GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2011, 02:42:24 PM

Title: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2011, 02:42:24 PM
(http://www.cyberbass.com/images/Composers/bernstein.jpg) (http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5220/5473367205_7306dff37b.jpg)

(http://www.jmwc.org/images/JACOBI1950d.jpg) (http://www.stringconsulting.com/JosephAchron.jpg)

(http://www.nndb.com/people/990/000091717/ernest-bloch.jpg) (http://www.schirmer.com/images/news/schirmer-1343-01.jpg)

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/252/93890.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c9/Hugo_Weisgall.jpg/220px-Hugo_Weisgall.jpg)


First row from left to right: Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss
Second row: Frederick Jacobi, Joseph Achron
Third row: Ernest Bloch, David Diamond
Fourth row: William Schuman, Hugo Weisgall

I figured this thread will be a good way to discuss the music of Jewish American composers. Please share your thoughts about your own experiences with this truly eclectic group of composers.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: DavidRoss on March 02, 2011, 06:15:15 PM
Don't forget
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/programmes/images/gershwin.jpg) & (http://www.bandroom.com/bcp/resources/composerseries/Copland.JPG)

or

(http://www.nndb.com/people/296/000114951/morton-feldman-sm.jpg) & (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_p2gmq6jlgZc/TIJoAKjWLtI/AAAAAAAAAIo/4eGCZiyBqTk/s1600/Philip-Glass.jpg)

and

(http://www.beatportal.com/uploads/news/1204143971_Reich3_442x280.jpg) & (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Bk-wO-1564s/SeAG8_7-3OI/AAAAAAAABjY/rRp03WLi7qs/s400/bob_dylan_l.jpg)
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2011, 07:46:45 PM
Don't forget
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/programmes/images/gershwin.jpg) & (http://www.bandroom.com/bcp/resources/composerseries/Copland.JPG)

or

(http://www.nndb.com/people/296/000114951/morton-feldman-sm.jpg) & (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_p2gmq6jlgZc/TIJoAKjWLtI/AAAAAAAAAIo/4eGCZiyBqTk/s1600/Philip-Glass.jpg)

and

(http://www.beatportal.com/uploads/news/1204143971_Reich3_442x280.jpg)

Of course not! I could never forgot these composers. I just wanted to showcase more of the Jewish composers that don't get talked about much like Achron, Foss, or Jacobi.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 03, 2011, 02:09:38 AM
A more interesting question would be non-Jewish American composers (besides Blacks of course). Are there even any? Seems like Americans continued that fine Anglo-Saxon tradition of sucking at music (and the Jewish ones aren't that great to begin with, now that i think of it). Without Africans America would be as musically barren as Britain was for centuries.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 03, 2011, 02:14:35 AM
I just wanted to showcase more of the Jewish composers that don't get talked about

Yet, you didn't even bother mentioning their names.

Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 03, 2011, 02:21:33 AM
A more interesting question would be non-Jewish American composers (besides Blacks of course). Are there even any?

Now there's a dumb question.

By the way, the "Anglo-Saxon tradition of sucking at music" is a Romantic-era perspective. In the 16th and 17th centuries, England was one of the major hotspots of European art music, producing major composers like Byrd, Tallis, Dowland, Gibbons, and Purcell.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: DavidRoss on March 03, 2011, 08:27:50 AM
Is there something distinctively jewish about jewish-American composers? Something distinctive about their music that would characterize it as jewish? No.
(Is there something distinctively American about the music of American composers that would mark it off as America, distinguish it from European music?) Yes...but not all American composers.

