Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Calvin Simmons, Lawrence Foster; Zita Carno, piano
If diversity and independence are definitive American traits, it would be hard to find four roughly contemporaneous native composers more unmistakably American. Markedly different in personality, each going his own stubbornly separate way, each spoke his uniquely individual dialect. They were born in successive decades (the last four of the nineteenth century) in different regions, and they were even more diverse in their musical training, affinities, and styles, yet they managed to create music truly American in character as well as provenance. What is particularly noteworthy about the four compositions is that they are among the earliest attempts by American composers to integrate elements of black American music, be it ragtime or jazz, into their work.