Staging the West

Beth E. Levy

in Frontier Figures

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520267763
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520952027 | DOI:
Staging the West

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Before his career came to an end in the 1940s, Cadman had written operas or operettas set in Puritan New England, Arizona, California, the upper Mississippi Valley, Mexico, Cuba, and Japan, as well as pageants for Colorado and Portland and a small assortment of film music. With or without Indian characters, these works offer variations on the theme of encounter: between cultures, between lovers, and between man and nature. Cadman's high school operettas, like his vast quantity of pedagogical piano miniatures, were written more or less on demand for publishers eager to meet a market for “good” and useful music. Designed to be immediately accessible, these works traffic in stock figures, offering a valuable index to early twentieth-century associations between people, places, and sounds. By extracting the western highlights of this catalog and organizing them into a “scenic tour,” this chapter addresses Cadman's treatment of the varied musical ecosystems of the West. It also provides brief side trips into the works of his near contemporaries.

Keywords: Charles Wakefield Cadman; American music; operas; composers

Chapter.  12641 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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