The Wind Band Music of Henry Cowell

The Wind Band Music of Henry Cowell

by Jeremy Brown

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Overview

The Wind Band Music of Henry Cowell studies the compositions for wind band by twentieth-century composer Henry Cowell, a significant and prolific figure in American fine art music from 1914-1965. The composer is noteworthy and controversial because of his radical early works, his interest in non-Western musics, and his retrogressive mature style-along with notoriety for his imprisonment in San Quentin on a morals charge. Eleven chapters are organized both topically and chronologically. An introduction, conclusion, series of eight appendices, bibliography, and discography complete this comprehensive study, along with an audio playlist of representative works, hosted on the CMS website.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780367592189
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 08/16/2020
Series: CMS Monographs and Sourcebooks in American Music
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jeremy S. Brown is Professor of Music at the University of Calgary and the lead compiler of the Royal Conservatory of Music's inaugural Saxophone Series.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations: Facsimilies of Manuscripts and Printed Music, Photographs, and Poetic Texts x

Tabular Information xiii

Foreword: From the Series Editor xiv

Preface: From the Author xvi

Abbreviations for Sigla xviii

Treatment of Titles xix

1 Introduction: Destined to Compose for Wind Band 1

A Brief Overview of American Wind Band History 4

Details of Cowell's Arrest and Sentencing 7

Prison Composer and Musician 9

A Note on Dating Cowell's Compositions 11

Isolation from the Musical Mainstream 12

2 The Genesis of the Early Band Works 21

San Quentin State Prison 22

A Conspiracy of Bandsmen 25

Cowell and the San Quentin Concert Band 36

Sidney Robertson Cowell's Views of Cowell's Band Music 41

"The Jute Mill Works" 43

Hypothetical Questions 45

3 Celtic Set for Band: The Countless California Confluences 51

Discovering "Irishness" with the Help of Percy Grainger 51

"Chrysanthemums" 54

Cowell's Devotion to Writing for the Wind Band 59

Making Contact: Expressions of Admiration 62

4 The Celtic Set Letters from Cowell to Grainger, 1937-1940 69

The Dialogue Begins 70

A Summer of Unexpected Pleasures 75

Grainger's Band Shell Letter of 24 August 1939 81

A New Cellblock Routine 85

Parole and Release into the Custody of Grainger 89

The Final Weeks at San Quentin 91

5 Celtic Set-Composed by Cowell, Edited by Grainger, Rescored by Goldman 97

Origins 98

Early Performances 99

"Reel" ("Interlochen Camp Reel") 101

"Caoine" 108

"Hornpipe" 113

A Speculation 115

6 Cowell on His Own: Sublime Wind Band Music 123

The Cowell Approach 123

"Air for Band" 125

"Shoonthree" 133

The Realization of the Wind Ensemble Concept 141

7 Unpublished Band Works for Friends and Fellow Prisoners, 1938-1940 145

"Herman's Wedding March" 146

"Quaint Minuet" 146

"Crystal Set" and "Quaint Minuet" 148

Vox Humana 150

"The Exuberant Mexican: Danza Latina for Band" 157

"Christ lag in Todesbanden" 157

Polonaise by Chopin 159

Symphony No. 3 for Band with Strings 160

Easter Music 161

"Fire and Ice" 161

8 On Parole: Compositions for Band 169

Birthday Gifts for Grainger 171

"Blarneying Lilt" 173

Shipshape Overture 176

Little Concerto for Piano and Band 182

Festive Occasion 193

Coda 200

9 Works for Band, 1942-1950 205

"Animal Magic of the Alaskan Esquimo" 205

Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 1 211

"Grandma's Rhumba" 221

A Pedagogiical Study in the Spirit of Grainger 228

A Curse and a Blessing 229

10 "Simplification with Substance": 1950-1965 245

Fantasie 246

Singing Band 255

11 Conclusions 269

An Original Wind Band Scoring 269

An American Work Ethic and Inspiration in Adversity 275

Cowell's Transethnk Aesthetic vs. the Eurocentric Mantra 276

The Spiritual Power of Music and the Absence of Rage 278

Bibliography: Suggested Further Reading 285

Discography: Recorded Performances 287

Appendix 1 The Wind Band Works of Cowell: A Classification 289

Appendix 2 The Unfinished Band Works of Cowell 295

Appendix 3 Inventory of Letters Consulted 297

Appendix 4 Grainger's Letter of Support for Cowell's Parole 303

Appendix 5 Scoring Comparison of the Four Versions of Celtic Set 305

Appendix 6 A Henry Cowell / Ben Weber Curiosity 311

Appendix 7 Directions to Cowell's New York Home 313

Appendix 8 The Cowell Collective 315

Index 1 Titles of Musical and Literary Works 317

Index 2 Names and Subjects 321

Playlist: Recorded Examples 325

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