Music Discussion Questions

1) DINNERTIME! It is 1937 in New York, and you have somehow been able to invite four people to dinner:  the elderly Charles Ives, the forty-something William Grant Still, the thirty-something George Gershwin—who does not know that he is about to die—and the twenty-something Aaron Copland. In at least 150 words (more is better, if it is substantive), describe the evening.  Your description should demonstrate what you have learned, from the textbook and other sources, about the personalities of the composers, about the type of music they most often wrote, and musical issues they might agree or disagree about. 2) You are going to put together a concert of American classical music, picking five of the ten pieces below for the concert. William Grant Still, Afro-American Symphony, third movement Afro-American symphony III (full)  George Gershwin, “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” from Porgy and Bess Bess, You Is My Woman Now  Scott Joplin, Maple Leaf Rag  John Philip Sousa, The Washington Post March SOUSA The Washington Post – “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band  Charles Ives, Putnam’s Camp, Redding, Connecticut Putnam’s Camp by Charles Ives 1978  Aaron Copland, Variations on “Simple Gifts” from Appalachian Spring Suite Appalachian Spring  Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings BARBER Adagio for Strings  Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Concerto Grosso 1985, first movement Concerto Grosso 1985: I. Maestoso (Ellen Taaffe Zwilich)  Philip Glass, Einstein on the Beach Einstein on the Beach – “Spaceship”  Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story, Act I finale Tonight Quintet – West Side Story – Staples Players    Explain one by one, using the elements of music, why you chose each of the five that you chose, then explain one by one, using the elements of music, why you did not choose each of the five that you left out of the concert. 3) We are in the era when music really changes, with the advent of popular music early in the century, and then the advent of rock-and-roll in 1952. Now that we have studied seven weeks of classical music, go back to the question in week 1, about Hermann Hesse and how the deep thoughts of humanity could only be expressed in classical music, not popular music. In at least 150 words (more is better, if it is substantive): what was your opinion of this assertion then, and what is your opinion of it now? Why do you think your opinion has changed, or not changed, since week 1?

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