MacDowell, Edward - Piano Music Vol 1: Woodland Sketches / Fireside Tales / New England Idyls - Barbagallo, James

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Edward MacDowell (1860 -1908)

The Man:
New York is more often the Mecca for artists rather than the birthplace, but in the case of Edward MacDowell it can boast a geographic claim to both his nativity and death. Edward MacDowell was born on December 18, 1860 and died on January 23, 1908. He began his study of music at the piano keyboard at an early age. His first lessons took place when he was eight under the tutelage of an old family friend Juan Buitrago, a native of Bogota, Columbia and an accomplished musician. Their piano lessons at this time were subject to frequent interruptions; for when strict supervision was not exercised over young Edward he was prone to indulge at the keyboard a fondness for composition which developed concurrently with, and often at the expense of his proficiency in piano technique. He was not a prodigy, though his gifts were evident and plentiful. His early attempts at composition were varied by an apt use of the pencil and sketching board. He liked to cover his music books with drawings that showed both the observing eye and skillful hand of a born artist. However, music and drawing were not sufficient outlets for his impulse toward expression. MacDowell also wrote a good deal of prose and verse and was very fond of creating fairy tales.

His first professional piano teacher was Paul Desvernine, with whom he studied until he was fifteen. He also studied with Teresa Carrefio (1853-1917) (to whom he dedicated his Second Piano Concerto).

In 1876 he traveled to Paris accompanied by his mother. He passed the admission examination to the Paris Conservatory and began the Autumn term as a student of Antoine Francois Marmontel (1816-1898) and Augustin Savard (1814 -1881). One of his fellow pupils was Claude Debussy whom MacDowell described as a youth of erratic and non?-conformist tendencies. His studies at the Conservatory were encumbered by his difficulty in understanding French. A teacher was hired to assist Edward in his resolute attack in overcoming his linguistic barrier. On one occasion, during one of these French lessons when the monotony of the hour was intolerable, Edward drew a free-hand sketch (a portrait of his teacher) under cover of his lesson book. As is always the case in an experienced instructor's tutelage, the event was detected and in an effort to embarrass the student, Edward was asked to exhibit the result of his efforts. The piece was such a remarkable likeness of the subject that the instructor insisted on keeping the sketch. Edward's mother was later advised that an instructor at the ?cole de Beaux Arts felt the sketch evidenced a talent that begged development. This, compounded by Edward's desire to continue his study elsewhere, culminated in MacDowell studying in Wiesbaden with Louis Ehlert (1825 -1884) in 1879 and then in Frankfurt with Carl Heymann (1854- 1922). It was in Frankfurt that MacDowell studied composition with Joachim Raff (1822- 1882). Through Raff's influence he became a piano teacher at the Darmstadt Conservatory in 1881 A year later, Raff introduced MacDowell to Franz Liszt. Liszt found MacDowell a personal delight and was most enthusiastic over his compositional efforts. The following years were spent in successful concert work. In 1884 MacDowell resumed teaching and compositional work in Wiesbaden Four years later he returned to America, first settling in Boston and eventually returning to New York where he was called to the professorship of music at Columbia University. This was a tragic mistake. Visits to Boston and the purchase of a much-Ioved summer home in Peterborough, New Hampshire could not relieve the mental strain brought on by the overwork and battles with the administration over financing the music department and recognizing the academic worthiness of musical studies.

One of MacDowell's students at Columbia, John Erskine (1879 -1951 ) noted that when he told a Columbia University Dean of his interest in taking music courses the dean tried to dissuade him. "The idea had not yet penetrated the academic skull that music is a house-broken subject deserving polite toleration if not hospitality", Erskine stated. "For most of the cultural high priests music was something you 'took up' on the side, a mental discipline less rigorous and possibly less rewarding than poker." MacDowell resigned a beaten man in 1904, succumbed to acute nervous prostration, and died in 1908.

Artikelnummer 8559010
Streckkod 0636943901021
Utgivningsdatum 2005-04-16
Kategori Piano
Skivbolag Naxos
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Artister Barbagallo, James
Kompositörer MacDowell, Edward
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