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Radie Britain (1899-1994) was a successful American composer by almost any measure. Despite her long and productive career, Britain remains on the periphery of scholarly literature. In part this could be a result of Britain's compositional style, which is reminiscent of an older romantic style in terms of its thematic development, orchestration, and harmonic palette; but it could also be a reflection of a more general absence of women composers in the musicological literature. My thesis hopes to address this situation as it regards one woman. The thesis provides a biographical sketch of the composer based on her autobiography and the composer's archive. It also discusses three pieces by Radie Britain that were inspired by American heroes: "Heroic Poem" a tribute to Charles Lindbergh, "Epic Poem" also known as "Musical Portrait of Thomas Jefferson" and "Light" dedicated to Thomas Edison. Written between 1927 and 1934, Radie Britain's compositions were performed numerous times by orchestras throughout the years of the Great Depression. These works show Britain to be a composer of her time, and a musician deserving our attention today.
American Music, Federal Music Project, Gender, Patriotism, Radie Britain, Works Progress Administration
Date of Defense
May 7, 2012.
A Thesis submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Denise Von Glahn, Professor Directing Thesis; Michael Broyles, Committee Member; Suzanne Sinke, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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