Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Music and Politics

There is a new online music journal, which I have just added to the list on the left. Music and Politics has its first issue out, with article on teaching a class on music and politics, music in WW2 concentration camps, a comparison of William Byrd and Shostakovich in dealing with authoritarian criticsm, and the relationship between Gideon Klein's string trio and the photographs of D.J. Ruzicka mingled with Bohemian politics.

Press Release: Barbara Monk Feldman

Monday, March 5, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
Arraymusic Studio, 60 Atlantic Ave., Suite 218, Toronto

Arraymusic is pleased to present composer Barbara Monk Feldman as part of our ongoing "Composer Talks" series at the Arraymusic Studio on Monday, March 5th, 2007, at 7:30 p.m.. Ms. Monk Feldman's talk, entitled "The Chaco Wilderness", will elucidate the compositional ideas and techniques in her most recent work.

Please join us at the Arraymusic studio for Barabara's lecture, which includes recordings of her work, as well as a post-lecture discussion. The composer's two compositions, Verses and Glockenspiel, are featured on Arraymusic percussionist Rick Sack's new CD, which is being released at Rick's solo concert at the Music Room, Hart House, University of Toronto, on March 9th at 8 p.m.. Rick will perform "Glockenspiel" at this event. Both Arraymusic's "Composer Talks" and Rick's solo concert are free-admission public events.

Barbara Monk Feldman is a Canadian composer of mostly chamber works which have been performed in Asia, Europe and North America.

Ms. Monk Feldman studied composition with Bengt Hambræus at McGill University in Montréal from 1980-83, where she earned her MMus. She then studied with Morton Feldman, whom she later married, at the State University of New York in Buffalo from 1984-87. There she earned her PhD on the Edgard Varèse Fellowship.

Numerous performers have played Ms. Monk Feldman's works, including the Arditti String Quartet, clarinetist Roger Heaton, pianists Yvar Mikhashoff, Ursula Oppens, Frederic Rzewski, and Aki Takahashi, percussionists Steven Schick, Robyn Schulkowsky and Jan Williams and cellist Frances-Marie Uitti.

Her music has been premiered at Darmstadt and the festivals Inventionen in Berlin, Nieuwe Muziek in Middelburg, Other Minds in San Francisco and Toronto New Music and in the Rotunda in Tokyo. BBC, BRT, CBC, HR, and WDR have recorded her works. She served on the faculty at Darmstadt in 1988, 1990 and 1994 and has guest-lectured at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and has lectured and taught at universities in Canada and the USA.

Her research in music and the visual arts has led to collaborations with numerous artists, including Stan Brakhage, whose hand-painted film "Three Homerics" was created specifically for use with her piece "Infinite Other".

She founded the "Time Shards Music Series" at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe in 2001 and has since served as its artistic director. Ms. Monk Feldman's article "Music and the Picture Plane" has appeared in the RES Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics (1997) and Contemporary Music Review (1998).

The Canadian Music Centre and Frog Peak Music distribute her music.


Upcoming conferences update

The list of conference notices has built up during my absence. Here are the latest.

Renaissance Society of America, Miami, March 23-25 2007. There are many papers on Renaissance music at this conference by Nicole Bensoussan, Anna Maria Busse Berger, Benjamin Brand, Mauro Calcagno, Lorenzo Calendario, Philippe Canguilhem, Seth Coluzzi, Marlene Eberhart, Don Harran, Aaron Kunin, Stefano Lorenzetti, Patrick Macey, Anne MacNeil, Anthony Newcomb, Mary Paquette-Abt, and Paul Schleuse.

MUSIC AND CRISIS, a graduate student conference. March 10, 9:30 to 5:30, Harvard University's Dudley House.


9:30 am Dudley House Common Room: Registration and Opening Remarks

10:00 am Morning Session I

-Instruments of War: The Impact of World War II on the American Music Industry
Sarah Deters Richardson, University of South Dakota
-Janacek's Makropulos and the Case of the Silent Diva
Jennifer Sheppard, University of California, Berkeley

11:30 am Morning Session II

-Korsakov's Complaint: The Forging of an Unlikely Musical Rebel
Leah Goldman, University of Chicago (Department of Russian History)
-Haydn's "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser": The Composer as Architect of Imperial Unity
Karen Hiles, Columbia University

2:20 pm Afternoon Session

-A Question of Home: The Search for the Armenian Musical Voice
Sylvia Alajaji, Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester
-Redesigning for Multiple Publics: Taste, Community and the Classical Music Landscape
Byron Sartain, University of Wisconsin, Madison

4:10 pm Keynote Address by Christoph Wolff, Adams University Professor at Harvard University: "Grappling with Consequences of Political Troubles: Professional Experiences and Personal Reflections"

A Study Day on the Music of Johannes Regis, July 18th, 2007, Cambridge University, Faculty of Music, West Rd

Papers will include studies of Regis's two mass cycles and his motet texts; The Clerks' Group will be in residence to provide live illustrations.

The day will conclude with a concert in Emmanuel College Chapel by The Clerks' Group.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Het zoete huis van het huis

My apologies for the dead air this last week. My parents were visiting, requiring serious house cleaning. And then I had to finish my paper and get packed for the conference. But I've traveled to Holland and back, slept long enough to be mostly over my jet lag, and ready to start writing again. I got back just in time to see DePauw get in the national news. I'll only comment that two of my students get on the air, Lynsay Moy and Kim Lee. And a few other music students are in the background of the Good Morning America story. Kim is a music education major and a good flutist, Lynsay is a double major in voice performance and studio art and an excellent student.