But [Milhaud] does not appear to have taken up American citizenship. Would that have made him an American anyways? Are Varese and Marcel Duchamp Americans? Really?
We've touched on this topic before.  My perspective, FWIW, is that those who either took American citizenship or established permanent residence for the remainder of their lives are quintessentially American.  We are a nation of immigrants, a nation bound together not by genetic heritage and the accident of birth but rather by choice and our commitment to shared fundamental values.  That is not to say, however, that the music of a composers like Stravinsky or Rachmaninoff is characteristically "American."
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: springrite on March 03, 2011, 08:44:11 AM

I suppose one could make the argument that because all Jews share a certain response to the world because of collective persecution over the centuries, it may subconsciously influence their expression of music and other arts - but that would be pretty subtle.  And I don't find a composer like Aaron Copland representing "Jewish-music", he sounds very non-Jewish, actually, with works like Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Billy the Kid, and the bulk of his music, at least the music he is most known for.

Good point. Being not Jewish but having so many Jewish friends and knowing quite a bit about the culture, I find Bloch's music to be the most Jewish-sounding. Some of Lenny's music as well.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2011, 08:56:59 AM
Yet, you didn't even bother mentioning their names.

Done.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2011, 09:02:01 AM
A more interesting question would be non-Jewish American composers (besides Blacks of course). Are there even any? Seems like Americans continued that fine Anglo-Saxon tradition of sucking at music (and the Jewish ones aren't that great to begin with, now that i think of it). Without Africans America would be as musically barren as Britain was for centuries.

You're a very ignorant person. You NEVER have anything positive to add to a discussion and your game of trying to pick an argument with someone is just tiring.

Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 03, 2011, 09:32:36 AM
Is there something distinctively jewish about jewish-American composers? Something distinctive about their music that would characterize it as jewish?

Yes, sometimes.

Quote
(Is there something distinctively American about the music of American composers that would mark it off as America, distinguish it from European music?)

Yes, sometimes.

Quote
Paul Bowles

Is Bowles at all noteworthy as a composer? I know him only as a writer.

Quote
Are Varese and Marcel Duchamp Americans? Really?

Dunno about Duchamp, but I would definitely consider Varese an American composer, based on 1. length of residence and US citizenship; 2. the fact that almost his entire oeuvre was composed in the US; and 3. the fact that so much of his inspiration is connected with America and the type of industrial civilization he found there. But who says he can't be both French and American? Like a lot of composers, he's a hybrid of nationalities.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: vandermolen on March 04, 2011, 05:57:46 AM
(and the Jewish ones aren't that great to begin with, now that i think of it).

Don't agree as I think that Copland (Symphony No 3), Diamond (Symphony No 3) and William Schuman (Symphony 3 and 6) are very fine composers. Also I rate Bernstein's 'Jeremiah' very highly and much of Bloch (SQ No 1 for example).
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 04, 2011, 10:39:14 AM
Don't agree as I think that Copland (Symphony No 3), Diamond (Symphony No 3) and William Schuman (Symphony 3 and 6) are very fine composers. Also I rate Bernstein's 'Jeremiah' very highly and much of Bloch (SQ No 1 for example).

But they are still not as good as their European counterparts, including the Jewish ones. Something very odd about American culture when it comes to certain art forms.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2011, 07:28:08 PM
But they are still not as good as their European counterparts, including the Jewish ones. Something very odd about American culture when it comes to certain art forms.

The only thing odd is with your ears. You clearly have no idea what you're even talking about and it shows. American music at its best owes nothing to European models and everything to the spontaneity of its own art.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2011, 08:36:28 PM
Darius Milhaud, whom I'm listening to right now.

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/5095663/Darius+Milhaud+milhaud.jpg)

Milhaud is one of my favorite composers. His music is so beautiful. Some people can't stomach all of the polytonal aspects of his music, but I think he used this compositional technique to brilliant effect and, in fact, made this concept incredibly accessible to the listener. Most people don't understand his art, which, in most cases, is so full of joyfulness and has a very positive outlook, but serious listeners will find the more they dig into his massive output, the more they find some depth and beauty like, for example, the slow movements in his Symphony No. 6 or the tender moments in the Sacred Service. His neglect in my opinion is shameful.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: The new erato on March 05, 2011, 02:18:04 AM
You forget guys like George Gershwin (Jacob Gershovitz), Irving Berlin (Izrail Bejlin) and Jerome Kern (born in New York to Jewish parents) - people of a musical genius fully up to the rest of the other names mentioned here.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 05, 2011, 02:43:34 AM
The only thing odd is with your ears. You clearly have no idea what you're even talking about and it shows. American music at its best owes nothing to European models and everything to the spontaneity of its own art.

