Cover image for Varied carols : a survey of American choral literature
Varied carols : a survey of American choral literature
DeVenney, David P., 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xi, 315 pages ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1330 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML1511 .D48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This survey of choral literature, written by American composers from 1760 through the 1990s, examines nearly 3,000 pieces of choral music written by over 300 composers. Along with a descriptive analysis, the literature is placed within a historical perspective. Familiar and less well-known composers and their music are examined. The study seeks to remedy the superficial treatment choral music is often given in standard textbooks on American music and to acknowledge and expose the varied richness of the literature.

Choral conductors and musicologists will appreciate the vast repertory of choral music literature examined. Organized chronologically, this study uniquely traces the development of choral music literature throughout the centuries. A select bibliography provides a useful guide for further research.

Author Notes

DAVID P. DEVENNEY is Assistant Professor of Music at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and the Music Director of the Reading Choral Society, one of America's oldest musical organizations.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

With this ambitious survey, a much needed overview of choral repertoire in the US, Colonial times to late 20th century, DeVenney broadens choral music histories beyond their European focus and adds a choral dimension to many general histories of US music. Commentary--for the most part short observations about individual works--is most substantive in two of the 20th-century chapters: "The Glory Years" (composers born during the second decade) and "Contemporary Composers: The Older Generation" (e.g., Vivian Fine, Barber, Menotti, and Bernstein). Although DeVenney can be more comprehensive in chapters about the 19th century than about the growing number of composers and compositions in the 20th, the two 20th-century sections will be especially useful for choral conductors seeking repertoire beyond the most-performed works. The final chapter, "Contemporary Composers: The Current Scene," includes some composers born in midcentury, but many are from the older generation both in birth date and style. Despite the prose format, this works best for reference and not continuous reading; the author makes no claim to be writing a history of choral music. Recommended for academic libraries serving upper-division undergraduates and above, and especially for choral conductors. J. M. Edwards; Macalester College

Table of Contents

Choral Music in Early America
The Early Nineteenth Century Composers of Mid-Nineteenth Century
The Beginning of a Classical Tradition Coming of Age
The Second New England School The End of the Century
Impressionism and the Flowering of Romanticism
A New Century
The Glory Years
The Glory Years II Contemporary Composers
The Older Generation Contemporary Composers
Current Scene
Selected Bibliography