If this was The World Cup of Whiskers then Sousa wins.
  • If this was The World Cup of Whiskers then Sousa wins.
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I haven’t done a formal seeding for composers so far in the World Cup of Composers but I think it will help with the American bracket.

Here they are 1-16 with their matchups.

  1. Aaron Copland versus 16. John Philip Sousa
  2. Samuel Barber versus 15. John Williams
  3. George Gershwin versus 14. John Cage
  4. Charles Ives versus 13. Virgil Thompson
  5. Frederic Groffe versus 12. Eric Whitacre
  6. Henry Cowell versus 11. Stephen Sondheim
  7. Leonard Bernstein versus 10. Amy Beach
  8. John Adams versus 9. William Grant Still

Why are Bernstein, Sondheim, and John Williams so far down in the seeding? If we were just talking great American composers of any type of music then these gents go way up, probably past Copland and Barber.

Since this is a classical setting, they got docked on style.

Same thing with Sousa. His marches are brilliant but they were straight up popular music when he wrote them and they continue to live outside the concert hall.

Sousa also wrote music for a huge band of wind instruments, if it were performed in a concert hall the audience’s ears would be bleeding from the volume.

“Hey, I really like this Sousa music!”

“What? I can’t hear you because my ears are full of blood.”

That’s just a little personal fantasy of mine. Oh, to have one’s ears bleed from Sousa’s music.

Copland danced rough shod over Sousa in this first match with his Rodeo ballet. In Rodeo, Copland creates the tone pallet of the American West that we’ve come to know and love.

Well, I cant say he created it, as the West had its own folk music and popular songs of which Copland was surely aware. What Copland did was...yes, yes, I can say it. Copland created an uniquely American sound in a way a visitor such as Dvorak never could with his New World Symphony.

Here we go. Copland created the paradigm for what the West sounded like. Hollywood agreed.

Rodeo is just as American as Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever.

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