Solo Vocal Music of American Composer John La Montaine: Compositions for Voice on Piano

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John La Montaine is known primarily for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 9, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1959. In addition, he has won countless awards for composition. However, his compositions for voice and piano are not yet an established part of the vocal solo repertoire.

This work illustrates La Montaine’s music for voice and piano through an analysis of musical and dramatic elements that support the text and drama. A biographical study provides details about the composer’s life such as musical training, personal influences, awards and goals. In addition, the issues of philosophy, creativity, methods, musical styles, and textual considerations are discussed and are the basis for the following analysis.


“In this book, Pearl Yeadon McGinnis has provided the musical world with a far more thorough and insightful account of the prolific composer John La Montaine and his songs more than anyone could have hoped for. The composer’s life, training, influences, and career are meticulously examined here. And his songs are studied very fruitfully from the dual perspectives of an accomplished and experienced singer and of a sensitive reader of poetry. La Montaine emerges as a major composer who deserves to be mentioned along with other, perhaps more famous, American students of Nadia Boulanger of his generation and the previous one, such as Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Virgil Thomson. Dr. McGinnis’ study comes at a time when interest in La Montaine and his songs appears to be swelling, if to judge only by the number of recently released recordings. This book will no doubt stimulate this interest considerably. And as knowledge and appreciation of La Montaine’s songs spreads to voice teachers and singer, the vocal repertoire will be augmented and enriched a great deal. For that, we will all be grateful to the author.” – (From the Preface) Dr. John Walter Hill, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface, Foreword, Acknowledgements
1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Six Sonnets of Shakespeare, Opus 12
4. Three Poems of Holly Beye, Opus 15
5. Four Songs for Soprano, Opus 2
6. Three American Folk Songs
7. Three English Folk Songs
8. Invocation, Opus 4
9. Miscellaneous Solo Songs
10. Conclusion
List of Musical Figures

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