This spring, Cambridge University Press will publish Program Music, a new book by CCM Associate Professor of Music Jonathan Kregor. The book is the first English-language publication in over a generation to deal exclusively with program music, a repertoire frequently heard but only rarely written about.
Kregor explains, “As musicians and scholars, we want to know how, and to what extent, music has meaning. Historically, program music has offered answers, but while it is behind some of the most familiar repertoire of the classical music canon, its definition remains hazy and its practices are numerous.”
Program music was one of the most flexible and contentious novelties of the long 19th century, covering a diverse range that included the overtures of Beethoven and Mendelssohn, the literary music of Berlioz and Schumann, Liszt’s symphonic poems, the tone poems of Strauss and Sibelius, and compositions by groups of composers in Russia, Bohemia, the United States and France.
Kregor explores program music’s ideas and repertoire within the book, discussing both well-known and less familiar pieces by an array of 19th and 20th century composers. Setting program music in the context of the intellectual debates of the period, he presents the criticism of writers like A. B. Marx and Hanslick to reveal program music’s growth, dissemination, and reception.
“I wanted to try to present the various ways in which composers have created programmatic works, how audiences have responded to them, and how the debates about music and meaning that lie at the heart of program music continue to challenge us today,” Kregor says.
Designed to be an accessible introduction to the topic of program music, the book features numerous illustrations and music examples and provides detailed case studies of battle music, Shakespeare settings and Goethe’s Faust.
Learn more about Kregor’s Program Music by visiting www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/music/nineteenth-century-music/program-music.
About Jonathan Kregor
Jonathan Kregor, PhD, is a musicologist specializing in 19th century music. His research interests include aesthetics, Franz Liszt, musical reproduction, music and memory, virtuosity and gender, and art song.
He has published articles and reviews in The Journal of Musicology, The Musical Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Journal of the American Liszt Society and Notes; and has given papers at numerous national and international conferences. He is a recipient of fellowships from the German Historical Institute and the Stiftung Weimarer Klassik.
Kregor is the author of Liszt as Transcriber (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which won the Alan Walker Book Award from the American Liszt Society, and the aforementioned Program Music (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has edited volumes of C.P.E. Bach’s keyboard music (Packard Humanities Institute) and Clara Schumann’s unpublished arrangements for solo piano (A-R Editions), and has co-edited Liszt et le France. Since 2012 he has been editor of the Journal of the American Liszt Society.