE LIFE RESUMES
The First Six Months
First Turning Point
Problem Solved
End of an
The War Effort
Old Friendships Renewed
Figs
A Settled Life
Simplicity
Collaborations and an Ives Biography
Europe Again
The Big Trip
Iran I
India
Iran II
Change of Plans
A New Radicalism 19571961
Asia Again
Years of Honor 19611963
Home Again 19631964
Who Was Henry Cowell?
Selective Bibliography
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Joel Sachs is Professor of Music History, Chamber Music, and New Music Performance at The Juilliard School, where he conducts the New Juilliard Ensemble.

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