Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Chapter Meeting (Mount Holyoke College, April 8, 2017)

AMS-NE Spring Chapter Meeting
Saturday, April 8th, 2017
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA
Pratt Music Hall, Rm. 109
Parking and Accommodations info here.
Abstracts and bios are posted as they become available.

9:30-10:00       Refreshments and Registration

Morning Session
10:00               Welcome

Ferruccio Busoni and the Liceo musicale di Bologna: Transnationalism and Italian Musical Culture
Erinn Knyt (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

When Busoni accepted the directorship of the Liceo Musical di Bologna in the spring of 1913, he assumed leadership of a well-respected music institution in Italy. Yet, his goal was not simply to direct the prestigious conservatory—he also wanted to revitalize the entire Bolognese musical scene, and with it, lay the grounds for an Italian music revival.   While the year was disappointing, as many of his ideas could not be implemented due to bureaucratic red tape, budget constraints, longstanding traditions, and changes in government, it was pivotal in Busoni’s development as a thinker and composer. It represents a time of turning from nationalism to the transnationalism. At the same time, it was an important point in the history of Italy, which, through political turmoil and transition, began experiencing a reawakening of musical culture.
Although Busoni’s time at other institutions has been discussed in some detail, his year at the Liceo musicale di Bologna is hardly mentioned in scholarly sources.  Based on archival material in conjunction with student memoirs, letters, and other documents, this article provides the first detailed account of Busoni’s activities at the Liceo and their significance for his career as well as for musical life in Bologna and Italy. In the process the article contributes to ongoing scholarship about transnational musical influences in the early 20th century and a little researched period in Italian musical and political development.

Erinn Knyt is assistant professor of music history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her B.A. in Music (Music History and Piano Performance) with highest honors from the University of California, Davis in 2003, an M.M. in Music from Stanford University in 2007, and Ph.D. in Music and Humanities from Stanford University in 2010. 
Knyt specializes in 19th and 20th century music, aesthetics, and performance studies and has written extensively about Ferruccio Busoni. She has articles in the Journal of the Royal Musical AssociationAmerican Music, the Journal of Musicology, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, the Journal of Musicological Research, and Twentieth Century Music, and has presented papers at conferences throughout the U.S. and abroadHer book, which is scheduled to appear in 2017 with Indiana University Press, explores Busoni’s relationship with early and mid-career composition mentees, including Jean Sibelius, Edgard Varèse, Otto Luening, Louis Gruenberg, and Philipp Jarnach.  Her book was awarded an AMS 75 Pays Endowment Book Subvention Grant.

Identifying the Unknown Source of a pre-Rameau Harmonic Theorist:        Who was  Alexander Malcolm’s Mysterious Ghostwriter?
Paula Telesco (University of Massachusetts-Lowell)

      Alexander Malcolm (1685-1763) published his Treatise of Musick in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1721, one year before Rameau published his Traité de l’harmonie. This was the first important work on music theory published in Scotland, and established Malcolm’s musical reputation. Sir John Hawkins considered it "one of the most valuable treatises on the subject of theoretical and practical music to be found in any of the modern languages."
      Malcolm’s treatise includes some of the earliest published English discussions of triadic inversion, and the inappropriateness of a 6/4 inversion substituting for a root position triad.
Malcolm's chp.13, in particular, is often cited by current music theorists, and anticipates the writings of Rameau. For example, Joel Lester states that while Malcolm’s “may not be a fully developed theory of melodic-harmonic structure. . . . its invocation of harmonic norms combined with well-considered voice-leading recommendations . . . sounds strikingly modern.” And, in discussing modulation with respect to eighteenth century theorists, Thomas Christensen states: “Malcolm offered a description of modulation similar to that of Rameau.” However, Malcolm’s Introduction states: “Justice demands [that I] inform you that the 13 Ch. of the following Book was communicated to me by a Friend [emphasis mine], whose Modesty forbids me to name.”
     Who was this friend? To determine that, one must first determine the author(s) of two rare anonymous contemporaneous treatises, remarkably similar to each other, and one nearly identical to Malcolm’s Chp. 13. Several writers have speculated on possible authors, two in particular, but none have provided actual evidence. I have identified the author of these two hitherto-anonymous treatises, and he is none other than the “modest” friend of Malcolm’s. But where did this friend get his theoretical training? I will identify the likely (and surprising) theorist with whom this author studied.

Dr. Paula Telesco is an Associate Professor of Music Theory and Aural Skills at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she is pursuing research on Alexander Malcolm, Music Perception, the Effects of Music on Early Learning, Music Theory and Aural Skills Pedagogy, and 18th-Century Analysis, with a focus on Enharmonicism.

Bach’s Thumbs: Paired Fingering, Continuo Playing, and the Advent of Modern Keyboard Technique
John McKean (Boston, MA)