The conference was quite good. I was scheduled to play in two jam sessions on the night before the conference officially began, but was also roped in at the last minute to mimic a bombard on my decidedly twentieth-century trumpet for the first piece of the concert. I was too jet-lagged to say no, though I had to fight a sticky first valve for that performance. The conference itself included sessions on jazz improv, early music improv, British free improv, and improv pedagogy (including my paper). Being a European conference, there were plenty of coffee/tea breaks, which we had to use very specific little tickets to get. And being in the Netherlands, the lunches and one dinner provided were nothing to write home about, unless you really want to hear about the Dutch version of chinese food. There was a round table discussion at the end of the conference, during which a retired local professor announced that jazz music was banal, crappy, and not worth analyzing. That provided plenty of conversation for a group of us at a restaurant afterward.

Due to a canceled flight, I ended up "sleeping" in the Philadelphia airport one night and arriving home a day later than planned. But now that the conference is done, I can get back to writing my sabbatical articles. I'm sure I missed all sorts of interesting issues in the classical blogosphere, but I'm not going to try to catch up. Don't take it personally.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Free book bleg

Routledge Press is offering me a free book for filling out a survey. I've narrowed down the field to seven books, listed below. I'd appreciate any comments on these books, for or against.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Music and Memory

I just finished reading this very good book by Bob Snyder. Bob is a composer who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While the title and the opening make this seem to be a very specialized book, it actually covers many different topics in music cognition and music theory. Snyder includes sections on Gestalt psychology, Jonathan Kramer's theories of linearity and vertical time, pitch discrimination, Lerdahl and Jackendoff's musical hierarchies, rhythm theory, music and metaphor, as well as many details of the psychology of memory. I picked this book up to bolster my pedagogy model, but ended up finding many things appropriate for my phenomenology of time project. This is a well researched book, but also very readable by musicians, psychologists, neuroscientists, and interested laity. It provides a great introduction to many of the issues of music cognition and music theory, so much so that I'm considering using this book as the foundation for my psychology of music class. While the book only covers some topics quite superficially, it refers to excellent books and articles for more depth on each of those topics. I could have the students track down sources, both to learn more about the subject and to practice good research skills. But regardless, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in music cognition.

Press release: Golijov interview

WGBH 89.7 FM Interview with Recent Grammy Winner Osvaldo Golijov Available Online at

On Sunday, Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov won two 2007 Grammy awards---Best Opera Recording and Best Contemporary Classical Composition---for his opera, Ainadamar (Fountain Of Tears) starring soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with conductor Robert Spano. In August of last year, WGBH 89.7 FM's Classics in the Morning host Cathy Fuller sat down with Mr. Golijov at his home in Brookline, MA and discussed this award winning opera, his first. This exclusive, in-depth interview---complete with excerpts from this moving opera---can now be heard online at

About Ainadamer: Despite being Golijov's first opera, Ainadamar has cemented his place as one of the most imaginative operatic voices of our time. Ainadamar tells the story of dramatist Federico García Lorca and his muse, Catalan stage actress Margarita Xirgu (in a twist, Lorca is played by a woman) and incorporates Arab, Jewish, and flamenco elements.

Happy Frozen Cupid Day

The local schools were on a 2-hour delay for all of last week, due to extreme* cold conditions. This week, they decided to close school both yesterday and today because of snow and ice. They even closed DePauw today, the first time in about thirty years. And Mary's seminary was closed yesterday and on a very short schedule today. John Scalzi's picture says it all. Fortunately I had already purchased a valentine card and took Mary out for a dinner date on Monday, so I'm not as unprepared as John. Meanwhile, I'm trying to prepare for my conference while taking care of the kids, which mostly involves watching them sled down our hill continuously. Though today they decided to have school at home. There were math problems, reading practice, and story time, with the sledding as recess. Throw in some violin and cello practice this afternoon and we'll call it a day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Opera fiends, attend me!

"Technologies of the Diva"
an international, interdisciplinary conference on opera

Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th March 2007

The Teatro, 2nd floor, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue (between 116th and 118th Streets), New York City.

The conference is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by the Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Maison Francaise, the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, the Department of Music, and the Provost, Columbia University.

Speakers to include Carolyn Abbate, Corbett Bazler, Katherine Bergeron, Gregory Bloch, Alessandra Campana, Gabriela Gomes da Cruz, Ulysse Dutoit, Melina Esse, Lydia Goehr, Heather Hadlock, Karen Henson, David Levin, Isabelle Moindrot, Roger Parker, Clemens
Risi, Susan Rutherford, Arman Schwartz, Mary Ann Smart, and Jonathan Sterne.


