Piece Comment

Review of Compact Discoveries 33: One-Hit American Composers

It is always terrific to encounter concert music programming featuring American composers. To paraphrase Charles Ives quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, we have listened too often to the far courts of Europe. It was a fact back in the 1800s; it's a fact that remains true today.

Sadly, in his overview of "one-hit American composers", the producer of Compact Discoveries overlooks such distinctive American voices as Ferde Groffe and William Grant Still, choosing instead to promote those composers who showed themselves to have, perhaps, devoted a little bit too much to Europe in their figurative rearview mirrors.

American concert music has always been fraught subject matter for any number of reasons -- anybody remember who was branded the American "Beethoven"?

In the end, though, there is, in effect, so much missing here we can finger only nothing.