44th out of 45 books — 4 voters
Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall
"An opinionated, stimulating account of how classical music failed to establish fruitful roots in America," Classical Music in America chronicles "a cultural attitude that has produced many fine artists and striking moments-but no institutional or intellectual support to sustain them" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). "An admirable, scholarly volume" (Tim...more
Hardcover, 624 pages
Published March 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company
(first published March 1st 2005)
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I suspect this book has the impact in musicology that "The World is Flat" has had in other fields. I see it referenced in journal articles, speeches at conferences, and so on. Basically, Horowitz believes that since classical music is not native to the United States, it is destined to become instinct. He chronicles (in detail) the history of the symphony, opera, the composer, and the performer, by focusing on specific examples. It's actually a great study of American classical music history, eve...more
Horowitz builds his case during the first half of the book before making his argument (no spoilers here), which is fascinating. The exposure that this book gives to American composers of the 20th century makes it worth reading; the history lessons are engrossing. An American, upon reading this, will come away a little sad and quite proud.
Horowitz includes a great wealth of historical fact, of the sort which made the book an absorbing, obsessive read. Some of the book's orientation serves Horowitz's tendency to cultural hand-wringing (to wit: the subtitle, sensibly abandoned in the paperback reissue); but with judicious filtration, a very good book.