Normally conferences of regional academic societies are small affairs. But Music Theory Southeast, AMS South Central, and SEM Southeast and Caribbean are holding a joint conference at the University of Georgia, allowing for several paper sessions held concurrently:

Friday, March 16, 2007

8:00–9:00 Registration and Coffee
9:00–10:30 Paper Sessions

Funk and Pop (MTSE)

“Nonlinear Time in Funk as Exemplified in James Brown’s Say It Live and Loud” Gabriel Miller (Ohio State University)

“Burning Bridges: Defining the Interverse Using the Music of U2” Christopher Endrinal (Florida State University)

“Klang, Kar, und Melodie: A Crash Course on Musical Narrative” Juan Chattah (Agnes Scott College)

Issues in World Popular Music (SEMSEC)

“Female Pop Singers, Sexuality, Goddess Cults, and the Politics of Neatness in 21st-Century Vietnam” Dale A. Olsen (Florida State University)

“Making Violence Ordinary: RTLM Radio and the Rwandan Genocide” Jason McCoy (Florida State University)

“Lamenting Stolen Culture to the Culture Thieves: Dougie Maclean and the Deterritorialization of Scotland” Paul F. Moulton (Florida State University)

Jazz (Joint)

“New Sounds in Jazz: The Role of Teo Macero in Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew” Renato Buchert (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

“Dave Brubeck and Polytonal Jazz” Mark McFarland (Georgia State University)

“Jazz Influence in Two Concertos of Aaron Copland” Reed David (University of Kentucky)

Musical Taste, Musical Structure (AMS-SC)

“The Structural and Dramatic Role of the Piano in Richard Strauss’s Kramerspiegel, Op. 66” Matt Hoch (Shorter College)

“Taste in Transition: The Musical Entertainer and English Popular Song in the Late 1730s” Kevin Kehrberg (University of Kentucky)

“Soviet Film Montage and Shostakovich’s Symphonies” Terry Klefstad (Belmont University)

10:30–10:45 Break

10:45–11:45 Paper Sessions

Form and Drama (MTSE)

“Visions of Heaven and Hell, Chromatic Ascents, and the Displaced Ursatz: The First Movement of Bruckner’s Ninth” Boyd Pomeroy (Georgia State University)

“The Second Repeat in Beethoven’s Sonata-Form Movements: Tonal, Formal, and Motivic Strategies” James S. MacKay (Loyola University, New Orleans College)

Sixteenth Century España (AMS-SC)

“Improvisation, Composition, and Pedagogy in Tomás de Santa Maria’s Arte de taner fantasia” David Marcus (Clark Atlanta University)

“The Repertory of the Spanish Cathedral Bands” Ken Kreitner (University of Memphis)

Southern Traditions (SEMSEC)

“The ‘Dr. Watts Hymns’ of the African-American Church: The Development of a Religious Song Tradition” Erica Lynne Watson (University of Memphis)

“Exalting the Valleys: Images of the Natural World in the African-American Slave Spirituals” Carrie Allen (University of Georgia)

11:45–2:00 Lunch

2:00–3:30 Paper Sessions

Literature and Music (AMS-SC)

“Le diable boiteux: The Picaresque Hero and ‘Intermediate Tonic’ in 18th-Century Symphony” Bella Brover-Lubovsky (Columbia University)

“Marriage and Love in the Tale of Griselda” Mary Macklem (University of Central Florida)

“Luca Marenzio and the Pastor fido Madrigal” Seth Coluzzi (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

The Protest Latin American Popular Music (SEMSEC)

“Choro in Rio de Janeiro: Traditional vs. Progressive in the Revival Process” Thomas Garcia (Miami University, Ohio)

“New Song Movement in Chile: The Committed Song of Victor Jara” Patricia A. Dixon (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)

“The Only Cool Song Is the Protest Song: Brazilian Popular Music during the 1960s” Irna Priore (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)

Song and Narrative (MTSE)

“Personal and Tonal Transformations in Frank Loesser’s ‘My Time of Day’” Michael Buchler (Florida State University)

“Tin-Pantithesis Man: Acceleration in Cole Porter’s AABA Songs” Karen Wicke (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

“Mendelssohn’s “Allnächtlich im Traume,” Op. 86, No. 4: Music, Text, and Meaning in a 19th-Century Song” Michael Baker (Western Carolina University)

Southern Voices (Joint)

“Performing Race, Performing Creed: Black Catholic Music in Durham, North Carolina” Douglas Shadle (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

“Hypermetric Irregularity, Incongruence, and Innovation in the Songs of Roy Orbison” Mark Richardson (East Carolina University)

“‘Stay Out of the Way of the Southern Thing’: The Drive-By Truckers and Southern Gothic” Travis Stimeling (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

3:30–3:45 Break

3:45–5:15 Paper Sessions

Classical and American (Joint)

“Henry Cowell’s ‘United Quartet’ as a Model of Transethnicism” Chris Ballengee (University of Florida)

“Transpositional Combination and the Analysis of Form in George Crumb’s Lux aeterna” Brian C. Mosely (University of Cincinnati)

“Transformation of the ‘Psycho Theme’ in Bernard Herrmann’s Music for Psycho” Stephen Husarik (University of Arkansas, Fort Smith)

Playing “Outside”: Exploring the Boundaries of DIY Music Communities (SEMSEC)

“Exhuming ‘Le Cadavre Exquis’ in Cyberspace: Musical Collaboration within a Community of DIYers at” Trevor Harvey (Florida State University)

“‘Throwin’ Rocks at Windows’: Ethnomusicological Reflections on Human Skab” Frank Gunderson (Florida State University)

