Cover image for The American symphony
The American symphony
Butterworth, Neil, 1934-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Aldershot [England] ; Brookfield [Vt.] : Ashgate, [1998]

Physical Description:
xii, 338 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML1255 .B985 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A history and analysis of why American composers continued to devote attention to a musical form which had been largely abandoned by their musical peers in Europe. Defining American rather broadly, the author explores the lives and works of such composers as Dvorak, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, William Schuman, Leonard Bernstein, and Samuel Barber. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This survey of symphonies by Americans, from Colonial times to the present, is not meant for beginning music students. It contains no introductory material on either the symphonic genre itself or on its great European practitioners. However, those readers who already know what a symphony is and who are interested in musical Americans will find much to delight them. Butterworth includes composers of every generation and stylistic persuasion, from Anthony Philip Heinrich and John Knowles Paine to Amy Beach, Ives, Copland, Sessions, Still, Harbison--the list of composers and works is formidable. Some are discussed in detail, many others mentioned in passing. Though this reviewer wishes the definitions of "symphony" and "American" had been sufficiently expanded to include, say, Ives's Three Places in New England, the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, and Lukas Foss's Baroque Variations, this volume will serve as a fine resource on an all-too-little-known subject. An excellent bibliography and discography make it especially valuable. There are a few factual errors and typos (Ives's home state listed as Massachusetts rather than Connecticut; a "t" added to Gerard Schwarz's last name), which US readers will take in stride but which may confuse others. One hopes these errors will be corrected in another printing. All general and academic collections. E. Schwartz; Bowdoin College