MU 630 Project 1: Composers’ Complete Works
For this assignment, Johannes Brahms Sämtliche Werke, Band 5 (1949) and The Music of Stephen C. Foster: A Critical Edition, Volume 2 (1990) were chosen for study and comparison. These selections were made on the basis of contrasting content, as well as their contrasting publication dates, to gain a broader perspective of the complete works genre. Special consideration was taken into selecting at least one complete works edition that was published in English; since this is still a fairly new and unfamiliar genre of resources, I wanted to be able to fully comprehend the contents and understand what a complete works edition might offer.
The German composer Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg on May 7, 1833 and died in Vienna on April 3, 1897. Brahms was the middle son of three children and grew up with his mother, a seamstress, and his father, a freelance musician. His father, Johann Jakob Brahms played flute, horn, double bass, and violin, and he performed in dance halls and taverns. Despite some financial tension and frequent moving, Brahms grew up well educated in mathematics, French, English, Latin, and history. As a child, he studied cello, horn, and piano, later becoming a piano student of Otto Frriedrich Willibald Cossel, then a pupil of the pianist and composer Eduard Marxsen. It was under Marxsen’s tutelage that Brahms developed his love and knowledge of Bach and Viennese Classical composers. Brahms’ compositional contributions succeeded Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann. His output included piano and organ works, chamber works, choral works, four concertos, two overtures, and four symphonies.1
Stephen C. Foster was an American songwriter born in Pennsylvania in 1826. The majority of his output was composed in the 1840s and 1850s, during the Antebellum Period in America. With this in mind, Stephen Foster’s works reflected the period’s middle class lifestyle, life on plantations, and even slave life. Stephen C. Foster’s works were primarily written to be performed in the home or on the stage and often have a minstrelsy feel.2 He is credited for 287 authenticated works; however, there are a number of works that circulate with his name on them that we now have reason to believe he did not actually write, but is given credit for composing.3 The Music of Stephen Foster, vol. 2 lists those works that are questionable in this regard, with rationale for why the work may not have actually been written by Foster.
The Music of Stephen C. Foster: A Critical Edition
The Music of Stephen C. Foster: A Critical Edition was published in 1990, edited by Steven Saunders and Deane L. Root. This is an original edition; however, Foster’s works were first compiled as an index, Foster Hall Reproductions: Songs, Compositions and Arrangements by Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864), by Josiah Kirby Lilly in 1933. Foster Hall Reproductions was...