“DIY Anarchy, Community, and Alterity: The Protest Music of Cakalak Thunder” Crystal Bright (Independent Scholar)

Takemitsu and Ligeti (MTSE)

“Narrative and Inter-Self: Form and Expressive Meaning in Takemitsu’s Rain Tree” Tomoko Deguchi (Winthrop University)

“Voice Leading and Harmonic Background in Toru Takemitsu’s A Bird Came Down the Walk” Bruce Reiprich (Northern Arizona University)

“With Pipes, Drums, and French Horns: Pitch (Space) amid Stylistic Conflict in György Ligeti’s Hamburg Concerto” Alan Theisen (Florida State University)

Voice and Drama (AMS-SC)

“Capinera and the Color of Bird Song in Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise” Camille Hill (Elizabethtown Community and Technical College)

“A New History of the Viennese Sepolcro” Janet Page (University of Memphis)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

8:00–9:00 Registration and Coffee

9:00–10:30 Paper Sessions

Health, Healing, and Processes of Transformation: Perspectives from Medical Ethnomusicology (SEMSEC)

“WoMPIT-ing in the E-WoMP: Exploratory Methods of Improvisational Music-Play in a Medical Ethnomusicology Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” Michael B. Bakan (Florida State University)

“Suffering and Transformation in the Firewalking Ritual of the Bulgarian Nestinari” Plamena Kourtova (Florida State University)

“Kachashi: Dancing Transformative Potential in Okinawa” Jeff Jones (Florida State University)

Race, Region, and Resistance (AMS-SC)

“‘Stooping to Jazz’: The Repertory of the Boston Pops Orchestra and Perceptions of Race in the Classical Concert Hall” Ayden Adler (Eastman School of Music)

“Exorcising the Specter of George Pullen Jackson’s Upland South: Southern Identity and Its Antebellum Understandings of Region and Place” Nikos Pappas (University of Kentucky)

“‘Ich hörte die Allmitter’: Interpreting the First Symphony of Karl Amadeus Hartmann” David Chapman (University of Georgia)

Rock and Roll (Joint)

“Moving beyond the Secondary: Towards an Ethnomusicology of Mainstream Popular Music”
David B. Pruett (Middle Tennessee State University)

“Rock’s Compositional Space: The Stereo Field and Its Relation to Formal Structure” Bryn Hughes (Florida State University)

“Rules of Engagement: Punk and the Origins of Indie Rock” Eugene Montague (University of Central Florida)

Theory and Pedagogy (MTSE)

“On the Z-relation Problem” Clifton Callender (Florida State University)

“Pitch in Rock Music: A Primer” Guy Capuzzo (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)

“Maximal Evenness as Conceptual Framework for a Course on 20th-Century Theory and Analysis” Adam Ricci (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)

10:30–10:45 Break

10:45–11:45 Paper Sessions

Plastic Violins and Beehives (AMS-SC)

“Mario Maccaferri Presents the First Plastic Violin” Jeremy Tubbs (University of Memphis)

“AIDS and the Music of the B-52’s” Fred Maus (University of Virginia)

Reinterpretation (SEMSEC)

“The Second Trip, or ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’: Re-Adapting to the Field” Laurie Semmes (Appalachian State University)

“Songs We Can Cry To: Taratîl and the Coptic Christian Diaspora in Tallahassee, Florida” Carolyn M. Ramzy (Florida State University)

Variation (MTSE)

“What’s in a Theme? On the Nature of Variation” Roman Ivanovitch (Indiana University)

“Spiral Form: Reconceptualizing Thematic Returns in Developing Variation” Shannon Groskreutz (Florida State University) and Crystal Peebles (Florida State University)

11:45–2:00 Lunch and Business Meetings

2:00 Keynote Address

“Categorization, Cultural Knowledge, and Cognitive Musicology” Lawrence Zbikowski (University of Chicago)

Friday, February 09, 2007

FriPod: Running music

This is a continuation of last week's challenge. Phil lists all of those who shuffled their MP3s brazenly in the open. He, and one of the challengees, point out the lack of classical tracks among all of us classical music bloggers. But my last week's list had 50% classical, 20% jazz, 20% pop/rock/folk, and 10% world music. So Operachic is not the only one that is classical heavy. And this week's list is even heavier in the classical realm. This list of twelve tracks are what I listened to while I was running this morning. It was shuffle mode, though occasionally I would skip a track that wasn't conducive to running or that was too soft to hear in the fitness room. In some ways this is a more boring list, with only three that are not of a classical vein (four if you don't think film music is classical). But this shows my interest in early music (2 pieces) , and actually has more 20th century music than the previous list. #3 is special, as I played that piece on my senior recital. And "Battle Royal" is a great chart to run to. Duelling lead trumpets get the blood stirring and the legs pounding.

1. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite, IV: Entrance And Dance Of The Tailors - Rudolf Kempe/Staatskapelle Dresden Richard Strauss - Orchestral Works (Disc 6)
2. Five Preludes: 5-Andantino - Martin Jones Dmitri Shostakovich
3. Légende - Wynton Marsalis George Enesco
4. Canzona Quintadecima Detta La Lievoratta Per Due Bassi - Girolamo Frescobaldi Virtuoso Solo Music For Cornetto
5. Canon Du Carousel - Nick Norton & Anthony Plog André Danican Philidor
6. Carmina Burana, Auf Dem Anger - 7. Floret Silva Nobilis - Arleen Augèr, John Van Kesteren, Jonathan Summer, Riccardo Muti; Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus Carl Orff
7. Symphony No.10 III. Purgatorio. Allegretto moderato Eliahu Inbal/Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt Mahler Symphonies 1-10 Das Lied von der Erde (CD 15)
8. Des Knaben Wunderhorn: Das irdische Leben Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 7 + Des Knaben Wunderhorn - 4 Lieder (Disc 2)
9. Battle Royal - Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington And His Orchestra First Time! The Count Meets The Duke
10. So Far Away - Dire Straits Brothers In Arms
11. Foundations Of Stone - Howard Shore The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers
12. Confrontation - Les Misérables Original Broadway Cast Les Misérables [Disc 1]

The Semantics of Music

Dave Munger has a post about whether music conveys meaning like language does. He explains an experiment by Stefan Koelsch, et al, a team at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. The short explanation: music can convey some meanings the same as language. But I recall someone pointing out that no one has been able to write music that says, "Go get a gallon of milk, tomorrow." Or "I would have left if she spoke again." You may argue that the first example is done every day with commercial jingles, but those rely upon visuals or accompanying words to get the meaning across. And musical subjunctives only work in incredibly deep analyses that won't be universally understood (or even culturally understood).

Midwest Graduate Music Consortium

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium is pleased to announce its 11th annual meeting on February 23rd and 24th, 2007 at the University of Chicago, with Scott Burnham as the keynote speaker. This year's conference will also include a concert of new music by composition students.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Politics of Comedy

The Catholic University is very busy this semester:
The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music is proud to present the 2007 Catholic University President's Festival of the Arts, "The Politics of Comedy," featuring a fully-staged production of Leonard Bernstein's 1956 comic opera Candide, based on the 1759 novel by Voltaire. Produced by Dean Murry Sidlin and created by him in collaboration with musicologist and assistant professor Andrew H. Weaver, the Festival will run from Sunday, March 11 until Sunday, March 18.

Opening with a chamber music recital, "Voltaire's World, Bernstein's World," on Sunday afternoon, the Festival will feature a variety of lectures and films exploring Voltaire's and Bernstein's versions of Candide. By bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines, including Elizabeth B. Crist, assistant professor of music at Princeton University, and Jennifer S. Tsien, assistant professor of French at the University of Virginia, the festival will explore how both Voltaire and Bernstein used the same basic story to provide very different kinds of social and political critique. Voltaire's novel, written during the French Enlightenment, satirizes and offers alternatives to the fashionable philosophies of the day, while Bernstein's opera draws parallels between the age of Voltaire and the McCarthy era. It is hoped that the festival will not only provide insights into the production of Bernstein's Candide with which the festival culminates, but that it will also shed light on the means by which comedy and the arts can be put into the service of the public good, not only in Voltaire's and Bernstein's specific contexts, but also in our own world. After all, comedy continues to be an effective vehicle for political and cultural critique to this day, as demonstrated by the enduring popularity of such television shows as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Daily Show."

Tickets for Candide are $20 and $15; all other events are free and open to the public. Most events take place on the campus of Catholic University in Washington, D.C. The calendar of events is as follows; for more detailed information on each event, please visit All events are subject to change.

Sunday, March 11

4:00 p.m., Chamber Music Recital: "Voltaire's World, Bernstein's World"

Monday, March 12

4:00 p.m., Lecture by Elizabeth B. Crist and Jennifer S. Tsien

7:30 p.m., Film Screening: "Forrest Gump"

Tuesday, March 13

10:30 a.m., Roundtable Discussion: "Candide as Cultural Critique"

7:30 p.m., Film Screening, TBA

Thursday, March 15

12:10 p.m., Lecture by Mark Eden Horowitz, senior music specialist at the Library of Congress: "Candide and the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress"

6:30 p.m., Open Dress Rehearsal and Lecture

Friday, March 16

7:00 p.m., Pre-Concert Event: "Reminiscences of Bernstein"

8:00 p.m., Leonard Bernstein's Candide

Saturday, March 17

7:00 p.m., Pre-Concert Lecture on Bernstein's Candide

8:00 p.m., Leonard Bernstein's Candide

Sunday, March 18

1:00 p.m., Pre-Concert Lecture on Bernstein's Candide

2:00 p.m., Leonard Bernstein's Candide

Mahler this Saturday

The symphonies of Gustav Mahler require a conductor who is daring enough to explore a wide range of emotion. The Boston Philharmonic's Benjamin Zander is acknowledged as one of the world's leading conductors of Mahler. High Fidelity named his recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 as the best classical crossover recording of 2002, his recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 was awarded the 2004 Critic's Choice by the German Record Critic's Award Association and his recording of Mahler's 9th Symphony was nominated for a Grammy Award.

On Sunday, February 11 at 2pm, WGBH 89.7 in Boston is proud to present Zander and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra in a riveting interpretation of Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp. This WGBH exclusive broadcast, recorded live in November 2006, will stream worldwide at also includes Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and Robert Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129, with soloist Alexander Baillie.

Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp
Sunday, February 11 at 2pm
Streaming worldwide at

Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic

Several of my friends are involved in this conference, including one that switched jobs since I last saw him.

Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic
Fourth Annual Conference – Spring 2007
Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

Friday, March 23
12:00 – 1:00 – Registration, Conversation and Refreshments

Session 1: Time, Text, and Narrative
Session Chair: Cynthia Folio (Temple University)

1:00: Multiply-Directed Moments in Brahms’s Schön war, das ich dir weihte. . .(Op. 95, no.7), 2007 Winner of the Dorothy Payne Award & Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper - Melissa Hoag (Indiana University)

1:30: Found in Translation? Discovering the Middleground of Music and Speech - Bret Aarden (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

2:00: Narrative and Inter-Self: Form and Expressive Meaning in Takemitsu’s Rain Tree - Tomoko Deguchi (Winthrop University)

2:30: Range, Tessitura, and Text-Setting in Byrd’s Vocal Polyphony - Jason A. Gersh (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

3:00 – 3:30: Refreshments and Conversation

Session 2: 20th-Century Music
Session Chair: Steven Harper (Georgia State University)

3:30: Hierarchy, Prolongation, and Harmonic Structure in “Majesty of Christ Praying That His Father Should Glorify Him” from Messiaen’s L’Ascension - Martin Lee (University at Buffalo)

4:00: Ligeti’s Pièce électronique no. 3 and its Relation to Stockhausen’s Serial Practice - Benjamin Levy (University of Maryland)

4:30: Repetition, Memory, and Stuplimity in For Samuel Beckett by Morton Feldman - Philip Duker (University of Michigan)

5:00 – 5:30: Reception

5:30 – 7:00: Banquet and Presentation of the Dorothy Payne Award & Prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper

Saturday, March 24

7:30 – 8:30: Officers and Members of the Board Meeting, with the Publications & Gamut Advisory Committee and the Gamut Editorial Board

8:30 – 9:00: Continental Breakfast For All

Session 3 – Tonality in Theory and Analysis
Session Chair: Adam Ricci (University of North Carolina Greensboro)

9:00: On Function - Jill Brasky (American University)

9:30: Understanding Hybridity: Comparing Geometric Models of Tonal Hierarchy - Richard Randall (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

10:00: One Step Beyond: Beethoven’s Whole-Tone Transpositions - Eric Wen (The Curtis Institute of Music)

10:30: Refreshments and Conversation

Session 4: Modernism
Session Chair: Carl Wiens (Nazareth College)

11:00: Bach’s Tetrachords and Stravinsky’s Blocks: The Sketches for the “Grand Chorale” - Don Traut (University of Arizona)

11:30: All in the Family: Contour, Musical Domains, and Motive ‘Families’ as Continuity in Webern’s Unfinished Cello Sonata (1914) - Carolyn Mullin (Florida State University)

12:00 – 1:30: Luncheon

1:30 – 2:00: Business Meeting, Including a Short, Exciting Presentation on GAMUT by Phil
Ewell of the University of Tennessee [GAMUT is the new online journal for this society]

Session 5: Rhythm
Session Chair: Stephen Hopkins (Penn State University)

2:00: A Circular Plot for Rhythm Visualization and Analysis - Fernando Benadon (American University)

2:30: Bimetricality and Linear Funk Drumming - Joti Rockwell (University of Chicago)

3:00: Nonlinear Time in Funk as Exemplified in James Brown - Gabriel Miller (The Ohio State University)

3:30: Hypermetric Irregularity, Incongruence and Innovation in Songs of Roy Orbison - Mark Richardson (East Carolina University)

4:00: Conversation and Adieu

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Proms and British Musical Life


23-25 April 2007, The British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Rd, London, UK.

The British Library, King's College London and the BBC are pleased to announce details of the first international conference devoted to the Henry Wood Promenade concerts.

Historians, musicologists, practitioners, media commentators, cultural authorities, concert-goers and those interested in the Proms as an influential cultural phenomenon are invited to come together to consider the role the Proms play in British musical life, the history of musical performance, changing audience behaviour, patronage, cultural politics, and the BBC. More generally, the three-day conference provides an opportunity to reflect on the current status of classical music.

There will be lectures, discussions, demonstrations and papers on such subjects as the history of the Last Night; what the Proms sounded like in the early years; the build-up to the BBC taking over the running of the Proms in 1927; the wartime years; the Proms as a historic media event that is part of national life; the changing visions of the Proms on radio and television; legacies from Malcolm Sargent to William Glock; the cultural politics of the BBC; Englishness and multiculturalism; the impact of technology on the Proms and the future.

Speakers include Georgina Born, George Benjamin, Asa Briggs, David Cannadine, John Deathridge, Jenny Doctor, Ivan Hewett, Nicholas Kenyon, Norman Lebrecht, and Paddy Scannell.

Oliver Knussen conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a concert at the BBC's Maida Vale studios featuring music introduced to the British public at the Proms, including works by Julian Anderson, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten, Alexander Goehr, and Arnold Schoenberg.

Friday, February 02, 2007

FriPod: The challenge

I (and all of my pointy-headed musical peers) have been challenged by Phil Ford to "post a randomly-generated Ipod playlist on your blog, with relevant commentary." This is suspiciously like my old attempts at iChing. But I'll play along, especially as that linked iChing has turned out to be scarily applicable.

