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Frontier FiguresAmerican Music and the Mythology of the American West$
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Beth Levy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267763

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267763.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Introduction: The Course of Empire

Introduction: The Course of Empire

(p.1) Introduction: The Course of Empire
Frontier Figures

Beth E. Levy

University of California Press

Taking as its point of departure the geographical imagination of the nineteenth century's Columbian year, this book embarks on its own voyage of discovery, navigating waters that are sometimes familiar and sometimes uncharted. It traces American art or “classical” music as practiced by a handful of influential composers between 1900 and 1950. En route, this current commingles with and gains momentum from many others—the dime novel, the community pageant, the popular song, and the Hollywood film score, to name a few. This introductory chapter begins by focusing on 1893, to take on board some of the themes of the book's westward journey, and to ponder their relationship to the world-historical vision captured in the most famous line of Bishop George Berkeley's poem “America or the Muse's Refuge: A Prophesy”: “Westward the course of empire takes its way.”

Keywords:   American West, American art, classical music, American music

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