Published 50 years after the last major treatment of American art song, the first edition of the three-volume American Art Song and American Poetry was the first work to fully consider the musical settings of American poetry. Ruth Friedberg’s monumental study was undertaken as a partial remedy to examine American song, from Edward Macdowell up through 1980. In the first edition, Friedberg focused on the interrelationship between the composer and the poet and the ways in which this influenced the completed song. Pieces selected for inclusion had the dual function of recognizing the importance of contributions to the performing literature as well as illuminating phases of America’s cultural past.

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In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.

Thomas Hampson