Morrow took up completing Volume I because she was a close student to Brown and is an expert in 18th century music. In June of 2012, the work was finally published.
"The Symphonic Repertoire - Volume I" includes composers that other books on 18th-century symphony have either not talked about in depth or simply never talked about at all.
“It (the book) is putting together information that has not been put together in this form before,” Morrow explains. The book is organized geographically, with each section containing an overview of symphonic composition in the region as well as essays on significant composers who worked there.
According to Morrow, in the 18th century, symphonies were not commonly distributed in scores (which show all of the instrumental parts together), but in bundles containing each instrumental part. Scholars working with this material must put these parts into score before they can analyze the music. Short examples from these scores help illustrate the essays.
The composers within the book have their own chapters based on the quality of their music and significance in their era. According to Morrow, scholars believe that as many as 20,000 symphonies were composed in the 18th century, so she looked for unique composers that scholars had written enough about to merit a chapter in the book. “There are not as many (scholars) doing this kind of dissertation research. It has fallen out of fashion,” she says.
Mary Sue Morrow’s mother was a piano teacher and got her into music from a very young age. Morrow attended Rhodes College in Memphis and received her bachelor’s in music history in 1975. She played piano and organ during her education but it became clear performing was not her strong suit.
“I was still very interested in music,” she says. “So, my mom suggested musicology.” From there she entered Northwestern to complete her masters and met Peter Brown during her Ph.D. at Indiana University.
Although “The Symphonic Repertoire” is meant for a more academic audience, Morrow thinks people who have a love for music will appreciate the first four overview chapters as well. The book also includes a CD of symphonies performed by the Bloomington Early Music Festival Orchestra, and all but one of the symphonies has never been recorded before.
Mary Sue Morrow taught at Loyola University for 15 years before coming to CCM in 1999.
Marisa Whitaker is a student intern with UC Magazine.
Get more details about Morrow's book.