Ruth Crawford Seeger.
A Composer's Search for American Music

by Judith Tick

 

Oxford University Press, 1997. 457 pp. $35.00. ISBN: 0-19-506509-3

 

Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) is frequently considered the most significant American female composer in this century. Joining Aaron Copland and Henry Cowell as a key member of the 1920s musical avant garde, she has left a small but impressive body of original music, including her masterpiece, String Quartet 1931. But her legacy extends into folk music as well. Collaborating with poet Carl Sandburg on folk song arrangements in the twenties, and with the famous folk song collectors, John and Alan Lomax in the 1930s, she emerged as a central figure in the American folk music revival, pioneering the use of American folk songs in the children's music education, with an impact comparable to Bartok and Kodaly. Radicalized by the Depression, she spent much of the ensuing two decades working aggressively for cultural change, along with her husband and her stepson, the folk singer-activist, Pete Seeger. This engrossing new biography emphasizes the choices Crawford Seeger made in her roles as composer, activist, teacher, wife and mother. She very nearly gave up writing music as the demands of family and politics intervened. Written with unique insight and compassion, this book offers the definitive treatment of artist and woman.

 

 

Jacket illustration : Photograph by Fernand de Gueldre
Jacket design by Karolina Harris

 

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This web page is maintained by Kristine H. Burns.
Should you have any questions regarding the content
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