Ruth Crawford Seeger
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Ruth Crawford Seeger : A Composer's Search for American Music

4.41 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) is frequently considered the most significant American female composer in this century. Joining Aaron Copland and Henry Cowell as a key member of the 1920s musical avant-garde, she went on to study with modernist theorist and future husband Charles Seeger, writing her masterpiece, String Quartet 1931, not long after. But her legacy extends far beyond the cutting edge of modern music. Collaborating with poet Carl Sandburg on folk song arrangements in the twenties, and with the famous folk-song collectors John and Alan Lomax in the 1930s, she emerged as a central figure in the American folk music revival, issuing several important books of adaptations (transcriptions and arrangements) and pioneering the use of American folk songs in children's music education. Radicalized by the Depression, she spent much of the ensuing two decades working aggressively for social change with her husband and stepson, the folksinger Pete Seeger. This engrossing new biography emphasizes the choices Crawford Seeger made in her roles as composer, activist, teacher, wife and mother. The first woman to win a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in music composition, Crawford Seeger nearly gave up writing music as the demands of family, politics, and the folk song movement intervened. It was only at the very end of her life, with cancer sapping her strength, that she returned to composing. Written with unique insight and compassion, this book offers the definitive treatment of a fascinating twentieth-century figure.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 472 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 27.4mm | 920.65g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • frontispiece, halftones, music examples
  • 0195065093
  • 9780195065091
  • 2,022,442

Review quote

In a full-scale biography of an eventful life, Judith Tick cannot be expected to offer exhaustive critical analysis of this extraordinary music, though everything she says about it is worth the carrying. Tick's account of Ruth as an 'educational' composer convinces us - with the help of well-produced music examples - that Crawford deserves a place alongside Bartok and Kodaly ... Judith Tick, author of this great book, has qualities comparable with those of its subject, being clever, perspicacious, wide-eyed and open-eared, yet also 'plain', like Ruth Crawford and Aaron Copland. The book, cool yet committed, proffers the information one needs, remains scrupulously fair in discussing divided loyalties, never proselytises. * The Musical Times/November 1997 * A wonderful book, which will an inspiration to women musicians in many countries and languages. It will be of interest to many-not just women, and not just musicians or teachers or collectors of folk music. * Pete Seeger * What Tick accomplishes here is quite staggering - she explores Crawford's personal and professional life through the lens of American social, historical, political, and musical history. She does all of this with a feminist sensibility, thereby making a major contribution to the field of women's studies, providing a model of how to write a female composer's life. * Canadian University Music Review * Judith Tick's sympathetic and vastly detailed study of her protagonist's works, life and times already reads like a classic. * BBC Music Magazine, August 2001 *show more

About Judith Tick

Judith Tick is Professor of Music at Northeastern University.show more

Rating details

12 ratings
4.41 out of 5 stars
5 58% (7)
4 25% (3)
3 17% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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