Published 50 years after the last major treatment of American art song, the first edition of the three-volume American Art Song and American Poetry was the first work to fully consider the musical settings of American poetry. Ruth Friedberg's monumental study was undertaken as a partial remedy to examine American song, from Edward Macdowell up through 1980. In the first edition, Friedberg focused on the interrelationship between the composer and the poet and the ways in which this influenced the completed song. Pieces selected for inclusion had the dual function of recognizing the importance of contributions to the performing literature as well as illuminating phases of America's cultural past.
In this second edition, now published in a convenient, one-volume format, Ruth Friedberg and Robin Fisher have updated the entries on composers and poets from the first edition and added new individuals to both categories. New composers appearing in this volume include Florence Price, Lee Hoiby, Emma Lou Diemer, Helen Greenberg, Flicka Rahn, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Lori Laitman, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Jake Heggie. Poets now receiving their first treatment are Ezra Pound, Emma Lazarus, Dorothy Diemer Hendry, Dorothy Parker, Willa Cather, Louise Bogan, and William Carlos Williams. As before, musical examples are liberally employed to illustrate specific approaches to poetic text-setting and are much more visually accessible due to present-day digital technology.
The new edition of American Art Song and American Poetry will be a valuable addition to the collections of scholars, performers, and libraries. It is an ideal reference work for students and faculty of voice in undergraduate and graduate courses in American music as well as literature scholars interested in the interdisciplinary approaches. Singers and teachers of singing will find in this new edition a vast array of carefully selected program material for the studio and the recital hall, along with carefully researched background material to enable effective performance. Users will find the volume's extensive bibliography and general index extremely helpful.