Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pop Quiz

Venn That Tune #1: I got all three.
Venn That Tune #2: I didn't get #3.

From the same blog: Lyrics vs Logic #1 and #2. No, no April Fool's today, the best you get is some cheesy jokes.

Friday, March 30, 2007

FriPod: Hit to Hope

1. "Hit the Road Jack" - Percy Mayfield, performed by Ray Charles on Ray! A relationship breaks up, because the man is no good. Clearly part of his problem is that he doesn't listen.

2. Hoc Largire, a 6 - Anonymous, performed by Copenhagen Cornetts & Sackbutts with Ars Nova. This is the fourth verse of O Quam Glorifica: O Father of all lights, through this sacred Flame/give unto us thy only Begotten Son,/who with Thee reigns brilliantly in the heavens,/ruling and governing for all ages./Amen. Very peaceful, yet with a certain trepidation.

3. "Hoedown!" - by Bobby McFerrin, performed by Bobby with Yo Yo Ma on Hush. This piece doesn't start out sounding like a hoedown, but the middle section is stereotypical. It seems to poke fun at this culture, with the simplistic and highly repetitive nature of this middle section. No understandable lyrics in this piece, but I'm inclined to not approve of this stance.

4. "Hogwarts Forever and the Moving Stairs" - John Williams on Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. Sounds like a brass quintet arrangement rather than a typical orchestral soundtrack score. I wonder if this is available for quintets to purchase? The second half is more typical, evoking the spookiness of Voldemort's theme.

5. "Hold On My Heart" - Genesis on We Can't Dance. Yes, I own CDs of Phil Collins and Genesis, holdovers from my high school days in the 80s. It is truly painful to listen to most of these tracks now.

6. "Holde Gattin, dir zur Seite" from The Creation - Haydn, performed by John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists. Very classical operatic, a love duet for Adam and Eve.

7. "Homecoming Hymn" - from the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble's New Stories. This CD was cut when I was a junior at Lawrence. The particular track is a combo piece, based on a theme that is a pared down version of "Joyful, joyful we adore thee." It has a great sax solo by Doug Schneider.

8. "Honesty" - Billy Joel on 52nd Street. "Honesty, is hardly ever heard, and mostly what I need from you." Preach it, Billy.

9. "Honeysuckle Rose" - Fats Waller, performed by Benny Goodman on Live at Carnegie Hall.

10. "Hooker's Hooker" - Marvin Hamlisch on The Sting soundtrack. Think "The Stripper."

11. "Hope and Memory" - Howard Shore on The Lord of the Rings - Return of the King. I love this one.

12. "Hope Fails" - also from LOTR-ROTK. I don't like ending on this track. Previous tracks are much more hopeful, even Billy's plea for honesty. He at least hopes for honesty, whereas hope is lost here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Protest music

While there aren't any popular protest songs about the Iraq war, there has been a good use of music to raise awareness in Bulgaria. This cause is the nurses in Libya that have been convicted twice of infecting children with HIV, despite the testimony of international experts that those children were infected before the nurses ever arrived in Libya. A massive rally was held for these imprisoned nurses, featuring a new song that has gotten massive airplay throughout Bulgaria. There are Bulgarian and English versions of "You are not alone." Download here, English lyrics here. The snippet I heard on PRI's The World sounded very much like "We Are the World" from the 80's, including the sloppy choral effect caused by vocalists from different genres coming together. In this case it is pop musicians and pop folk musicians, who apparently don't normally collaborate at all.

What's happening

The latest WGBH press release announces an interview with John Adams, airing on April 5th at 3pm and streaming at its website. Adams is interviewed by WGBH's Classical Performances host, Richard Knisely.

The eclectic duo The Books will be performing at the New York Society for Ethical Culture* on April 30 at 7:30 pm. $20 admission for the concert in the Wordless Music Series. Paul de Jong plays cello with electric guitarist/vocalist Nick Zammuto, performing all original compositions. The concert opens with another group, Real Quiet. This trio of cello, piano, and percussion doesn't compose its own music, but has commissioned pieces by Annie Gosfield, Phil Kline, and Mark Mellits, with future commissions coming from David Lang, Marc Neikrug, Kaija Saariaho, Huang Ruo, George Tsontakis, Gordon Chin, Yoav Gal, and Jim Thirlwell. I think these small chamber concerts are the way of the future for classical musicians. The small ensembles are more affordable, because they have fewer personnel and travel costs, and can perform in smaller spaces. And by performing in smaller spaces a more intimate connection is made between the musicians and the audience, like in a jazz club. This is why I think we should be having much more chamber music in our music schools, and less emphasis on large ensembles.

*2 West 64th Street, NYC.

A new online journal

There is a new online academic journal about jazz, called Jazz Perspectives. The first issue is being released for free access, so check out the articles on Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny, and free jazz in the classroom. This journal is edited by Lewis Porter and John Howland of Rutgers University.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ernest Bloch conference

I've loved Bloch's music ever since I heard a classmate perform his violin concerto. I discovered that he wrote a trumpet piece, Proclamation, which I studied and performed once in grad school. I'd love to perform with the orchestral version, perhaps some time in the post-tenure future I will convince a conductor to let me. Unfortunately, I cannot attend this coming conference, but I encourage any who are available to go.

Sunday, 29 July-Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Ernest Bloch: The Man and his Music for the 21st Century
International Conference

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University

Sponsored by the Jewish Music Institute. (See this website for registration information.)

