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William Billings and the Federal Period. The Story of William Billings and the New England Composers. All lived in New England between1760-1810 Were Anglo-Celtic and Protestant (Congregational) None were professional musicians Were unschooled as composers

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William Billings and the Federal Period

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the story of william billings and the new england composers
The Story of William Billings and the New England Composers
  • All
    • lived in New England between1760-1810
    • Were Anglo-Celtic and Protestant (Congregational)
    • None were professional musicians
    • Were unschooled as composers
    • Attended (and later taught) singing school
    • Studied music by similar composers
    • Composed 4-part unaccompanied choral music
  • None played a keyboard instrument
  • All relied on ear, eye, and experience
  • Worked without European conventions
trouble right here in new england
Trouble right here in New England
  • Americans grew wealthier after the war
  • Wanted more luxury
  • More European musicians became residents
  • The opinion
  • Out of fashion by 1810
  • Continued to flourish in the west and south
  • Lost its vitality as the taste makers turned their backs on the native composer
  • All New Englanders
    • some college educated
    • some a “common school” education
    • some served in the army
  • Minister (Law)
  • Tavern keepers (Belcher and Ingalls)
  • Hatter (Swan)
  • Carpenter (Holden)
  • Farmers (Belknap)
  • Judge (Langdon)
  • Teachers (Morgan, Benham)
  • Horse breeders (Morgan)
william billings timeline
born: Boston MA, 7 Oct, 1746

1770 The New England Psalm Singer or American Chorister

1778 The Singing Master's Assistant

1779 Music in Miniature

1781 The Psalm-Singer's Amusement

1786 Suffolk Harmony

1794 The Continental Harmony

died: Boston, 29 Sept. 1800

William Billings Timeline
william billings october 7 1746 september 27 1800
William BillingsOctober 7, 1746 - September 27, 1800
  • Publications
    • The New England Psalm Singer: or, American Chorister - (Edes & Gill, Boston,1770) - 126 pieces, all by Billings
    • Singing Master’s Assistant - (Boston: Draper & Folsom, 1778 )
    • Music in Miniature (Boston: Billings, 1779) - his only collection to contain music by other composers
    • Psalm-Singers‘s Amusement (Boston: Billings, 1781) designed for experienced choirs
    • Suffolk Harmony (Boston, 1786)
    • Continental Harmony (Boston: Andrews and Thomas, 1794) Billings last publication

William BillingsOctober 7, 1746 - September 27, 1800

  • Billings uniqueness:
    • by 1782 - 264 musical compositions by American born composers had been published - 226 of them by Billings
    • by 1810 of the more than 200 anthems published in America, more than 50 were by Billings
  • Style
    • plain tunes - note against note four-part harmonizations. simple homophonic settings of strophic texts
    • fuging tunes - begin in the style of a plain tune and, after a cadence, launch into a second section characterized by staggered entrances of the four voices
    • “Creation” ( illustrates both styles)
    • anthems - more elaborate and complex tunes with Psalm or Biblical textsEaster Anthem “The Lord is ris’n indeed”

