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Struble identifies "Americanist" music as a "conservative" style using vernacular sources for melody and rhythm. In contrast, most American composers-though often representative of their generation-have expressed distinctly original ideas in their memorable music. Such strong opinions, supported by reasonable arguments, are the author's best asset. Unfortunately, Struble repeatedly threatens to numb readers with paragraphs that do little but present lists in between discussions of individual composers. Still, this is less technical and focuses more exclusively on art music than H. Wiley Hitchcock's Music in the United States (Prentice Hall, 1988. 3d ed.) and will make a thoughtful, reasonably priced supplement to large music collections. Useful appendixes give a historical chronology, list composers by place of origin, and propose a canon of major works.
Bonnie Jo Dopp, formerly with Dist. of Columbia P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.