Personalities | Edward MacDowell | Late Romantic | Classical

American composer

Although his training and early career were European, with studies in Paris and Frankfurt and posts in Darmstadt, MacDowell was a pioneer of American music, which he felt reflected ‘the youthful optimistic vitality and the undaunted tenacity of spirit that characterize the American man’. His strong European influences, with echoes of Grieg and Liszt, who admired his First Piano Concerto (1882), combine with an individual lyricism in many of the character pieces for piano for which he is best known: Woodland Sketches (1896), Fireside Tales (1902) and New England Idylls (1902). MacDowell lived in Boston (1886–96) and was later a professor at Columbia University (1896–1903) and founder-member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His other works include two piano concertos, four piano sonatas (whose titles, Tragica, Eroica, Norse and Keltic, display the influence of his Celtic ancestry), orchestral suites and songs.

Recommended Recording:
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, op. 23, Van Cliburn, Chicago SO (cond) Walter Hendl (RCA/Sony)

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