Music

What Makes Music American?

Tito and Donald have instituted a worthy tradition of posting music on the weekends here at American Catholic, and so as the weekend winds to a close I thought I would attempt by own contribution to the genre, though with a characteristically analytical slant.

I’m not sure how it is that one can say that a piece of music “sounds like” a particular country. And yet some pieces of music very clearly have a regional tone. For instance, Vaughan Williams orchestral music simply sounds like English countryside.

While I don’t think I could describe what it is that makes something sound American, the following are some of the most American-sounding pieces of music that I know of.

Jerome Moross received an Oscar nomination for the score he wrote for Big Country, the outstanding 1958 western staring Gregory Peck, Charleton Heston and Burl Ives.

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The movie itself is very much worth watching, and the score is one of my favorite movie scores. This video illustrates the main theme with scenes from the movie.

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Mozart Te Deum

Something for the weekend.  Great music appeals to our souls as well as our ears and Mozart understood that perhaps to a greater extent than all but a few composers.  Eric M. Johnson explores the role of the Arts in his conversion here.

Moonlight Sonata

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With the recent full moon I thought this hauntingly beautiful piece by Ludwig von Beethoven as being appropriate to listen to.

Schubert's Ave Maria Sung By Luciano Pavarotti

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In my opinion Luciano Pavarotti’s Ave Maria is one of the most well sung I’ve ever heard.  Andrea Bocelli just can’t compare when singing Ave Maria.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Bocelli fan, but Pavarotti is just much more masculine, vibrant, and lively when singing this particular rendition of Ave Maria.

Very Modern

Something for the weekend.  From the Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.  The song a Modern Major General was intended as a lampoon of Queen Victoria’s best general Garnet Wolseley.  Wolseley found the song amusing and would often sing it for friends.

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