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Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2994913 06/24/20 09:18 PM
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My favourite American composer is Ives.

Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2994967 06/25/20 04:10 AM
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David Thomas Roberts


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2995000 06/25/20 07:45 AM
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I thought I have never played any 'pieces' by an American composer, but just now I remembered I did play one. It's Round Midnight by Cootie Williams and Thelonious Monk (Moderately slow in 2, 6 pages, 96 measures, WB Deluxe Edition, 1944, 1982, don't know who arranged this particular version) and I really really liked it too.

Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2995037 06/25/20 09:13 AM
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There are so many American composers who wrote interesting piano works...here are a few that I like, in no particular order:

Norman Dello Joio: Piano Sonata no. 3
Charles Griffes: Sonata, The White Peacock, Scherzo
Abram Chasins: Rush Hour in Hong Kong
Edward MacDowell: Sonata no. 4 "Keltic"
Leonard Pennario: Midnight on the Cliffs
Samuel Barber: Nocturne (Homage to John Field) op.33
Leo Ornstein: Piano Sonata no. 4
Philip Glass: Metamorphosis

Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2995057 06/25/20 10:49 AM
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I'm not sure I've heard many piano pieces by American composers besides Gershwin (I don't like him) and Glass (sounds almost annoying to me). OTOH I like American symphonists such as Howard Hanson, Walter Piston, Roy Harris, William Schuman, David Diamond.

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/25/20 10:49 AM.

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Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2995398 06/26/20 10:29 AM
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Everything I hear by Florence Price continues to impress me. She has a piano sonata and one-movement concerto that’s fantastic.

I also obsess over Samuel Barber’s piano concerto.

EDIT: Rachmaninoff became a USA citizen grin

Last edited by Orange Soda King; 06/26/20 10:32 AM.
Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2995421 06/26/20 11:12 AM
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Been learning Florence Price's piano sonata and am in love with it - it's only been recorded a handful of times, but it's a fabulous piece, and as I'm playing with the interpretation I'm finding a lot of interesting possibilities. She also has a fabulous piano concerto (labeled one movement, but has two distinct, pretty much full pauses, so feels pretty much like a short 3-movement concerto).

William Grant Still wasn't a pianist, but he's got some really good piano music - Seven Traceries is in my lineup, though I haven't started working on it yet.

Scott Joplin was also the first composer I got really interested in - the only album I ever recorded was a Joplin album. I always felt there's way more to his piano pieces than most performances manage to capture, and that his intentions leaned more classical than jazz.

I've also always adored Barber, but never got around to playing his music - I love his sonata but I don't often have time for large-scale works like that (my main gig isn't classical piano).

As a theater music director, I also have to plug Sondheim, Adam Guettel, and Jason Robert Brown, whose piano parts are a blast.

On a totally different end of the spectrum, I occasionally like reading through Revolutionary-era piano pieces. They're all pretty much hot garbage, but they're entertaining, if only because it's a subcategory of American music that's gone (probably rightfully) largely unrecorded. Most of the Revolutionary-era sonatas are part of the same military-sonata genre that Beethoven's infamously-bad "Wellington's Victory" comes from. They're all similarly uninteresting.

Last edited by BenjaminDoyle91; 06/26/20 11:14 AM.
Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2995624 06/26/20 07:28 PM
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I should never forget about popular song writer Stephen Collins Foster. I love putting his songs to piano.

Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2996335 06/28/20 10:42 AM
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My favorite composer from America, and possibly of all, is Edward MacDowell. His second piano concerto in D minor (Op. 23) and his Witches' Dance (Op. 17, No. 2) are both excellent pieces that in my (lowly) opinion, should be standard again. (They were both standard repertoire pieces until World War II)

I actually have a copy of a book about MacDowell's life at home, a biography if you well, written by E. Douglas Bomberger. From what I understood, MacDowell was against the idea of "nationalism" in music and despised being called the "first great American composer", because he was simply out to write great music. MacDowell constantly called for "internationalism" in music, rather than "nationalism", calling the latter nonsense.

He was more of an American Grieg than anything else - he even exchanged a few letters with Grieg for that matter. The Third Piano Sonata "Norse" (Op. 57) is dedicated to Grieg.

I'm a huge fan of MacDowell.


Pianist-in-training. Also an 19 year old who hasn't grown up at heart.

