Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AMS-NE Winter Meeting: The Hartt School (Hartford, CT) February 20

AMS-NE Winter Chapter Meeting
February 20, 2016 
The Hartt School

9:45-10:15 Refreshments and Registration 


Morning Session

10:15 Welcome

10:20 Why Striggio Was Not on Monteverdi’s Side: Orfeo (1607), Academy Culture, and the Staging of the “Artusi Controversy”
Joel Schwindt (The Boston Conservatory)


Musicologists have addressed various aspects of the "Monteverdi-Artusi Controversy," including compositional philosophy (Palisca 1985, Carter 1992, Ossi 2003, etc.), court politics (Siegele 1994), gender (Cusick 1993), and religious philosophy (Carter 2012). Yet to be considered, however, is how certain academic discourses that paralleled this polemic were essentially "staged" through the production of Orfeo in 1607 for the Mantuan Accademia degli Invaghiti (of which librettist Alessandro Striggio the Younger was a member). The academy members' writings on music—including a long dichiarazone on the subject by Stefano Guazzo, and as well as Mutio Manfredi's poem praising Artusi from the preface to the latter's L'Artusi of 1600—resonate with the theorist's views, based principally on Plato's warning against musical innovations that lead to the rejection the "old order" (Republic IV.424). A key aspect of this resonance is found in Artusi's objection to Monteverdi's rejection of beauty as his primary object (an aesthetic concept expressed metaphorically by both Artusi and the Invaghiti through architecture-based concepts of balance and proportion), and replacing it with musical novelties that capriciously violated the old musical order. This "perversion," in fact, was a direct affront to the Invaghiti's idealization of Neoplatonic moral beauty, as articulated in their motto, "Nothing is more beautiful than virtue." 

In Orfeo, this philosophical conflict is not manifested primarily within the moralizing speeches from the end of each act, but rather through messages hidden within the drama itself (a secretive approached advocated by the academy members themselves, reflective of the group's function as a private academy). The contrast between the old and new styles is embodied most effectively through La Musica's Prologue and Orpheus's "Possente spirto" (respectively): while the former features the balanced line and ordered style of the prima pratica, the latter's unbalanced lines and the empty virtuosity illustrate the irrational and capricious nature of the newer style. In sum, this paper considers how the famous controversy was rappresentata in musica through the collaboration between the "modernist" composer and the comparatively conservative members of the Invaghiti, offering insight into key philosophical discourses surrounding the creation of this foundational work.

Joel Schwindt received his PhD in Musicology from Brandeis University in 2014, and he is currently a member of the Music History faculty at The Boston Conservatory. His research focuses primarily on musical dramaturgy from Italy and France of the seventeenth century, addressing subjects such as Humanism and Classics studies, religious philosophy, learned societies, aesthetics, gender, and class rivalry. His publications include an article on oratory in Orfeo from the 2014 volume of the Cambridge Opera Journal, as well as an edition one of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Christmas-themed dramatic motets, published by Bärenreiter in 2011. He has given talks for the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, as well as meetings of the American Musicological Society's regional chapters, and he will give a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Renaissance Society in April of this year. He has received research and travel grants from the Mellon Foundation and American Musicological Society, as well as the 2012 Hollace Anne Schafer Memorial Award for the top graduate student paper given at a meeting of the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society. 

11:00 Nothing New Under the Sun: C.P.E. Bach’s Successor Schwenke and the Problem of Originality
Moira Hill (New Haven, CT) 

After the death of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in 1788, Hamburg church authorities elected the  budding composer Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schwenke to the post of Music Director and Cantor for the city’s five main churches. A student of Kirnberger and a virtuoso pianist, Schwenke was seen as a promising figure who it was hoped would breathe life into a newly-reformed office that had been plagued by his predecessor’s penchant for borrowing old music to fulfill his duties.


