Proposal for an anthology of American Composers as Writers

This would collect the best essays, measured by literary quality, written by acknowledged composers in America, including some who emigrated here and wrote in English. Most of the selections discuss music, some don’t, while a few could be classified as poems. I’ve avoided “interviews” and texts acknowledging collaborators. I’m prepared to argue in an introduction that composers write better than visual artists, at least in America. Some samples:

George Anthiel, “Sales de Paris” & “Music of Precision,” Bad Boy of Music (1945)
Milton Babbitt, “The Composer as Specialist” (aka “Who Cares If You Listen”), in RK’s Esthetics Contemporary (1978)
- -”On Having Been and Still Being an American Composer,” Persepctives of New Music (1989)
Belá Bártok, “Some Lingustic Observations (1946), reprinted in Essays (Faber, 1976)
Marion Bauer, selections to be determined
Jack Beeson, “Grand Not So Grand,” Opera News (1963)
Leonard Bernstein, original text of his review of Gertrude Stein’s Last Operas and Plays, reprinted in RK’s Gertrude Stein Advanced (1990)
William Billings, “To All Musical Practitioners” (1770)
- -Excerpts from A Continental Harmony (1794)
Marc Blitzstein, “Popular Music--An Invasion, 1923-1933,” Modern Music
Ernst Bloch, “What ‘What’ of Expression in General “
Anthony Braxton, selections from his voluminous writings
John Cage, “Ladies of the Monday Club and Gentlemen of the Faculty,” in RK’s John Cage (1970)
- -One section of I-VI (1989)
Elliott Carter, selections to be determined (stbd)
Ornette Coleman ‘s notes to Skies of America
Aaron Copland, “From a Composer’s Journal,” Copland on Music (1961)
- -”Composer from Brooklyn” (1939)
Henry Cowell, “Charles E. Ives” (1933)
Hanns Eisler, “The Crisis in Music” (1935)
Morton Feldman, “Give My Regards to 8th Street” (1968)
George Gershwin, “The Composer in the Machine Age” (1933)
Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth), two essas on performance from Artforum
Roy Harris, “Problems of American Composers” (1933)
Lou Harrison, poems
Charles Ives, “Prologue” (1920),
- -Preface to 114 Songs (1918)
Richard Kostelanetz, “On Being a Composer Who Can’t Read Music” (1989)
Ernst Krenek, “Serialism”
Otto Luening, from The Odyssey of an American Composer (1981)
Pauline Oliveros, “And Don’t Call Them ‘Lady’ Composers” (1970)
Harry Partch, “End Littoral: The Journal of a Hiking Trip” (1947), in Bitter Music (Univ. of Illinois, 1991)
J. K. Randall, a classic essay on baseball
Steve Reich, “Music as Gradual Process”
Ned Rorem, several stbd
Eric Salzman, “Modern Music,” Perspectives of New Music (1962)
Peter Schickele, from The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach (1976)
Arnold Schoenberg, “Brahms the Progressive” (1947), in Style and Idea (Univ. of California, 1975)
Gunther Schuller, stbd
Roger Sessions, “No More Business-As-Usual,” Roger Sessions on Music (1979)
Nicolas Slonimsky, entry on himself in Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
- -Twentieth-Century Opera Summaries, reprinted in RK’s Nicolos Slonimsky: The First Hundred Years (1994)
William Grant Still, “A Composer’s Viewpint,” in The Fusion of Cultures in American Music (Black Sparrow, 1975)
Sun Ra, poems & texts
Virgil Thomson, “Why Composers Write How,” The State of Music (1939, 1962))
Varese, Edgard, stbd

As in customary in proposals for anthologies edited by me, the list is necessarily tentative. Final selection depends upon the number of pages (or amount of words) desired by the publisher and the available budget for permissions. My job as the book’s editor is to provide the best available text within the constraints. An introduction would explain why American composers have aspired for excellence in writing. I would provide headnotes, if desired. Need I add that I have edited several books of writings by American composers?