Composers like Charles Ives, Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich created works that indelibly commemorated American places. Denise Von Glahn analyzes the soundscapes of fourteen figures whose "place pieces" tell us much about the nation's search for its own voice and about its ever-changing sense of self. She connects each composer's feelings about the United States and their reasons for creating a piece to the music, while analyzing their compositional techniques, tunes, and styles. Approaching the compositions in chronological order, Von Glahn reveals how works that celebrated the wilderness gave way to music engaged with humanity's influence--benign and otherwise--on the landscape, before environmentalism inspired a return to nature themes in the late twentieth century.
Wide-ranging and astute, The Sounds of Place explores high art music's role in the making of national myth and memory.