Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter Chapter Meeting: Brandeis University (Feb 4, 2017)

AMS-NE Winter Chapter Meeting
Saturday, February 4th, 2017
Slosberg Recital Hall
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

9:30-10:00       Refreshments and Registration

Morning Session: Gateways to Perception
10:00               Welcome

John Klaess (Yale University), Music and Race in the Emergence of the "Urban Contemporary" Format, 1977-1987

In the early 1980s, radio industry commentators noted the arrival of a new station format, suggestively titled "Urban Contemporary." Stations employing this format--a mix of classic and new R & B, disco, and funk, book-ended by weekend rap programs--rose to prominence in several major markets.  By 1982, two Urban Contemporary stations competed for highest-rated station in New York City. Yet commentators could not agree on a definition of Urban Contemporary, nor on what criteria should be used to articulate such a definition. Some understood it a style of musical programming. Others, as demographic composition of the audition.  Still others argued it represented  little more than a clever rebranding of the existing "Black" format.  Nonetheless, Urban Contemporary stations attracted a signficant and heterogeneous listenership throughout the 1980s.

In this paper, I track the emergence of the Urban Contemporary format in execution and reception.  Centered around case studies of New York City stations WBLS and WRKS, I cue into the ways commentators and broadcasters deployed categories of race, sound, and marketability in their definitions.  Drawing on discussions of the format in trade publications, oral historical interviews and hits charts, I demonstrate the ways in which broadcasters produced and responded to the increasing demand for Black music, participating in what Mark Anthony Neal has described as the re-racialization of American music. Broadcasters sought to retain the broadest listenership while attracting maximal advertising dollars. These delicate negotiations balanced service to a core Black audience while attempting to maximize appeal to other constituencies.  I ask what role musical sound and its advertising played in these negotiations.  Engaging recent work on genre and style, I suggest attention to radio format as a complementary category, one revealing the resonances of race and musical sound in the 1980s.

John Klaess is a PhD candidate at Yale University. His dissertation, titled "Breaks in the Air: Rap on the Radio in New York, 1979-1989," examines the economies, techologies, and auditory cultures bearing on the adaptation of rap music to broadcast media. He has presented work at the national meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Ethnomusicology. 

Roberta Montemorra Marvin (University of Massachusetts-Amherst), Notions of Verdi in Victorian England
The music of Verdi rapidly became integrated into the repertory of London’s theaters following the premiere (March 1845) of Ernani, the first of the composer’s operas staged in the British capital. London was an important location for dissemination of Verdi’s works: the first commission Verdi received from outside Italy—I masnadieri, 1847—came from Benjamin Lumley at Her Majesty’s Theatre; Don Carlos received its first performance following its Parisian premiere in London; the Messa da Requiem was successfully performed multiple times under the composer’s baton; adaptations of Verdi’s operas reached a broad, mixed-class audience outside the opera house as burlesques and farces and via “Englished” sheet music. Other, unpleasant, events made London loom large in Verdi’s career; these culminated in a scandal played out in the international press, precipitated by the refusal of organizers for 1862 London International Exhibition to perform Verdi’s commissioned work to represent the newly independent Italian nation.

No doubt Verdi and his works were well known and widely disseminated in Victorian Britain. But to date little has been said about what British audiences and critics knew and thought about the man Verdi, or what effect those perceptions may have had on the reception of his music. To address these issues, I focus on verbal accounts in the English press concerning Verdi’s behavior and appearance, and on visual images of Verdi’s person, engravings and photographs published in newspapers, scores, and books. Against perceptions and images of Verdi’s music, conceptions of Victorian decorum; ideas about physiognomy and phrenology; and prescribed techniques and conventions of portraiture for depicting character traits, I unpack messages conveyed to readers/viewers about Verdi the man. My study of these Victorian notions of Verdi furnishes insights into British sensibilities and culture, especially the possible intertwining of societal expectations and aesthetic perceptions.

 Roberta Montemorra Marvin is Professor and Chair in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has served on the faculty of Tufts University, Boston University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Iowa where she also served as Associate Dean of International Programs and as founding Director of the Opera Studies Forum. Author of The Politics of Verdi’s “Cantica” (2014) and Verdi the Student – Verdi the Teacher (2010, winner of the Premio Internazionale Giuseppe Verdi), she has been the recipient of numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the Fulbright program, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. Marvin is also co-editor of seven books, most recently The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World, 1800-1930 (2016) and Music in Print and Beyond: Hildegard von Bingen to The Beatles (2013, Eastman Studies in Music). An earlier publication, Operatic Migrations: Transforming Works and Crossing Boundaries was short-listed for the American Musicological Society’s Ruth L. Solie Award. She has edited two volumes in The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (Casa Ricordi and University of Chicago Press) and has served as Associate General Editor for that series. She is also the sole editor of the Cambridge Verdi Encyclopedia (2013), Editor-in-Chief of the journal Verdi Forum, and founding book series editor for Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera.

