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Vespasiano

Skyscrapers

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In the 1910s, 20s and 30s, the neo-Romantic American composer and Chicago-area native, John Alden Carpenter, was very much a "household name". Both his instrumental works as well as his many beautiful songs were not only popular with audiences of the time but performed nearly everywhere. Carpenter was one of the first "serious-music" composers to utilize the sounds of Tin Pan Alley and Ragtime as central features of his work. Gershwin was strongly influenced by Carpenter in the composition of his own concert-hall works (Rhapsody in Blue, etc.). Another admirer, Walt Disney, viewed Carpenter's writing as a model for what he wanted for the musical dimension of his animated features. To top things off, Carpenter was a businessman by day (he took over his family's successful mill supply business) and a composer by night. By the 1940s, however, Carpenter's style had been supplanted by the new modernism in music and his works sadly fell into neglect.

Here is a work by John Alden Carpenter that I think is most appropriate for celebrating the birthday of Ayn Rand. Skyscrapers was a short ballet from 1926 originally commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev. In Carpenter's score, we hear in musical terms, rising from the cacophony of bustling city streets, the distinctively American -- Chicago-born -- architectural innovation.

Happy birthday, Miss Rand!

John Alden Carpenter: Skyscrapers

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Reminds me of Charles Ives style - Symphony 3.

Hmmm. It's a good thing Charles Ives isn't around to read that sentence! :D Ives seems to have had nothing but contempt for John Alden Carpenter's music. I don't know whether the feeling was mutual: I do know that Carpenter rejected much of the modernist trends -- of which Ives was an early exponent.

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