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9780771050923_cover Enlarge Cover
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list price: $29.95
edition:Hardcover
category: History
published: Oct 2018
ISBN:9780771050923

Song of a Nation

The Untold Story of Canada's National Anthem

by Robert Harris

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post-confederation (1867-), classical
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $29.95
edition:Hardcover
category: History
published: Oct 2018
ISBN:9780771050923
Description

The greatest story never told, this formidable and gorgeously written biography documents the amazing and controversial short life of Calixa Lavallée--the composer of "O Canada"--and the tumult of 19th-century North America.

The story of "O Canada" is one of the great unknowns of our collective lives. No longer. This formidable and gorgeously written tale documents the history of this song of a nation, from its origins in French Canada in the years just after Confederation to the surprisingly controversial story of its adoption as Canada's national anthem a hundred years later.
Song of a Nation is also the extraordinary and mysterious story of Calixa Lavallée--the anthem's French-Canadian composer--and his compelling, almost unbelievable personal journey: his early life as a blackface minstrel, travelling throughout the United States for more than a decade; his service for the Union Army in the American Civil War; his production of the first opera in Quebec; and, in a final act, becoming a leading figure in American music education. To understand "O Canada," and to understand the man who wrote it, is to return to the Canada of the mid-1800s, just forming as a nation, bringing together ancient racial hatreds and novel political possibilities. More than just a song, in its own story "O Canada" evokes the history of a country creating an identity for itself out of the unique forces and rivalries of French and English Canada, and looking to the infinite possibilities that lay ahead.

Contributor Notes

ROBERT HARRIS is a long-time music journalist, writer, teacher, and broadcaster. He was the host and producer of I Hear Music, a weekly show presented on CBC Radio 2, and created "Twenty Pieces of Music That Changed the World" for CBC's The Sunday Edition. He is the author of two books and was, most recently, the classical music critic for the Globe and Mail. He lives in Toronto.

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