Skip to main content

American Symphonist

June 2024
1min read

George Whitefield Chadwick Symphony No. 3; also, works by Samuel Barber

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Neeme J․rvi, conductor, Chandos 9253 (one CD) .

If America’s musical legacy seems deficient anywhere, it’s in nineteenth-century works in the European classical tradition. Well, here’s an 189Os symphony better than you probably thought any American ever composed. Chadwick was born in Massachusetts in 1854 and trained at the New England Conservatory; he is said to have been an influence on Dvorák, but unlike that composer, he wanted little to do with Native American and black folk music. Nonetheless, his music is anything but stuffy; the symphony is cheerfully energetic and optimistic-sounding, a bit like Brahms here and Dvorák there, and all-American in its expansiveness. It couldn’t ask for a better introduction to modern listeners than this engaging recording.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.