Unfortunately, very few – close to zero – living classical music fans have heard of many wonderful 19th Century, American orchestral works, because they were rarely performed by orchestras of the time, who preferred to play it safe with Brahms, Beethoven and other European masters. The works, including the “Gaelic” Symphony by Amy Beach, were nearly forgotten until a Vanderbilt University musicologist became determined to rescue them.
Doug Shadle, assistant professor of musicology at Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt, has been studying about 50 American composers active in the 1800s. They are the subject of his new book, Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise (Oxford University Press).
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