1. Carmen Suite No. 1: Entr'acte (Act II) Georges Bizet, performed by Herbert von Karajan; Philharmonia Orchestra. Carmen is one of the best operas ever, and this Entr'acte is very charming. When I was at Eastman, I took a class on Intermediate Keyboard Skills. For our final project each of us transcribed a portion of Carmen and performed it in relative order. I chose parts of the Prelude rather than this Entr'acte, but it still brings back good memories.

2. "Did You Ever Cross Over To Sneden's?" Bob Levy. The title track from my undergraduate trumpet professor's latest jazz CD. It features Janet Planet on vocals, a very sentimental song with a sad ending. It is a little predictable for me, but again brings back good memories of the nine years I studied with Bob.

3. "Mood Indigo/Hot And Bothered/Creole Love Call" Duke Ellington From The Best Of Duke Ellington: Centennial Edition. This is old school Ellington, with shimmering winds and dixieland-ish banjo-led rhythm section. The mix of tunes is nice, especially the growling trumpet solo in "Hot And Bothered." The slow-fast-slow arrangement of the medley makes this like a little suite.

4. Breves Rencontres-1 Divertissement Jacques Castérède, performed by Terry Everson, Trumpet; Susan Nowicki, Piano. I love Castérède. I played his Concertino for Trombone and Trumpet on my college roommate's senior recital, and his duet suite with my wife on my graduate recital. His music is so French, but without the sarcasm of Poulenc and the other Six-ers.

5. "Why do the nations" from The Messiah George Friedrich Handel, performed by Samuel Ramey; Andrew Davis, Toronto Symphony, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Just today I read a poem by Theresa of Avila that uses the nations raging line to symbolize emotions and desires warring within ourselves and the divisive nature of the Christian Church post Reformation. Handel gets both meanings across in this aria.

6. "Tabuh Teluh" Sadha Budaya Gamelan Gong Suling from Bali - Gamelan & Kecak. This gamelan piece features pipes and voices rather than percussion. The bright timbres of the pipes keep me from getting lulled by the repetitive nature of the melodic patterns, so I can notice the rhythmic shifts. There is also a subtle accelerando on this piece, an amazing feat with such ambiguous metric accents. It slows back down towards the end. Today I was told to embrace ambiguity. This piece reflects that balance of change and stasis well.

7. "Give Me One Reason" Tracy Chapman from New Beginning. This is one of the only songs by Chapman that I knew before Mary brought this CD into our relationship. Tracy has such an easy approach to the blues, not pop-ified but not hard core blues either. There is a lot hope to this song, tempered by the rules of the blues.

8. Symphony No. 6, Op. 68 "Pastorale" (F Major): I -- Allegro ma non troppo Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by New York Philharmonic - Leonard Bernstein. This is a truly lovely movement, as long as I can keep the dancing cherubs out of my head. Symphony No. 7 remains my favorite, but 3 and 6 both have excellent features. This movement is very restful while remaining Allegro, full of grace and joy.

9. Carnaval: 11. Chiarina Robert Schumann, performed by Claudio Arrau. "Chiarina" was Schumann's nickname for Clara Wieck, then the 15 year-old daughter of his piano teacher, later to become his wife. This is a very complex work, not gushy romanticism or childlike innocence. It is waltz-like, somewhat passionate yet not overly so. It sounds rather unstable, as if Robert isn't sure what his feelings for Clara are yet.

10. "Why Worry" Dire Straits from Brothers In Arms. Yes, almost all of my popular music is very old. This song is not nearly as well known as "Money for Nothing" or " ," but it is very beautiful. It explicitly states to balance opposing forces: "there is laughter after pain, sunshine after rain," and that hope and love will prevail. A good ending to the challenge, Mark Knopfler is telling me to stop worrying, after an introduction that is far too long to get played on the radio.

SSCM (say that five times fast)

The Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music will take place at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, from April 19-22, 2007.

They make theory bigger in Texas

The Texas Society for Music Theory invites your attendance to its 29th annual meeting. The conference will be held at University of Texas at Arlington, in Arlington, Texas, on February 23-24, 2007. The keynote address will be given by L. Poundie Burstein of Hunter College and the Graduate Center at CUNY.

See the website for a preliminary program and registration information.

Four Fantastical, Philosophical Fabulations

The Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations and the Harvard Memorial Church are pleased to announce their inaugural Harvard-Lyrica Dialogues, "Four Fantastical, Philosophical Fabulations", to be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, in the Pusey Room of the Memorial Church at Harvard University. Topics and presenters are as follows:

February 14, 2007
Dan Albright (Harvard University): "Cosmicomedy in Britten's /A Midsummer Night's Dream/"

February 21, 2007
Paul-André Bempéchat (Harvard University): "Sense and Sensitivity: Earl Kim's /Three Poems in French/"

February 28, 2007
George Gopen (Duke University): "Poetical Chamber Music: the Musication of Poetry in T. S. Eliot's /Four Quartets/"

March 7, 2007
The Rev. Peter J. Gomes (Harvard University): "Diversity through Communion: Easter of the Christian Traditions"

Lovely libations follow the fantastical fabulations.

Admission is free and open to the public.