But was Schwenke actually the long-awaited panacea that Hamburgers had hoped for? This question has not been explored in depth, leaving it open as to what impact Hamburg’s church music reform undertaken in response to C.P.E. Bach’s tenure actually had. Taking the passion settings as a starting point, this paper offers a new perspective on this aspect of Bach’s legacy by showing that Schwenke depended on the same techniques for fashioning his works that Bach himself had used. This paper uncovers the extent of Schwenke’s use of borrowing and pasticcio technique by reconstructing his passions despite the almost complete loss of the assicated musical materials by examining other extant primary sources. I conclude that though Schwenke’s activities ran counter to the increasing worth laid on originality and genius at the turn of the nineteenth century, his choice to borrow from popular works such as Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Stabat Mater, and Mozart’s Requiem suggest the composer may have viewed his activities as contributing to Hamburg’s burgeoning concert culture.orrow from popular works such as Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Stabat Mater, and Mozart’s Requiem

Moira Leanne Hill recently earned her doctorate in Music History from Yale University, where she wrote her dissertation on Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s passion settings. She received her bachelor’s degree in Music from Harvard with a senior thesis on the sacred vocal concerti of Matthias Weckmann. She also holds a master’s degree in Musicology from the University of Minnesota, where she completed a thesis on seventeenth-century central German keyboard tablatures. During the 2010–2011 academic year she held the position of Junior Fellow at the Bach Archive in Leipzig with financial assistance from a DAAD grant. Currently Dr. Hill is preparing a volume for the scholarly editorial project Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works. Her current research interests include music of the galant, sacred music of the eighteenth century, primary source studies, performance practice, and evolutionary musicology.

11:40-1:40 Lunch Break

1:40-2:00 Business Meeting 

Keynote Address

2:00 George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends—The Archival Background
Ellen T. Harris (MIT)


3:15-3:30 Break 


Afternoon Session

3:30 Glinka’s Three Models of Instrumental Music
Kirill Zikanov (Yale University)


Although Russian composers generally relied on Western instrumental forms, they often subjected them to unconventional modifications. The foundational models for these unusual formal approaches were Glinka’s three orchestral fantasias, well known to Russian audiences, but foreign to modern musicology. In this talk, I demonstrate that a better understanding of Glinka’s formal innovations in Jota Aragonesa (1845), Kamarinskaia (1848) and Souvenir d’une nuit d’été à Madrid (1851) opens the door to a richer knowledge of later Russian music, from the kuchka to Stravinsky and beyond.
In Anglophone scholarship, Glinka’s impact as an instrumental composer has typically been ascribed to the ostinato-variation technique, where a short melody is repeated while the texture around it is varied. In contrast, many nineteenth-century critics emphasized the strikingly different ways in which Glinka achieved structural coherence in each of the three fantasias. Such nineteenth-century perspectives are the starting point for my own exploration of the formal approaches that Glinka pursued in these works. 
In Jota, he combines sonata and double variation structures, synthesizes unrelated material in the development, and enacts a process of timbral accumulation and dispersion. In Kamarinskaia, structured as two rotations, he reveals a hidden kinship between two melodies through variational procedures. Whereas contrasting elements are synthesized in Jota and Kamarinskaia, the four themes in Souvenir – an arch form with slow introduction and coda – remain unreconciled for the entirety of the composition.


As nineteenth-century critics noted, reflections of these three models can be seen in many works by later Russian composers. For example, kuchkist overtures tend to combine the sonata/variation procedures of Jota with the slow frame and kaleidoscopic thematic successions of Souvenir. Stravinsky’s abrupt shifts between contrasting static tableaux are similarly foreshadowed in Souvenir. Further intertextual connections can be made to the works of Chaikovsky, Glazunov and Shostakovich.


Kirill Zikanov is a Ph.D. candidate in music history at Yale University. His dissertation is a reception-oriented study of nineteenth-century orchestral music in the Russian Empire. His other interests include contemporary music and computational approaches to the study of music. Kirill has presented his work at the AMS and SMT annual meetings, and at conferences in Canada and the UK.  







