Monday, July 13, 2009

A Wild Man of Classical Music

This week's question is from the Wild Men and Women of Classical Music contest, which is one of several contests you'll find on the third floor of the library. The winner of the drawing for this contest will receive a $50 gift card to the Shop & Save. (Prizes will be awarded after Summer Reading ends, on August 2nd.) Here's the question:

This singular American composer lived from 1874 to 1954. The son of a bandmaster, he grew up in Danbury, Connecticut, where he played sports as well as music. Although he made his living in the insurance business, he spent much of his time composing. He wrote symphonies, chamber music, sonatas, and more than 150 songs, including "General William Booth Enters into Heaven." According to Composers since 1900, his "first significant attempt to make use of authentic American materials" was in his Second Symphony, a technique he was to become known for. He was also, according to Jan Swafford:
proclaimed a prophet in discovering on his own, before anyone else, most of the devices associated with musical Modernism: polytonality, polyrhythm, free dissonance, chance and collage effects [etc.]
Although few heard his compositions during his lifetime, his Third Symphony received the Pulitzer Prize in 1947. Other compositions include The Unanswered Question, Central Park in the Dark, Variations on “America,” and Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord Mass., 1840-60," often referred to as The Concord Sonata.

Is he:

a. Aaron Copland
b. George Gershwin
c. Charles Ives
d. John Philip Sousa

Think you know the answer? Stop by the third floor to fill out an entry and check out our other summer reading contests. Or email us the answer at Readers2@dppl.org. Be sure to include your name and phone number, too.

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