From Psalm to Symphony: A History of Music in New England

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UPNE, 2001 - History - 466 pages
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Beginning with the Pilgrim and Puritan settlers on the rockbound wilderness of Massachusetts Bay, New Englanders have left an enduring imprint on America's musical landscape. Now musicologist Nicholas E. Tawa examines for the first time New England's rich heritage of music making over a span of 350 years.

In this sweeping chronological account, Tawa traces the region's fascinating history of art music from the psalm and hymn singing of the early colonists, to the works of native composers, to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He chronicles artistic developments within the context of the geographical, economic, cultural, and political currents that influenced and defined the area's musical experiences, and he describes how ongoing societal transformations and evolving forms of music have both enriched and reinvented a New England identity.

Focusing on the people who wanted, produced, and listened to music, Tawa's eloquent narrative underscores how musical life in New England has played a significant role in shaping the nation's music. He highlights the region's preeminence in music publishing, its outstanding contributions to the improvement and manufacture of instruments, its commitment to music education, and its leadership in establishing first-rate musical institutions. Also featured are New England's many gifted and skilled composers, including William Billings, John Knowles Paine, Arthur Foote, Amy Beach, Charles Ives, Frederick Shepherd Converse, Randall Thompson, Walter Piston, Gunther Schuller, and John Harbison.

This highly readable and informative volume will appeal to music aficionados, historians, and general readers alike.

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From Psalm to Symphony: a history of music in New England

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In this aptly titled book, Tawa (music, emeritus, Univ. of Massachusetts), a prolific author on American music, narrows his focus to art music in the New England (primarily Boston) area. Against a ... Read full review


Singing Schools and TeacherComposers
The Road into the Musical Future
Fostering Musical Improvement
j Toward a New Music Era i
Beach and Ives
o Redefining Tradition 2 7 i
PostWorld War I Period
after World War II
Composers Resident in New England

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About the author (2001)

Nicholas E. Tawa is Professor of Music, Emeritus, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of numerous articles and books on American music history, including Arthur Foote: A Musician in the Frame of Time and Place, American Composers and Their Public: A Critical Look, and High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861.

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