American music at its best is not as great as European music at its best. That's my argument.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 05, 2011, 02:45:24 AM
Some people can't stomach all of the polytonal aspects of his music

Nonsense. The problem with Milhaud is that his music is as inexpressive and artificial as it gets.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: The new erato on March 05, 2011, 02:48:22 AM
Nonsense. The problem with Milhaud is that his music is as inexpressive and artificial as it gets.
Have you heard the 2nd violin concerto?

Though he certainly is an uneven composer from what I've heard, I find a statement like this about a composer having written nearly 500 opera wildly unbelievable - as I don't think you know more than a fraction of them.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 05, 2011, 07:48:37 AM
American music at its best is not as great as European music at its best. That's my argument.

Not much of an argument. Both arts are different. As I said, you clearly don't know what you're talking about.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 05, 2011, 07:50:39 AM
Nonsense. The problem with Milhaud is that his music is as inexpressive and artificial as it gets.

I seriously doubt you've heard much of Milhaud's music to make such an absurd assertion. You clearly don't get Milhaud and that's okay. It's not the composer's fault that you don't like the music.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Mirror Image on March 05, 2011, 07:52:44 AM
Have you heard the 2nd violin concerto?

Though he certainly is an uneven composer from what I've heard, I find a statement like this about a composer having written nearly 500 opera wildly unbelievable - as I don't think you know more than a fraction of them.

I wouldn't worry about him, erato. He never has anything positive to say about anything and he's always looking for an argument from other people for no reason.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 05, 2011, 08:41:42 AM
Not much of an argument. Both arts are different. As I said, you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

I don't find "Josquin's" statement controversial or objectionable. There's lots of good American music, sure - but are there any American composers who are the equal of Bach or Beethoven?

That said, it's kind of a pointless argument. I will continue to enjoy music from both sides of the Atlantic.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: Szykneij on March 05, 2011, 09:17:07 AM
I don't find "Josquin's" statement controversial or objectionable. There's lots of good American music, sure - but are there any American composers who are the equal of Bach or Beethoven?

Since both Bach and Beethoven were born before the United States existed, that's not surprising. Any American vrs. European comparison of classical music would have to start with the 20th century to make any sense at all.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: starrynight on January 22, 2012, 05:55:23 PM
We are a nation of immigrants, a nation bound together not by genetic heritage and the accident of birth but rather by choice and our commitment to shared fundamental values.

That's what politicians like people to think.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: some guy on January 22, 2012, 11:14:22 PM
American music at its best is not as great as European music at its best. That's my argument.
But that's not an argument. That's an assertion. Those are different things. An argument will include assertions, might even end with one, the kind we call "conclusion." But an assertion, alone, is definitely not an argument.

In any event, words like "best" and "great" are vague terms that need quite a hefty shovelful of facts and carefully reasoned opinions to hold any weight at all.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: vandermolen on January 23, 2012, 02:59:12 PM
Have recently been enjoying Bloch's 'Three Jewish Poems' - a fine work.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: TheGSMoeller on January 23, 2012, 10:04:15 PM
Paul Schoenfield.
Title: Re: Jewish American Composers
Post by: starrynight on January 24, 2012, 03:04:50 AM
But that's not an argument. That's an assertion. Those are different things. An argument will include assertions, might even end with one, the kind we call "conclusion." But an assertion, alone, is definitely not an argument.

In any event, words like "best" and "great" are vague terms that need quite a hefty shovelful of facts and carefully reasoned opinions to hold any weight at all.

Music isn't really a competition or sport anyway.  There can be good music from everywhere, and it's influence crosses all political or ethnic boundaries.  Music possibly more than any other art has a universality which looks to transcend both place and time, so limiting it by looking backwards at it ideologically can severely limit our vision of the individuality of a composer.