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Edward MacDowell   By: (1878-1939)

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EDWARD MACDOWELL

A Study

by

LAWRENCE GILMAN

Author of Phases of Modern Music ; The Music of Tomorrow ; Stories of Symphonic Music ; A Guide to Strauss' "Salome" ; Debussy's "Pelléas el Melisande": A Guide to the Opera ; Aspects of Modern Opera ; etc.

London: John Lane, The Bodley Head New York: John Lane Company MCMIX

1908

[Illustration: Edward MacDowell]

TO HENRY T. FINCK

PREFACE

This study is based upon the monograph on MacDowell which I contributed in 1905 to the "Living Masters of Music" series. That book could not, of course, remain in the series after the death of MacDowell three years later; it was therefore taken from its place and used as a foundation for the present volume, which supersedes it in every respect. The biographical portion is almost wholly new, and has been greatly enlarged, while the chapters dealing with MacDowell's music have been revised and extended.

In completing this survey of one who in his art is still of to day, I have been poignantly conscious throughout of the fact that posterity has an inconvenient habit of reversing the judgments delivered upon creative artists by their contemporaries; yet to trim deftly one's convictions in the hope that they may elastically conform to any one of a number of possible verdicts to be expected from a capricious futurity, is probably as dangerous a proceeding as to avow, without equivocation or compromise, one's precise beliefs. It will therefore be understood that the critical estimates which are offered in the following pages have been set down with deliberation.

I desire to acknowledge gratefully the assistance which I have received from various sources: Primarily, from Mrs. Edward MacDowell, who has rendered help of an indispensable kind; from Mr. Henry T. Finck, who furnished me with his views and recollections of MacDowell as a pianist; and from reminiscences and impressions contributed by Mr. W.H. Humiston, Miss J.S. Watson, and Mr. T.P. Currier pupils and friends of MacDowell to The Musician , and by Mr. William Armstrong to The Étude , parts of which I have been privileged to quote. MacDowell wrote surprisingly few letters, and comparatively little of his correspondence is of intrinsic or general interest. I am indebted to Mr. N.J. Corey for permission to quote from several in his possession; while for the use of letters written to MacDowell and his wife by Liszt and Grieg my thanks are due to Mrs. MacDowell.

L.G.

DIXVILLE NOTCH, NEW HAMPSHIRE, September 18, 1908.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

THE MAN

I RECORDS AND EVENTS

II PERSONAL TRAITS AND VIEWS

THE MUSIC MAKER

III HIS ART AND ITS METHODS

IV EARLY EXPERIMENTS

V A MATURED IMPRESSIONIST

VI THE SONATAS

VII THE SONGS

VIII SUMMARY

LIST OF WORKS

ILLUSTRATIONS

PLATE NO.

I EDWARD MACDOWELL (Frontispiece)

II MACDOWELL AT FOURTEEN From a sketch drawn by himself

III MACDOWELL AT EIGHTEEN, AS A MEMBER OF RAFF'S CLASS AT THE FRANKFORT CONSERVATORY

IV A SKETCH OF LISZT BY MACDOWELL, DRAWN IN 1883

V FACSIMILE OF A LETTER FROM LISZT TO MACDOWELL

VI A LETTER FROM LISZT TO MACDOWELL ACCEPTING THE DEDICATION OF THE FIRST PIANO CONCERTO

VII MACDOWELL AND TEMPLETON STRONG From a photograph taken at Wiesbaden in 1888

VIII MACDOWELL IN 1892

IX FACSIMILE OF A LETTER FROM GRIEG TO MACDOWELL, ACCEPTING THE DEDICATION OF THE "NORSE" SONATA. ONE OF GRIEG'S RARE ATTEMPTS AT ENGLISH COMPOSITION

X THE HOUSE AT PETERBORO, NEW HAMPSHIRE, WHERE MACDOWELL SPENT HIS SUMMERS

XI THE PIAZZA AND GARDEN WALK AT PETERBORO

XII A WINTER VIEW OF THE PETERBORO HOUSE

XIII THE "HOUSE OF DREAMS UNTOLD" THE LOG CABIN IN THE WOODS AT PETERBORO WHERE MACDOWELL COMPOSED, AND WHERE MOST OF HIS LATER MUSIC WAS WRITTEN

XIV FACSIMILE OF A PORTION OF THE MS. OF THE "SONATA TRAGICA"

XV FACSIMILE OF A PASSAGE FROM THE ORIGINAL MS. OF THE "KELTIC" SONATA

XVI THE MUSIC ROOM AT PETERBORO

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