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Ruth Crawford Seeger - A Composer's Search for American Music

Judith Tick
Oxford University Press
(New York) 1997


This book has gone into a paperback edition. It can be ordered from Amazon, from your local bookseller or by phone at (800) 451-7556.

tickbook.jpgWilfrid Mellers of The Musical Times (a UK publication) calls the book a "model biography" containing a "vivid account" of an "eventful life." Mr. Mellers closes his review with high praise:

"Judith Tick, author of this great book, has qualities comparable with those of its subject, being clever, perspicacious, wide-eyed and open-eared, yet also 'plain' like Ruth Crawford and Aaron Copland. The book, cool yet committed, proffers the information one needs, remains scrupulously fair in discussing divided loyalites, never proselytises, always remembers Pilate's unanswered question: 'What is truth?' It is incumbent on Oxford University Press to issue an English edition without delay: for although Crawford is a quintessentially American phenomenon, no subject could more powerfully reveal how 'America' is germane to us all." (November 1997)

Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe, calls the book the "best possible introduction to the music of Ruth Crawford Seeger." (October 31, 1997)

Remarks by Judith Tick:


Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) is frequently considered the most significent American female composer in this century. Joining Aaron Copland and Henry Cowell as a key member of the 1920s avant garde, she went on to study with modernist theorist and future husband, Charles Seeger, writing her masterpiece String Quartet 1931 not long after. But her legacy extends far beyond the cutting edge of modern music. Collaborating with Carl Sandburg on folk song arrangements in the twenties, and with the famous collectors, John and Alan Lomax in the 1930s, she emerged as a central figure in the American folk music revival, issuing several important books of adaptations (transcriptions and arrangements) and pioneering the use of American folk songs in children's music education. Radicalized by the Depression, she spent much of the ensuing two decades working aggressively for cultural progressivism.
- Judith Tick, author of Ruth Crawford Seeger, A Composer's Search for American Music

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