William BillingsOctober 7, 1746 - September 27, 1800

  • Physical description
    • Read his obituary and description
  • Occupations
    • Street cleaner in the 11th ward
    • Hogreeve
    • Sealer of Leather
  • Musical examples:
    • David’s Lamentation (Sacred Harp)
    • David’s Lamentation (His Majestie’s Clerkes)
    • William Schuman
william schuman born in new york on 4 august 1910
William SchumanBorn in New York on 4 August 1910
  • began composing in high school
  • played violin and banjo
  • studied at Juilliard with Roy Harris
  • incorporated American jazz and folk traditions
  • secular cantata A Free Song received the first Pulitzer Prize in music in 1943
  • President of the Juilliard School
  • First president of the newly-founded Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
william schuman
William Schuman
  • Director of the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, National Educational Television, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center
  • Aaron Copland, when presenting Schuman with the MacDowell Colony Medal in 1971, said
    • . . . In Schuman's pieces you have the feeling that only an American could have written them. . .. You hear it in his orchestration, which is full of snap and brilliance. You hear it in the kind of American optimism which is at the basis of his music.
william schuman11
William Schuman
  • William Schuman died in New York City on February 15, 1992
new england triptych
New England Triptych
  • Commissioned by Andre Kostelanetz
  • First performance on October 26, 1956 by the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra, Andre Kostelanetz, conductor
new england triptych 1956
New England Triptych 1956
  • Commissioned by Andre Kostelanetz
  • First performance on October 26, 1956 by the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra, Andre Kostelanetz, conductor
  • Based on melodies by William Billings (1746-1800)
  • 1st movement is based on Be Glad Then America
    • A percussion opening transforming into a statement of faith
  • 2nd movement based on When Jesus Wept
    • A simple statement of Billings’ faith
  • 3rd movement based on Chester
    • Originally a hymn, but became famous as a marching song for the Continental Army
cd information
CD information
  • A Tribute to William Schuman
    • New England Triptych
    • Judith - Symphony for Strings
    • Variations on “America”
      • Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, conductor
      • DELOS DE 3115
federal america the18th century
Federal America the18th century
  • Boston, 12-30-1731; Concert of Music on Sundry Instruments
  • Charleston, 4-8-1732; Consort of Musick at the Council Chamber
  • New York, 1733
  • Boston, 12-6-1744; a concert at Fanueil Hall for the benefit of the poor of the town
classical music
Classical Music
  • class entertainment
  • cultivated in the homes of cultured Americans
  • Robert Carter - Virginia Plantation “Nomini Hall”
    • Harpsichord, Forte-Piano, Harmonica, Guitar, German Flute
    • large library
      • Handel’s Messiah
      • various instrumental music by Handel
      • 17 other volumes of music
classical music18
Classical Music
  • Williamsburg - a good organ
  • Thomas Jefferson
    • played violin, sang, enjoyed chamber music at home
    • concertgoer in Philadelphia and Paris
    • the arts are a privilege and responsibility of persons of his class
    • had no interest in oral tradition music
  • Patrick Henry
    • played violin duets with Jefferson
  • John Penn (Philadelphia)
    • violinist
  • Benjamin Franklin
    • Played guitar, invented the glass harmonica(Mozart: Adagio in C K- 356 or K6-617a Vienna 1791)
    • may have composed a string quartet scoradatura; ms - Paris 1941; published 1946
  • benefitted from the healthy state of the theater
  • St. Caecilia Society of Charleston (1782)
  • Musical Society - New York (1791)
  • Philharmonic Society of New York (1799)
    • first concert on December 23, 1800
  • Urania Society - Philadelphia (1784)
    • offered instruction
    • performed oratorios and other pieces of sacred music
    • “Grand Concert of Sacred Music for the benefit of the Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia Dispensary, and the Poor” - May 4, 1786
  • Philharmonic Society of Boston (1809)
  • “Messiah” 230 members in the chorus and an orchestra of 50 - the largest array of musicians yet collected in America
  • King’s Chapel, Boston
    • Founded in 1686, designed in 1749 - Boston
    • The first Anglican Church in New England
    • First large building in America to be built of quarried stone
    • First church in America to use an organ
    • First American performance of Handel’s “Messiah” were here
    • First concert home of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society
    • The bell, weighing over one ton, was the largest ever cast by Paul Revere and Sons in 1816
daniel pinkham
Daniel Pinkham
  • Daniel Pinkham was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on June 5, 1923. He studied organ and harmony at Phillips Academy, Andover, with Carl F. Pfatteicher; then at Harvard with A. Tillman Merritt, Walter Piston, Archibald T. Davison and Aaron Copland. He also studied harpsichord with Putnam Aldrich and Wanda Landowska, and organ with E. Power Biggs. At Tanglewood he studied composition with Arthur Honegger, Samuel Barber, and subsequently with Nadia Boulanger.
  • He is Music Director Emeritus of historic King’s Chapel in Boston where he actively served from 1958 until 2000. He is the recipient of six honorary degrees.
classical music23
Classical Music
  • Francis Hopkinson (Philadelphia)
    • signer of the Declaration of Independence
    • 1st secretary of the Navy
    • organist and harpsichordist
    • composer
francis hopkinson 1737 1791
Francis Hopkinson 1737-1791
  • First person known to have written songs for voice and keyboard in America
  • First Secretary of the Navy
  • No evidence that Hopkinson’s songs were ever performed in public
  • “My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free” - the first piece of secular music written in America
  • Hopkinson was 22 when he composed the song
  • most popular form in the English colonies
  • 1st theater in the English colonies - Williamsburg, 1716
  • New York - 1732
  • 1st opera in America - Charleston - 2-18-1735; a production of “Flora”
  • “The Begger’s Opera”
  • A Company of Comedians
    • organized in 1749
    • performed in New York and Virginia
  • The London Company of Comedians
    • organized in 1752
    • began in Yorktown then moved to Williamsburg
    • 11 month season
    • halted by politics (Hamm pp. 89)
    • went into exile in Jamaica
  • theatrical repertory was almost exclusively English
  • audiences for 18th century opera in America were larger than those for classical music and were drawn from a much wider segment of the population
  • the audience sometimes sat on the stage
  • some felt the theater was an affront to decent citizens
  • theater was the most successful and popular form of entertainment
  • widespread opposition because theaters
    • threaten morals
    • divert apprentices
    • Subverts religion
    • spawn brothels
  • laws against theater: Philadelphia, 1785, “Act for the Prevention of Vice and Immorality” It is punishable by a fine of 200 pounds to build a theater for any kind of show or to sell tickets!
the begger s opera
The Begger’s Opera
  • The Beggar's Opera was the most successful theater event of the century. The sources for his songs were parodies of operatic works by Handel (the leading composer of Italian opera in England) to folk and popular songs that dated back over a hundred years. The work's influence continued into the twentieth century, when Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht created a modern version, the Threepenny Opera in 1928.
the begger s opera29
The Begger’s Opera
  • The Beggar's Opera is a comic farce, poking fun at the prevailing fashion in Italian opera as well as the social and political climate of the age. It established a new genre, the "ballad opera," and remains the only really notable example,though its popularity led to Gilbert and Sullivan. Gay cuts the standard five acts to three, and tightly controls the dialogue and plot so that there are delightful surprises in each of the forty-five fast-paced scenes.
john gay born baptized september 16 1685 barnstaple england died december 4 1732 london england
John Gay Born (baptized): September 16, 1685. Barnstaple, EnglandDied: December 4, 1732. London, England
  • Baptized at Barnstaple, Devon, on September 16, 1685, during the reign of Charles II
  • Through Jonathan Swift, Gay joined the household of Lord Clarendon
  • Gay was appointed Lottery Commissioner (!!), a post he held nearly to the end of his life.
  • Gay never married, and divided his time among his friends, especially the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry and the members of the Scriblerians, including Swift and Pope