I want to be in AmerIIIca

If you missed the International Symposium on Latin American Choral Music, or just want to continue that latino groove, there is hope:

Sounds of Latin America: A Day of Papers and Performances

February 9, 2007
The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music Gallery
Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission free; no registration required.


8:45-9:00 Opening Remarks

9:00-10:15 Session 1: Brazil

Heidy Ximenes (Ph.D. student, University of Kentucky): “Blocos Afros: Musical and Cultural Adaptation in the Modern Carnival of Salvador”

Julie Hill (Assistant Professor, University of Tennesse, Martin): “The Percussion Music of Black Brazil: Social Transformation for the Women and Children of Salvador through Escola Didá”

10:15-10:30 Coffee break

10:30-11:45 Session 2: Brazil and Venezuela

Marshal Gaioso Pinto (Ph.D. student, University of Kentucky): “From the Holy Spirit Mass to the São José do Tocantins Credo: An Episode of Brazilian Colonial Music in the State of Goiás”

Laura Pita (Ph.D. student, University of Kentucky): “Nationalism and Virtuosity as Allusion in Teresa Carreño’s Piano Compositions”

12:00-1:00 Concert: Contemporary Music of Latin America

Music by Jose Juan Pablo Carreño, Antonio Estevez, Alberto Ginastera, Waldemar Henrique, Marlos Nobre, Astor Piazzola, Diego Vega, and Jose Maria Vitier, directed by César Leal (Ph.D. student, University of Kentucky)

2:00-3:15 Session 3: Guatemala and Peru

Nancy Clauter (Associate Professor, University of Kentucky): “The Guatemalan Chirimia: The Oboe of Conquest”

Ellen Leichtman (Eastern Kentucky University): “What’s in a name? The Bolivian huayño”

3:15-3:30 Coffee break

3:30-5:00 Session 4: The Rey M. Longyear Lecture

Dale A. Olsen (Distinguished Research Professor of Ethnomusicology, Florida State University): “Music and Shamanistic Healing among the Warao Indians of the Venezuelan Rainforest”

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Concise History of Western Music

This post represents two firsts for me. This is the first book review requested by a publisher specifically for my blog. I haven't been receiving lots of swag like other bloggers, so this feels noteworthy. The second first is being hounded by the author to write the review.

This book is indeed a concise history. Clocking in at 316 pages (not including appendices), Griffiths' coverage of 4500 years of music (45,000 years if you include his Chapter 0) has to be brief. To save room, Griffiths does not give detailed biographies of major composers, and nonmusical history is very sparse (though more is included in the chapters on the Twentieth Century). There is also no world music, and not much popular music, essentially a history of Western Art Music.

Griffiths takes a mostly chronological approach, organizing music history into eight periods. These periods are defined by how the composers conceive of or use time. Each period is described in a brief introduction before longer chapters delve into the details. The first period, "Time whole," deals with music before notation was developed. This short section (necessarily brief as the lack of notation limits our knowledge of what the music sounded like) is followed by the first uses of music notation, "Time measured 1100-1400". I found the descriptions of the theory and the historical developments interesting, but the attempts to describe the emotional content of the music by Leonin and Perotin were not convincing. This lack of aesthetic enthusiasm stands in stark contrast to the excitement Griffiths is able to engender in later works. But many important theorists and treatises are mentioned as well as composers and aesthetic movements, and the descriptions of Machaut's works are excellent.

Griffiths calls the Renaissance "Time sensed 1400-1630." He clearly has an enthusiasm for DuFay, devoting several pages to his life and music. But I was also enticed by the descriptions of Obrecht. Throughout the book, Griffiths does a great job emphasizing how various eras of music were lost and rediscovered, sometimes very late. In the case of Obrecht (1457/8-1505), he "was forgotten soon after his death, and his music was little known until scholars and performers began bringing back into circulation in the 1990s." (p. 62)

The Baroque (through to Rococo) is "Time known 1630-1770." The Classical era was "Time Embraced 1770-1815", the Romantic saw "Time escaping 1815-1907" before it was tangled from 1908-1975. The last section, "Time lost 1975-," is all too short after the seventy pages devoted to the bulk of the Twentieth century. And in those seventy pages Griffiths saw fit to give four pages to Jean Barraqué [who?] while never mentioning George Crumb once. The Romantic era was swamped with names and dates, losing the fine narrative focus of the other sections. But in the last three sections much more social context is given, especially on the interactions of the composers and society.

Forms and structures are described by their emotional or dramatic effects, such as "Sonata as comedy" (chapter 11) or the development of basso continuo to offer flexibility in both instrumentation and tempo as a means of allowing the singer to portray joy and pain in Italian madrigals. (p. 84)

At the end of the book Griffiths includes recommendations for further reading and listening, organized by chapter. The listening recommendations are particularly useful, as I think the primary audience for this book will be listeners looking to expand their repertoires. Students could find it handy when preparing for graduate entrance exams, and I appreciated getting a review of topics that had grown dusty in my noggin. There is also a glossary of terms for the layperson and an index.

Overall, this is a very good book. I will leave any critiques of the musicological research to those more qualified, like Charles T. Downey or Dial 'M', and leave it that I found no glaring errors from my own understandings and found many good insights on connections between composers or genres. It is much better than the Concise Oxford History of Music, which I used to prepare for grad school, and less intimidating than the Grout/Palisca/Burkholder/hut hut hike.