Fanboy of Edward MacDowell
Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iaintagreatpianist #2996381 06/28/20 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by iaintagreatpianist
[...] MacDowell was against the idea of "nationalism" in music and despised being called the "first great American composer", because he was simply out to write great music. MacDowell constantly called for "internationalism" in music, rather than "nationalism", calling the latter nonsense.

He was more of an American Grieg than anything else - he even exchanged a few letters with Grieg for that matter. The Third Piano Sonata "Norse" (Op. 57) is dedicated to Grieg.
[...]

That's an interesting contradiction - for lack of a more appropriate word - given that there was hardly a more "national" composer than Edvard Grieg. He was even the founder of the Norwegian national school of music.

So if, as you say, MacDowell was an "American Grieg," was he a nationalist composer in spite of himself?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iamandrew3 #2996411 06/28/20 01:17 PM
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This topic has got me to thinking about some of the music in my collection which I never got around to picking out on the piano. I just played through one of the Poems after Omar Khayyam by Arthur Foote, which was really nice.

I have played through some of John Alden Carpenter's music, which is worthwhile.

I like Cowell's music better than Ives', but there is a lot of it that has specific requirements for one's body that I do not have.

Antheil wrote a lot of different music, some of which is better than others. I tried picking through his 4th sonata, which looked fun. Who can resist a suite with movements Practice Hours Are Long, In Spain with Mr. Hemingway, and Someday We'll Like Stravinsky?

I really should go through more of the children's music. There are suites by Roy Harris and Norman Della Joio, maybe others. Everyone should have the Masters of our Day collection from Fischer, with music by Copland, Cowell, Isadore Freed, Howard Hanson, Darius Milhaud, Douglas Moore, Roger Sessions, Deems Taylor, Randall Thompson, and Virgil Thomson.

Zez Confrey's music is a lot like Leroy Anderson, bridging between popular and classical. Confrey's music is mostly piano, while there are piano reductions of Anderson's, and they are both available as fairly complete editions.


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Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
BruceD #2996413 06/28/20 01:20 PM
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Lol Bruce, we'd all be homeless if not for our ivory towers! Iaintagreatpianist is a young punk I'm sure, and so am I!

Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
BruceD #2997090 06/30/20 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by iaintagreatpianist
[...] MacDowell was against the idea of "nationalism" in music and despised being called the "first great American composer", because he was simply out to write great music. MacDowell constantly called for "internationalism" in music, rather than "nationalism", calling the latter nonsense.

He was more of an American Grieg than anything else - he even exchanged a few letters with Grieg for that matter. The Third Piano Sonata "Norse" (Op. 57) is dedicated to Grieg.
[...]

That's an interesting contradiction - for lack of a more appropriate word - given that there was hardly a more "national" composer than Edvard Grieg. He was even the founder of the Norwegian national school of music.

So if, as you say, MacDowell was an "American Grieg," was he a nationalist composer in spite of himself?

Regards,
No, I don't think so. When I call MacDowell an "American Grieg" I'm referring to his output in music being astonishingly similar to Grieg.

Both composers contributed a large amount of excellent miniatures. Both of them also wrote many large pieces, but in regards to well-known large pieces by either composer, the only thing that'll pop in your mind is a Piano Concerto.

(Grieg only finished one piano concerto, the one in A minor, although he tried to write a second in B minor; MacDowell is better known for his Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, rather than his Piano Concerto No. 1 in A minor.)

MacDowell's only real "nationalist" piece that comes to mind is his "Indian" Suite, Op. 48, which uses alot of Native American melodies. This piece may have been composed as a response to Dvorak, who said that American composers should stop trying to copy Europe, and use African-American melodies.

So no, I don't think MacDowell was truly a nationalist composer in spite of being referred to as an "American Grieg" by myself (and by André Watts for that matter, I remember him saying that in a YouTube lecture posted by Nashville Symphony).

MacDowell was an American composer, but he was fully embracing the Romanticism of Europe, rather than the sounds of America.


Pianist-in-training. Also an 19 year old who hasn't grown up at heart.

Fanboy of Edward MacDowell
Re: Your favorite"American" composer-piano pieces
iaintagreatpianist #2997199 06/30/20 05:13 PM
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Just checked out his Norse Sonata. Pretty good. Many twists and turns emotionally in a relatively short piece.

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