<< -- 4 -- Jennifer Paull A man of vision
In 1908, he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters,
and one year later, helped to formulate American copyright law. He was an
active fighter for composers' legal rights. Herbert's testimony
before Congress had great impact upon the American copyright law of 1909
that secured royalties for composers on the sales of sound recordings. In
1914 he was one of the founders of The American Society of Composers, Authors
and Publishers (ASCAP), of which he remained a vice-president and director
until his death. In 1917 he won a landmark case that had been carried as
far as the Supreme Court. Composers were granted the right to collect fees
for public performances of their works, through ASCAP.
Although Herbert's instrumental music fell out of favour after his death,
it has begun to reappear both in the concert hall, and on recordings. The
Second 'Cello Concerto, in E minor however, has always held its place
in the repertoire. This work, with its connected movements and thematic
transformation, is modelled upon Liszt's concertos. Enjoying an immediate
success with the public, it inspired Dvorák, who knew Herbert well,
to compose his 'Cello Concerto in B minor. Shortly before his death, Brahms
read Herbert's score. He spoke of the regret he then felt at not having
written a major work for the 'cello. He added that he had not previously
realised how excellent the instrument could be in a solo capacity.
A Suite of Serenades was his last work to be premièred.
It was included in the famous Aeolian Hall concert, Experiment
in Modern Music, which took place on 12 February 1924. The evening has
been best remembered for Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which also
received its first performance. Herbert died suddenly of a heart attack
three months later, shortly after his final show The Dream Girl began
its pre-Broadway run in New Haven, Connecticut.
Copyright © 22 March 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
JENNIFER PAULL'S AMORIS INTERNATIONAL
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