John J. Becker

Biography

(b. Henderson, Ky., January 22, 1886; d. Wilmette, Ill., January 21, 1961) was an American composer, often grouped with Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Henry Cowell, and Wallingford Riegger as "The American Five" of "ultra-modern" music.

Becker was closely befriended with Ives, who entrusted to him the orchestration of his enormous visionary song, General William Booth Enters into Heaven. He belongs to the ‘American Five’ of early modernism – but his music has remained the least known. He taught at Barat College on Lake Michigan.

from NYPL Archives website:

Becker is known as leader of an ultramodern, arguably dissonant, distinctly American style of music that broke away from European styles of composition. Along with the other four of the “American Five” (Charles Ives, Henry Cowell, Carl Ruggles, and Wallingford Riegger) he shattered preconceived notions of composition, employing difficult techniques of counterpoint and harmony. Becker wrote seven symphonies, as well as concertos, orchestral suites, songs, and choral works (especially religious works). In Musicalia (ca.1931), Henry Cowell explains that Becker “bases his style on the art of the great early vocal polyphonists of the Catholic Church - Palestrina, Vittoria, etc.”. He named many works “soundpieces”, a literal English translation of the word “sonatas” - which gives an indication of the principles on which he based his work. Among his notable works, A Marriage with Space (1935) is often cited as most representative of his ideas of new forms for the stage by incorporating sound, light, dance, and poetry. He was honored late in his career (1958) when his Symphonia Brevis (written in 1930-1931) was performed at Carnegie Hall as part of Bernstein’s series on important American composers. John J. Becker died on January 21, 1961, one day before his 75th birthday.

 

 

 

ACE Publications

27 song(s)
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Instrumentpiano
Ensemble Typeconcerto, chamber orchestra
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Instrumentstrings, Timpani
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Instrumentviola
Ensemble Typestrings featured, solo instrument(s) featured+large ens or orch, featured soloist
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Price
$25.00
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Instrumentpiano
Ensemble Typesolo keyboard
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InstrumentHigh Voice, piano
Ensemble Typevoice+keyboard
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Price
$5.00
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Instrument
Ensemble Typechamber orchestra
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Instrumentchorus men
Ensemble Typechoral a cappella
Available Formats
SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$5.25
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Instrumentchorus men
Ensemble Typechoral a cappella
Available Formats
SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$12.40
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Instrument
Ensemble Typemixed instrumental ens 6 to 15 players, jazz ensemble, chamber orchestra
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Price
-
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Instrumentchorus mixed (SATB)
Ensemble Typechoral a cappella
Available Formats
SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$11.75
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InstrumentTenor, piano
Ensemble Typevoice+keyboard
Available Formats
SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$12.75
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Instrumentchorus mixed (SATB)
Ensemble Typechoral a cappella
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SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
-
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Instrumentchorus mixed (SATB)
Ensemble Typechoral a cappella
Available Formats
SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$5.25
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Instrumentnarrator-speaker(s), chorus mixed (SATB)
Ensemble Typechorus+soloist(s)+orch/ens
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Price
-
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InstrumentMedium Voice, organ
Ensemble Typevoice+keyboard
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Instrument
Ensemble Typechamber orchestra
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SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$16.50
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Instrumentpiano
Ensemble Typesolo instrument(s) featured+large ens or orch, large orchestra
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SAMPLE AUDIO-
Price
$19.50
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Instrumentstrings, piano
Ensemble Typestring orchestra, featured soloist, duo or ensemble+ keyboard
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Price
$22.95
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Instrumentpiano
Ensemble Typemultiple keyboards
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-
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Ensemble Typeorchestra
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Instrumentnarrator-speaker(s)
Ensemble Typeorchestra, chorus+orchestra/ens
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Instrument
Ensemble Typelarge orchestra
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Instrumentchorus women, piano
Ensemble Typechoral accompanied
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Price
$10.25
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Instrument
Ensemble Typelarge orchestra
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