Date of Completion
Gabriel Fauré, Reception of French music, American music, Franco-American cultural relationship, Music in Boston, Aaron Copland, Nadia Boulanger, Philip Hale, Edward Burlingame Hill, Requiem
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
The importance of French influences in American musical life from the 1920s onward, particularly as personified in the teaching of Nadia Boulanger, has long been central to narratives of American music; the much earlier impact of Gabriel Fauré, however, has been largely ignored. This dissertation examines Fauré’s reception in the U.S., through a detailed consideration of performance and criticism in Boston between 1892 and 1945, and a more selective examination of aspects of the composer's broader reception both during and after this time.
Boston’s increasingly Francophile orientation around 1900 encouraged the presence of French music on concert programs, and distinguished its musical world from that of predominantly Germanophile New York. A survey of performances given in Boston during Fauré’s lifetime, from the American premiere of the First Violin Sonata in 1892 to the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s memorial concert of 1924, reveals the extent to which the city laid the foundations of his broader American reception; this pioneering role continued after Fauré’s death, culminating in the Harvard festival in honor of his centennial in 1945. Writings of Boston music critics spearheaded the identification and promotion in this country of a distinctively French musical aesthetic, of which some viewed Fauré a supreme exemplar. Such advocacy continued among a younger generation of Americans, particularly composers who studied with Boulanger (a devoted Fauré pupil), most notably Copland, Piston, and Elliott Carter. The final chapter considers Fauré’s broader American reception after 1945, examining the extraordinary popularity of the Requiem, including its role film and television.
de Savage, Heather, "The American Reception of Gabriel Fauré: From Francophile Boston, 1892‒1945, to the Broader Postwar Mainstream" (2015). Doctoral Dissertations. 975.