Compositional Maturity in the 1950s
This chapter examines Wilder's compositional maturity in the 1950s. From the late 1940s through the 1950s, Wilder pursued a long-held goal with growing confidence and perseverance. Having made his name as a songwriter-arranger, he now aspired to become more of a “composer.” He never abandoned the popular song but he found himself drawn more and more to the sounds and artistic sensibilities of the theater, opera house, and concert hall. Wilder's turn toward concert music was inspired, in his mind, by his association and friendship with his Eastman confrère John Barrows. Barrows took on a role for Wilder's concert music that Mitch Miller had once played for Wilder's experience in the popular realm: promoting him, helping him find opportunities, and offering boundless encouragement. Over the decades of their friendship, Wilder would write not only because of Barrows but also for him, as a soloist and in chamber groups.
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