Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Bomberger, E. Douglas. "Chadwick's Melpomene and the Anxiety of Influence." American Music 21 (Autumn 2003): 319-48.

Composers of the Second New England School sought to compose music that would satisfy conservative American audiences but also sound unique to the United States. George Chadwick's unacknowledged borrowing from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in his dramatic overture Melpomene can be analyzed in terms of Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence. Chadwick engages in the first two of Bloom's categories: clinamen (a clear allusion to another work which then swerves into new territory) and tessera (the antithetical completion of another composer's work). For example, Chadwick uses a slow tempo, English horn, and the Tristan chord in the passages that open and close Melpomene, but the middle section is Allegro agitato and contains a sense of urgency not present in Tristan. In Bloom's terms, Chadwick completed what Wagner left incomplete in order to free himself of the burden of his predecessor's influence.

Works: Chadwick: Melpomene (319-23, 329-30, 333-44).

Sources: Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (320-23, 330-44).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Amanda Sewell

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