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Roger Sessions

From Academic Kids

Roger Sessions (28 December 189616 March 1985) was an American composer, critic and teacher of music.

Born in Brooklyn, New York to a wealthy family, Sessions studied music at Harvard University from the age of 14. There, he wrote for and subsequently edited the Harvard Musical Review. Graduating at age 18, he went on to study at Yale under Horatio Parker and Ernest Bloch before teaching at Smith College. His first major compositions were made while travelling Europe in his mid twenties and early thirties with his wife.

Returning to the USA in 1933, he taught at Princeton University until retiring in 1965, although he continued to teach on a part‐time basis at the Juilliard School until 1983.

His major works include:

  • Symphony #1 (1927)
  • The Black Maskers Orchestral Suite (1928)
  • Piano Sonata #1 (1930)
  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1935)
  • String Quartet #1 (1936)
  • Duo for Violin and Piano (1942)
  • From my Diary (1940)
  • Piano Sonata #2 (1946)
  • Symphony #2 (1946)
  • The Trial of Lucullus (1947), A one act opera
  • String Quartet #2 (1951)
  • Sonata for Solo Violin (1953)
  • Idyll of Theocritus (1954)
  • Piano Concerto (1956)
  • Symphony #3 (1957)
  • Symphony #4 (1958)
  • String Quintet (1958)
  • Divertimento for Orchestra (1959)
  • Montezuma (1963), An opera in three acts
  • Symphony #5 (1964)
  • Piano Sonata #3 (1965)
  • Symphony #6 (1966)
  • Six Pieces for Violoncello (1966)
  • Symphony #7 (1967)
  • Symphony #8 (1968)
  • Rhapsody for Orchestra (1970)
  • Concerto for Violin, Violoncello, and Orchestra (1971)
  • When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (1971)
  • Concertino for Chamber Orchestra (1972)
  • Five Pieces for Piano (1975)
  • Symphony #9 (1978)
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1981)
  • Duo for Violin and Violoncello (1981), incomplete

His works from the Solo Violin Sonata of 1953 on are almost all serial. Those up to 1930 or so are more or less neoclassical in sound, while those written between 1930 and 1951 are more or less tonal but harmonically complex. The opening minutes of the Second and Third Symphonies, the one nominally in D minor, the other serial though still somewhat tonal, might be contrasted in this connection, the former chaotic and over the map, the latter bird‐song influenced, at peace; not quite the relation between tonal and less‐tonal/serial music that usually prevails. (Then again, the opening movement of the Fourth Symphony, a Burlesque, quotes the aforementioned passage from the Second, in agitation not least, and matters are put to rights.)

Books

  • Cone, Edward, ed. Roger Sessions on Music: Collected Essays. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press. 1979. ISBN 0691091269 and ISBN 0691100748.
  • Olmstead, Andrea. Conversations with Roger Sessions. Boston: Northeastern University Press. 1987. ISBN 1555530109.
  • Olmstead, Andrea. The Correspondence of Roger Sessions. Boston: Northeastern University Press. 1992. ISBN 1555531229.
  • Sessions, Roger. Harmonic Practice. New York: Harcourt, Brace. 1951. LCCN 51008476.
  • Sessions, Roger. Reflections on the Music Life in the United States. New York: Merlin Press. 1956. LCCN 56012976.
  • Sessions, Roger. The Musical Experience of Composer, Performer, Listener. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1950, republished 1958.
  • Sessions, Roger. Questions About Music. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1970, reprinted New York: Norton, 1971. ISBN 0674743504.

External link

ja:ロジャー・セッションズ

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