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The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays$
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Richard Taruskin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520249776

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520249776.001.0001

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Colonialism in Disguise?

(p.25) 3 “Nationalism”
The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Richard Taruskin

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on Antonín Dvořák's “New World Symphony,” and the colonialist nationalism ingrained within it. He composed music in New York during his first year as the director of Jeannette Thurber's National Conservatory of Music and it was intended as an objective lesson for his American pupils with the aim to achieve an authentic American school of composition. According to Henry Krehbiel, Dvořák urged the Americans to submit their indigenous music, such as Indian melodies and Negro spirituals, to the “beautiful treatment in the higher forms of art.” According to this chapter, this “higher forms of art” referred to German music, which was promoted by Thurber's conservatory, and Dvořák, according to him, was appointed as the director to promote this German musical colonialism.

Keywords:   Antonín Dvořák, New World Symphony, National Conservatory of Music, Jeannette Thurber, musical colonialism, German music, Indian melodies, Negro spirituals

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