Gabrielle Cornish (Eastman School of Music), Sounding the Gulag: Toward a Sonic History of the Soviet Labor Camps
In recent years, historians of the Soviet Union have emphasized the “spatial regime” of the Gulag—one in which the movement of bodies and borders was heavily regulated. Kate Brown, for example, has provocatively suggested that within the geographies of Soviet socialism, the Gulag lay at one extreme of a spatial spectrum that connected it with broader totalitarian structures within the Soviet Union (Brown 2007). This work, however, has focused on the tangible elements—walls, fences, borders—of mass incarceration in the Soviet Union. As a result, a more complete sensory history of everyday life in the labor camps has been largely overlooked. 

Building on recent studies of music, torture, and war by Suzanne Cusick and J. Martin Daughtry, my paper seeks to remedy this oversight by attempting to reconstruct the sonic landscape of the Gulag. Using memoir accounts of prisoners and camp guards, I argue that aural experience was an essential means of constructing life and identity in the Gulag, which was as much a sonic regime—with bells, barks, whistles, and shouts—as it was a spatial one. Moreover, I position musical performance as a means of asserting personal sovereignty and individual agency within this sonic regime. To this end, I trace the many appearances of a single patriotic mass song, Isaak Dunayevsky’s “Wide Is My Motherland” (1936), as an authoritative discourse that convicts questioned through performance and parody in various settings. As an acoustic community, the Gulag created, absorbed, cultivated, organized, and refracted the lived sonic experience of its prisoners. Deeply intertwined with its aural surroundings, the Gulag participated in a discursive network of people, objects, sounds, and vibrations. Through performance of the song, prisoners in the Gulag subversively questioned the official authority of “Wide Is My Motherland” and self-fashioned new, incarcerated identities through song.

Gabrielle Cornish is a PhD student in musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Her research broadly considers the role music played in everyday life during late socialism. In particular, her dissertation examines the intersections between music, technology, and politics in the Soviet Union from 1960-1991. She received a B.A. in music and Russian studies from the University of Rochester, after which she was awarded a Fulbright grant to Russia. Gabrielle has presented her work at national and international conferences throughout the United States, UK, and Russia.

12:05-1:50       Lunch Break

1:50-2:10         Business Meeting

Afternoon Session: Dynamic Perceptions           
Matthew Timmermans (McGill University), Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago: a Transnational Vision for Inter-war Central Europe

During its first run in Vienna, Emmerich Kálmán’s (1882–1953) Die Herzogin von Chicago (1928) had 301 consecutive performances and then toured internationally, yet it remains relatively unrecognized in operetta scholarship today.  With this story of a rich American woman who falls in love with a Hungarian prince, Kálmán treats the American-European encounter as a clash of American jazz and Charleston rhythms with Central European classical music such as the Viennese waltz and stylized Hungarian folk idioms. Unlike contemporaneous experimental works such as Ernest Krenek’s (1900–91) Jonny spielt auf (1926), where the contrast of jazz with European “high art” might be understood as a modernist critique of inadequacies in German society, I argue that Herzogin has been neglected because it combines two popular music genres excluded from the precincts of high art, that is, jazz and operetta.  Nonetheless, this conflation suggests a more covert, but no less radical, construction of German identity after World War I.  

To uncover this subtle communication of identity, I draw on Rebecca Walkowitz’s post-modern methodology “critical cosmopolitanism” to explore the alternative socio-political meanings that exist between the boundaries of different cultural vernaculars and are neglected by the dominant Western bias. Although from the perspective of Western “high art” jazz was seen as a degenerate musical genre in inter-war Central Europe, composers such as Kálmán saw it as a symbol of America’s cultural freedom. Furthermore, I argue that Kálmán’s Jewish identity functioned as a survival strategy enabling him to explore the porousness between the vernaculars of American jazz and the Viennese waltz because he did not identify with the Austrian majority. By combining jazz and the waltz in Herzogin, Kálmán offers an alternative national identity to the growing hegemonic doctrine of National Socialism in the form of a culturally inclusive (transnational) vision of Central Europe.

Matthew Timmermans is completing his second year in a master’s of musicology at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. His research focuses mainly on 19th century opera within the context of philosophy, aesthetics, and performing practice. This year, he received a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) research grant to complete his master’s thesis. His thesis explores how we perceive ageing in opera, specifically the reception of performers who have aged. He has presented his research at several conferences, such as those hosted by University College Dublin, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University.  

