Chapter

Corraling a Herd of Musical Mavericks

Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520249776.003.0024
Corraling a Herd of Musical Mavericks

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This chapter presents information on the theme and programs of the San Francisco Symphony's American Mavericks festival. Michael Tilson Thomas, the orchestra's music director worked hard to invest the theme with coherence. The theme proposed was fraught with volatile issues concerning American identity and the place of the arts in an egalitarian society. The opening was breathtaking. The timpanist, bestriding the top of an implied pyramid on a riser at the orchestra's rear, whacked out his barbaric yawp at the beginning of Ruggles's Sun-Treader with marvelously simulated abandon. The program notes were eloquent about the problems Crawford Seeger had to endure in her day because of the American modern-music world's misogyny, and about the impact of Babbittry on her style. Her Andante, gentle by comparison with Sun-Treader, strongly resembles Samuel Barber's nearly contemporaneous Adagio for Strings.

Keywords: San Francisco Symphony; American Mavericks; theme; programs; music festival

Chapter.  3829 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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