4:10 Maurice Bouchor’s Little Wooden Actors at the Théâtre de la Marionnette (1888-1892)
Catrina Flint de Médicis (Vanier College)


Best known today for his poems for mélodies by many fin-de-siècle composers, Maurice Bouchor was a highly respected poet, playwright, and journalist. Between 1888 and 1894, he produced works for the Petit Théâtre de la Marionnette ranging from adaptations of Greek classics (Les Oiseaux) and Shakespeare (La Tempête) to original pieces on mystical themes (La Légende de Sainte-Cécile). These plays included music by Ernest Chausson or Paul Vidal, and sometimes Casimir Baille. The scant scholarly literature devoted to this repertoire tends to underscore their appeal to symbolist devotees of Stéphane Mallarmé and Maurice Maeterlinck (Branger 2000, Gosselin 2000, Lucet 2003). Despite this, in this paper, I argue that this group of works should not be taken as a consistent whole that appealed to a single audience, but as a diverse repertoire that attracted various types of turn-of-the-century French theatergoers. 

I begin by fleshing out Branger’s observations about the relationship between Bouchor’s works and symbolism. It is easy to connect the dots if we consider symbolist texts as pointedly dissociated from their objective reality. Bouchor’s puppet’s could only “speak” indirectly, as actors who were, “a reflection of symbolic forms or some being with all the appearance of life, though not actually living.” (Maeterlinck 1890) But I continue beyond Branger, to reviews by Saint-Vel, Bellaigue, Lemaître, and others to show that these works were not always received as symbolist. Indeed, following up on a brief observation made by Lamothe (2008), I expand upon the importance of melodrama in these pieces—a genre of music essential to theaters such as the Comédie-française. I conclude by pointing out the overwhelming presence of vocalized dance numbers in these works—a feature they shared with the majority of operettas of the time. In the end, Bouchor’s little wooden actors probably attracted a wide variety of listeners and spectators, for an equally large number of reasons.  


Catrina Flint completed her doctorate at McGill University with a thesis on the Schola Cantorum and its early music revival--a work later contracted for publication by the Eastman Studies in Music series. In addition to publications in Nineteenth-Century Music Review and Intersections, Catrina has presented a variety of papers at various conferences, including four read at the national meeting of the AMS. Her work has been funded by both the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec pour la Société et la Culture (FRQSC). An original member of the Francophone Music Criticism Network, Catrina is also a regular member of the Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (OICRM).
 






4:50 Ironic Masks, Randy Newman, and the Aesthetics of Social Tolerance
David Ferrandino (The University at Buffalo, SUNY)


While singers in pop, rock, and folk music often sing in the guise of characters to enhance lyrical narratives, singer-songwriter Randy Newman uses character masks in a more extreme manner. Singing through the voices of bigots, rapists, and corrupt politicians, Newman acts out the prejudice and hatred that he sees in American culture. My analysis focuses on Newman's most developed character personae, Johnny Cutler, the self-proclaimed redneck, racist, drunk, and protagonist of the 1974 album Good Old Boys. Newman adds nuance to the cliché of the southern redneck by giving Cutler a heightened level of self-awareness and a complex emotional profile while reinforcing the racist and chauvinistic tropes expected of that stereotype. Using the songs “Rednecks” and “Louisiana 1927,” I argue that Newman's musical settings play a large role in the transformation of his redneck mask and work to soften the harsh lyrics with allusions to early American popular song. Rather than rendering his character inoffensive, Newman's musical palette of Americana complicates Cutler by imbuing him with a haunting sense of familiarity.


In contrast to the related theories of subject-position or persona, masking better accounts for musical performances where a multiplicity of agencies are at work. Masking always involves additional layers in the relationship between performer, music, and audience, greatly increasing the potential for ironic ambiguity of meaning. To appreciate the full emotional impact of these masks, one must hear what they are saying and what they are hiding at the same time; or rather, to simultaneously observe the mask and the person who wears the mask. In this way, a study of Randy Newman can help illuminate discussions of other musicians who use masks and lead to a more sophisticated understanding of what performances of popular song can mean.


David Ferrandino recently received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY where studied post-1945 American music under Dr. Stephanie Vander Wel. Ferrandino’s research interests focus on the socio-political implications of popular music in American culture, the performance of musical identity, and musical minimalism. His dissertation, entitled “Irony, Mimicry, and Mockery: American Popular Music of the Late Twentieth Century” discusses the ways in which irony has become a driving creative force in popular culture at the end of the twentieth century and explores methodologies for using irony in the analysis of popular music created during this time.






5:30 Refreshments 





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