Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Allsup, Randall Everett. “Sequoias, Mavericks, Open Doors... Composing Joan Tower.” Philosophy of Music Education Review 19, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 24-36.

Joan Tower demonstrates how a composer can remake traditions to carve out a space for her own voice. Tower comes out of the Western art music tradition with Beethoven as her strongest influence. “I couldn’t get [Beethoven] out of my head!” she says, “So I decided to invite him in.” Tower wrestles with Beethoven and allows him to become part of her music rather than an outside antagonist. Beethoven’s most obvious influence on Tower’s wider musical output is the technique of small motivic units organically developing, which can be seen in Tower’s Sequoia for orchestra. Tower claims Beethoven as part of her musical inheritance, but instead of feeling burdened by tradition, she uses it as the impetus for new ideas that are completely her own. Creativity in the arts does not happen in a vacuum free from tradition and cultural influences, but rather it takes place in dialogue with the past and future. In other words, a creative individual recognizes her inheritance and the tradition of which she is a member and makes something new out of older materials.

Works: Joan Tower: Sequoia (26-27, 30-31, 35).

Index Classifications: 1900s, 2000s

Contributed by: Sarah Kirkman

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