It is common knowledge within performance practice circles that paired fingering—the stepwise alternation of adjacent fingers—was a mainstay of early keyboard technique. When and how did this seemingly unintuitive (if not outright bizarre) practice give way to the now-ubiquitous thumb-under technique? A long-standing anecdote claims that it was none other than J. S. Bach who devised “a much more complete way of using the fingers”. But can one keyboardist (Bach or otherwise) really be credited with single-handedly precipitating the advent of modern keyboard technique? This paper addresses these questions while tracing the technical developments that emerged around the turn of the eighteenth century. Although factors as varied as instrument technology, circulating temperaments, expanded tonal palettes, and aesthetic trends in keyboard composition played a decisive role in shaping the kinaesthetics of keyboard performance, I will argue that the art of continuo playing, in particular, served as a catalyst for many of the dramatic developments in keyboard technique that came to fruition during the first half of the eighteenth century. By constructing an understanding of these technical developments in corporeal, embodied terms, we gain insight into how and why the keyboard works by Bach and his contemporaries are as much concrete artifacts of their authors’ keyboard-playing bodies as they are abstract products of their musical minds.
John McKean is a Boston-based harpsichordist and musicologist. Frequently in demand as a continuo player, he regularly performs with numerous leading American and European early music chamber ensembles, including the Catacoustic Consort, Camerata Vocale Freiburg, and Habsburger Camerata; has appeared with the Jacksonville, Naples, Portland (Maine), and Pittsburg symphony orchestras (among others); and has performed extensively and recorded with Apollo’s Fire—the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra. He counts among his live radio broadcasts performances on NPR, BBC Radio 3, and Deutschlandradio Berlin.
In the academic realm, he holds degrees in German Studies and Harpsichord Performance from Oberlin College/Conservatory, an advanced performance diploma from the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg (Germany), as well as an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Cambridge (U.K). His master’s thesis unearthed new details concerning the life and works of French harpsichord composer Gaspard Le Roux, while his doctoral dissertation examined the development of keyboard technique during the German Baroque. For several years he served as an assistant editor of the Oxford University Press journal Early Music. Beyond his musicological work and performing career, John also maintains an active interest in instrument building (he regularly performs on his own reconstruction of a 17th-century Flemish harpsichord), music publishing, and typography.

12:05-1:50       Lunch Break

1:50-2:10         Business Meeting

Afternoon Session
Keynote address: "Rameau's Principle of Nature vs. Rousseau's State of Nature"
James Parakilas (Bates College)

Jim Parakilas is the James L. Moody, Jr. Family Professor of Performing Arts at Bates College.  His scholarly work includes Ballads without Words: Chopin and the Tradition of the Instrumental Ballade (1992) and other writings on Chopin, most recently the chapter “The Barcarolle and the Barcarolle: Topic and Genre in Chopin” (to appear this summer in Halina Goldberg and Jonathan Bellman eds., Chopin and His World); The Story of Opera and other writings on opera, including the “The Operatic Canon” in Helen Greenwald, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Opera (2014); and Piano Roles: 300 Years of Life with the Piano (2000).  His latest project is a study of the histories of competing concepts of music in Western philosophy; his talk for AMS-NE comes from the portion of that study dealing with the paradox that music is both art and nature.

"From Rameau to Riemann: Giorgio Antoniotti's L'Arte Armonica as a Missing Link from Fundamental Bass to the Tonnetz"
Deborah Burton (Boston University)
      Giorgio Antoniotto published his 1760 treatise L’arte armonica, with subscribers including Burney, Arne, Hawkins and Dr. Johnson. Bringing attention to Antoniotto helps fill a lacuna in the study of Italian music theory, and sheds light on his contemporaries in the British Isles, including Malcolm (1721) and Smith (1749). Antoniotto’s treatise is presented here as a link between Rameau and Riemann.
            Using Rameau’s fundamental bass, Antoniotto generates scales from sequential perfect fifths. He posits two systems: Natural (diatonic) and General (chromatic). In the latter, he explores the complete chromatic, whole-tone scales, and major- and minor-third cycles. His grid of the General moves by perfect fifths horizontally and vertically, with one diagonal a whole-tone scale, and the other unisons. Another example shows whole-tone lines in the soprano, tenor and bass parts, with a chromatic line in the alto. He demonstrates a major-third cycle (C-E-G#-C) in yet another example, and in a fourth, a minor-third cycle passes through the major keys of C, A, F# and Eb, before returning to C major.
            Euler’s 1739 “genus diatonicum chromaticum” and 1774 “Speculum Musicum” have been deemed forerunners of the Riemannian Tonnetz, and Antoniotto has no grid precisely equivalent to Euler’s discoveries.  However, he does create one in which the horizontal and vertical axes consist of Natural (diatonic) thirds, with one diagonal perfect fifths, and the other unisons.
            In addition to exploring Antoniotto’s concepts, I place them in the context of contemporary geometric representations of musical structures, like Euler’s lattices. Hartung (1749), for example, demonstrates tonality in the form of a circle. The mystic Mace (1676), who believed that consonance and dissonance were related to Good and Evil, creates a spiral in which the octave represents the “source, cause, and conclusion in God.” I also show other geometric examples from Butler (1636) and Smith (1759).

Deborah Burton, Associate Professor of Music at Boston University, has taught at the University of Rome, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Florida International University, Fordham, University of Michigan and Adrian College. Her research concerns the history of music theory (emphasizing Italian sources) opera analysis, and counterpoint. Her recent monograph, entitled Recondite Harmony: Essays on Puccini’s Operas, is published by Pendragon Press. Along with Giorgio Sanguinetti (University of Rome, Tor Vergata), Dr. Burton edits the scholarly series, also for Pendragon, Italian Theoretical Treatises as part of the Harmonologia: Studies in Music Theory series.   Dr. Burton collaborated with Gregory Harwood to write a prize-winning annotated translation of Francesco Galeazzi’s 1796 Elementi Teorico-Practici, volume II, entitled The Theoretical-Practical Elements of Music in the Studies in the History of Music Theory and Literature of the University of Illinois Press (2012). Professor Burton was president of the New England Conference for Music Theory from 2006-2008.  She has published articles and reviews in Music Theory and Analysis, Music Theory Spectrum, Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale, Studi Musicali, Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana, Opera Quarterly, and she was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome in 2004, 2009, and 2014.
3:50                 Refreshments