We will be wrapping up our series on American composers with the music of Charles Martin Loeffler.
Loeffler lived and worked on a farm outside of Boston, Massachusetts during the late 19th century. The “Boston Six” was composing at the same time, but Loeffler kept his distance from them and preferred to work on his own. He was considered by many of his colleagues to be a reclusive reactionary, but he welcomed many students to his farm over the years and experimented with tone poems and other symbolic aspects of music.
Loeffler’s music can probably be most easily compared to the music of Debussy and other turn-of-the-century French composers. There is an ethereal, impressionistic quality to it. He was less interested in writing string quartets or symphonies than he was in experimenting with musical moments that evoked colors or moods. Today’s piece, L’Etang from his Rhapsodies for viola, oboe, and piano, is a perfect example of his unique approach.