Monica A. Hershberger (Harvard University), Two Stages in the Operatic Life of Susan B. Anthony: Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s The Mother of Us All at Columbia University (1947) and the Santa Fe Opera (1976)
In 1947, Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s The Mother of Us All premiered at Columbia University. The Santa Fe Opera revived The Mother in 1976, celebrating simultaneously the company’s twentieth anniversary and the American bicentennial. I argue that the university premiere and the professional revival – separated by 29 years and almost 2,000 miles – illuminate how the meaning of one American opera evolved through the progress of the Cold War and the modern feminist movement. 

Commissioned by the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University, The Mother of Us All loosely chronicles the life and work of Susan B. Anthony. Initially, the opera appeared a rather esoteric work, with a seemingly unconventional operatic heroine, fragmented libretto, and retrospective musical score. I show how in the context of 1947, The Mother may be read as an ironic commentary on the achievements of the women's suffrage movement, particularly as many women during the immediate post-war era endured pressure to leave the workforce and return to the home. 

Santa Fe's lavish revival, with its onstage parades and brightly colored, larger-than-life sets by pop artist Robert Indiana, proposed a different interpretation. Moreover, the company repeatedly boasted that British conductor Raymond Leppard was in the process of becoming an American citizen, forging a link between his desire to be an American and his first experience conducting an American opera about a great American woman. Using archival materials from Columbia University, Yale University, and the Santa Fe Opera, including never-released documentary footage of the 1976 season, I show how during the bicentennial year, Santa Fe revived not only The Mother of Us All, but also nationalism and feminism, grafting them together as if to submerge the opera’s initial satire or skepticism.

 Monica A. Hershberger is a PhD candidate in historical musicology at Harvard University where she is completing her dissertation “American Operatic Heroines: Staging National and Feminist Identities during the Cold War.” Monica has presented her research at various conferences, including those of the American Musicological Society, Society for American Music, College Music Society, and American Comparative Literature Association. She recently published an article on Douglas Moore’s 1966 opera about Kansas temperance crusader Carry A. Nation (1846-1911) in The Opera Journal, as well as a digital lecture on Jack Beeson’s 1965 opera about New England axe-murderess Lizzie Borden (1860-1927) through the Society for American Music’s new Digital Lectures in American Music Series. Prior to beginning her PhD, Monica earned a BM and MM in piano performance; she maintains a small private piano studio in Somerville, Massachusetts. 

Gui Hwan Lee (College-Conservatory of Music at the University of  Cincinnati), The Heroic Journey of Musical Persona: Two-Layered Narrative in Joe Hisaishi’s  Film Scores for Spirited Away
Film music scholarship has often interpreted non-diegetic sound in association with film’s story and image, rather than considering multiple layers of narratives the sound implies: one that supports filmic narrative through techniques such as Mickey mousing or thematic association, and the other that unfolds its own narrative as if abstract instrumental music. 

The latter is not always apparent, but if both exist in a film score, they can interact with each other, weaving a rich fabric of musical meaning. Joe Hisaishi’s score for Hayao Miyazaki’s internationally acclaimed anime Spirited Away (2001) invites us to two interacting layers of narrative, that is, the one on the surface layer (the film’s narrative), and the other on the deeper layer (abstract musical narrative). Scholars have discussed the score by focusing on its eclectic styles (Koizumi 2010) and American influence (Roedder 2013), but no study yet has analyzed it in terms of two-layered narratives.  

Drawing on the existing scholarship on film music regarding semiotics (Schneller 2013), musical agency (Reyland 2012), and tonal design (Neumeyer 1998), this paper proposes two layers of narrative and their interaction from four pieces accompanying the film’s key moments: “One Summer’s Day,” “The River of the Day,” “The Sixth Stop,” and “Reprise.”  On the surface layer, these pieces realize an effective mimesis of the narrative that an ordinary girl saves her enchanted parents and friend through her journey in the liminal world of Japanese deities. On the deeper layer, they draw another narrative that an insecure and uncertain musical persona finally makes its tonal/harmonic resolution through three-key stages in third relationship: C major–E minor–G major. Thus, this paper not only sheds light on narratives in Hisaishi’s film scores, but also proposes a model to apply for future studies of musical narratives in non-diegetic sounds. 

After completing the bachelor’s degree in violin performance in South Korea, Gui-Hwan Lee began the Master’s program in musicology at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in 2013, then added in 2015 the M.M. in music theory at the same institution. In the summer of 2016, Lee finished his master’s thesis about Luciano Berio’s string quartet and orchestral music for the musicology degree, and will complete both degrees by the spring of 2017. Recently, Lee has applied for PhD programs in musicology, while refining two research topics which he will be pursuing during his doctoral study: aesthetics of post-1945 western chamber music, and global/local qualities of East-Asian popular songs as well as film music.
4:10                 Refreshments