JOHN ALDEN CARPENTER (1876 - 1951)
The son of an American industrialist, John Alden Carpenter studied music at Harvard before joining his father’s business (an occupation from which he finally retired in 1936). At the same time he continued to write music, including a ballet score, Skyscrapers, for Diaghilev, which was instead first staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. A further ballet score on Oscar Wilde’s story The Birthday of the Infanta was completed in 1918.
Carpenter’s orchestral music began with the light-hearted Adventures in a Perambulator in 1914. He based his tone poem Sea Drift on a poem by Walt Whitman, and completed two symphonies as well as a symphonic suite based on Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man.
Chamber and Vocal Music
Carpenter left a relatively small amount of chamber music, including a Violin Sonata, Piano Quintet and String Quartet. His songs include settings of a variety of writers, from Sassoon to Langston Hughes.