Edward Macdowell


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Macdowell, Edward

 

Born Dec. 18, 1861, in New York; died there Jan. 31, 1908. American composer and pianist of Scottish origin.

MacDowell studied piano under T. Carreüo in the USA and A. F. Marmontel in France, and composition under J. Raff in Germany. MacDowell’s creative personality was formed by the musical and literary traditions of German romanticism. In 1888 he moved to Boston, where he appeared in concerts of his own works as a pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. From 1896 to 1904, MacDowell was chairman and a professor of the department of music at Columbia University (New York), the first such institution in the USA to have such a department.

MacDowell was the first American composer to make use of Indian folklore (Second “Indian” Suite and other works). He sought to capture in music the specific traits of the American character and culture (program piano pieces and songs to the words of American poets) and the romance of the American outdoors. Short piano and vocal pieces of a lyrical character occupy the most important place in his creative work. He was attracted to program music (Tragica, Eroica, Norse, and Keltic sonatas, 1893-1901; three symphonic poems, and other works). MacDowell’s works have a lyrical, melodious character and are distinguished by a colorful harmony that is similar to that of E. Grieg and the early C. Debussy. Among his other compositions are two piano concerti, etudes, nearly 40 songs, and piano arrangements of orchestral compositions of A. P. Borodin and N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov. MacDowell greatly admired the works of Russian composers, especially P. I. Tchaikovsky.

REFERENCE

Konen, V. “Edvard Mak Douell.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1958, no. 9, pp. 81-86.
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Because Edward MacDowell's substantial solo piano output remains relatively underperformed, it is significant that Alfred Music has teamed up with Nancy Bachus to release a collection in three volumes of selected MacDowell works.
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For the second edition, Friedberg collaborated with Robin Fisher, associate professor of voice at Sacramento State University, to create a revised all-in-one volume that focuses on art song settings of American poetry by American composers from Edward MacDowell (1860-1908) to the present.
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Among the thousands of Americans who studied music in Germany during the second half of the nineteenth century, few stayed as long or developed ties as strong as Edward MacDowell (1860-1908).
Beginning with the piano concertos of Edward MacDowell and the large C#-minor Concerto for piano of Amy Beach, Roeder goes on to point out that the E-minor Cello Concerto of Victor Herbert became the impetus for Dvorak's famous Concerto in B minor of the same instrument, written a year later.
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Along the way, he authored an influential book on harmony, helped found the Music Teachers National Association, and succeeded Edward MacDowell as musical member of the venerable American Academy of Arts and Letters.