Composers in the New World often sought a distinctly ‘American accent’ within a cultural milieu that was indebted to the traditions of the Old World. The symphonies of Barber, Bernstein, Carter, Copland, Glass, Harris, Ives, Rochberg and Schuman represent highly individual responses to this situation, each finding a uniquely personal approach to this situation.
Whether drawing upon, or reinventing European models, finding musical expression for American energy and enterprise, celebrating the nation’s extraordinary cultural mix or beating new paths through unexplored frontiers, these symphonies ultimately achieve a collective goal that could be regarded as a musical ‘American dream’.
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