Conductor's Analysis of Edward Macdowell's Original Choral Music for Mixed Voices and Women's Voices, and Editions for Men's Voices

Author: Wilson, Gary P.
Edward MacDowell (1860-1908) was one of the first American-born composers to gain international notoriety. Relatively little scholarly research has been done that deals specifically with the choral music of Edward MacDowell. This study examines his original choral music for mixed and women's voices, and his editions for men's voices. The choruses are analyzed with a format that considers the importance of meter, tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, tonality, form, musical/textual agreement, and expressive features. MacDowell was trained in Europe, and his music reflects the influence of late German Romanticism. An important aspect of this study was the preparation of editions of MacDowell's choral music updated to current publication standards. These editions are included in an appendix, as well as copies of the original publications for comparison. The most important scholarly contribution of this book is to make some of MacDowell’s choral music available again. MacDowell’s choral compositions have been virtually lost from the standard repertoire. All of the works examined were published between 1890–1910; they are currently out of print and unavailable to most choral musicians. This book would make part of MacDowell’s choral output available to the choral scholar and musician.


“What Gary Wilson has done by synthesizing, editing, compiling, and analyzing the MacDowell choral works is a great gift to the choral art. We can take great pride in recognizing one of America's important choral composers. Many of MacDowell's writings and compositions for choir were unilaterally matched against compositions by his European peers...It is time to take a serious look at the contributions of one composer that, because of his locations and access to performers, written accounts, and academe, was able to be influenced and able to influence a generation....many of his works are as timeless as his European contemporaries and they offer an important snapshot of the choral art of his time. This melding of Malham's, Lehman's, and Gary Wilson's own research, supplemented by modern performance editions, and the works from which they were drawn is an important and significant work that will be the model for research and scholarship for decades to come....My hearty congratulations and thanks to Gary Wilson for his insight and foresight.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Peter A. Eklund, DMA, Director of Choral Activities, University of Nebraska

“I found the biographical information about MacDowell’s early years to be informative and interesting … Biographical information about musical contemporaries of MacDowell whose original compositions MacDowell used in arrangements for male choirs provides an excellent sense of musical happenings outside America which help put MacDowell’s works into a more vivid historical context. Inclusion of earlier research concerning MacDowell’s choral works makes evident how much more deeply Dr. Wilson has delved into the compositional stylistic aspects of these works as they relate to performance. The updated editions of the choral works are clean and legible and show clearly how well MacDowell understood choral writing … Availability of these excellent new editions of MacDowell’s choral music will add superb choral works, and especially those for men’s choir, to the readily accessible repertoire.” – Donna Harler-Smith, Professor of Music, University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music

Table of Contents

1. Biography of Edward MacDowell
2. Contemporary Composers of MacDowell
3. Analysis of The Music
4. Comparisons, Contrasts, and Conclusions
Appendices – Chronological Works List, Updated performing Editions of the Music, Original
MacDowell Publications
General Index
Index of MacDowell Compositions and Editions