Besides many papers by leading Bloch experts, the conference will include a recital, a banquet, and a visit to the famous archive of the Cairo Genizah housed at Cambridge University Library. And you can punt on the River Cam.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

From Plato to Oshkosh

Fred Clark, the blogosphere's theologian, has found a YouTube sermon by Alan Ives on ungodly music. According to Mr. Ives (Charles is spinning right now), three categories of beats are not Gospel: Boogie Woogie, Back Beat, and Break Beat. As Fred points out, this fine musician has been convinced that the pleasure he clearly takes from music is evil. It is very sad, since he does have talent, and is clearly devout as well. Something has broken down in his life to make this disconnect between what he needs and what he thinks he needs. I can only hope that this is his public persona, that Mr. Ives gets funky in privacy. Perhaps he is dissembling, borrowing from Plato in feeling that music should be used to manipulate the public. He doubts the devotion of his congregation, so he discourages them from listening to "physical" music. It is still wrong, but not as sad.

Friday, March 23, 2007

FriPod: Improvisation

To celebrate the fact that I have finished* my first sabbatical article, this week's list is of Improvisations:

1. Duet Improvisation, by Miroslav Vitous and Chick Corea on Works. A very moody work, full of dialogue but not much happiness.

2. Impromptus 1-3, D. 946, by Franz Schubert, performed by Alfred Brendel. Not strictly improvisations, these composed works are meant to sound spontaneous. It doesn't work for me. These pieces sound polished, prepared. What makes music sound improvised? A roughness, little errors that marr the surface to reveal the craft underneath?

3. Impromptu for Trumpet and Piano, by Jacques Ibert, performed by Thierry Caens and Yves Henry. Now this one sounds more improvised. The long French lines meander at points, the piano sets up a groove, etc.

4. Improvisation, by Bill Russo, performed by the Stan Kenton Orchestra on New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm. Bill provides space for several improvised solos, one of the better tracks on this album.

5. Improvisations sur les chants paysans hongrois, op. 20, by Béla Bartók, performed by Claude Helffer. These pieces are based on Hungarian peasant songs that BB transcribed in the field. But why "Improvisations?" There is a certain hesitancy to them, as if we can hear him working out the implications of the melodies while sitting at the piano.

6. Quatre Pièces Caractéristiques Op. 5: I. Impromptu. Le Sabbat, by Clara Schumann, performed by Jozef De Beenhouwer. Like the Schubert, this is not spontaneous.

Clearly I have more improvisations in my iTunes, on most of my jazz tracks for starters. But this is enough for today, as I mourn the death of my second iPod. The click wheel has stopped working, and all efforts to fix it have failed. So it is getting shipped back, hopefully without any mail problems this time.

*Finished with this stage anyway. Now to hear from the editor and reviewers.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The banks of the mighty Allegheny

Another regional conference twofer: The Allegheny Chapter of the AMS in cahoots with the Niagara Chapter of the SEM at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on March 30-31. World music fans should note the keynote address by the godfather of ethnomusicology, Bruno Nettl. He gave the keynote at the Dutch conference I was at last month, and is very amusing. Historical Performance fans should note that the Indiana Town Band will give a concert on restored 19th-century instruments on the 30th. And this conference is completely free!

Friday, March 30, DeCicco Rehearsal Hall, Room 121

1:00-2:00 p.m. Registration and Coffee

Session 1: 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Lisa Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University
The African-Celtic Connection in the Global Music Industry

Michael Lanford, Western Carolina University
A Bird Takes Flight at the Chicken Shack: Art Tatum’s Influence on Charlie Parker

3:00-3:15: Break

Dennis Cole, Kent State University
Orientalism, Enculturation, and Cultural Reinterpretation: A Semiological Approach to the Santa Clara Drum & Bugle Corps

Stephen Greene, University of Pittsburgh
“Good Music” and Radio: Illustrations of Charles Seeger's Theories on “Music and Class” in Musical America

5:30-7:30 p.m., Dinner with Bruno Nettl, Benjamin’s Restaurant

8:00 p.m., Gorell Recital Hall (2nd Floor, Sutton Hall)

Concert by the Indiana Town Band: Brass Band Music from 1835-1865
The Indiana Brass Band traces its heritage to 1842 and performs on restored instruments from that period, including Kent bugles, quinticlavs, ophicleides, cornopeans, trombones, natural and piston horns, and percussion. The band will also perform on saxhorns from the 1860s. There is no admission charge for the concert.
Saturday, March 31, DeCicco Rehearsal Hall, Room 121

8:30-9:00 a.m., Coffee and doughnuts

Session 2: Saturday, 9:00-10:45 a.m.

Jim Kimball, SUNY-Geneseo
Rudolph Teschner - American Ocarina Maker

Hanita Margulies Blair, Eastman School of Music
Role and Self-Identity in Informally Trained Female Cantors in American Jewish Practice

David Huron, Ohio State University
A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Pitch-Elevation Metaphor

Session 3, Plenary: Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-noon

Bruno Nettl, University of Illinois (Emeritus)
Return to the Heartlands

Noon-1:30 p.m.: Optional Sandwich buffet in the Oak Room ($7.50), or lunch on your own

Session 4a: Saturday, 1:45-4:30, Room 302
AMS-Allegheny business meeting and paper session

William Grim, Columbus, Ohio
Classical Music as 20th-Century Propaganda

Peter Mondelli, University of Pennsylvania
The German Volkslied and the Other Nationalism of the Early Romantics: Notes on the Discursive Transformations of Orality in German Music

3:15-3:30: Break

Erin Lambert, Wisconsin University
German Song and Catholic Liturgy in Counter-Reformation Austria

Theodore Albrecht, Kent State University
Otto Heinrich von Loeben: 1786-1825

Session 4b: Saturday, 1:45-5:00, Room 102
SEM-Niagara business meeting and paper session

Amy Unruh, Kent State University
Linking American Ballroom Dance to Africa: How African-Derived Elements Permeate the History, Music, Movement and Terminology of Contemporary American Ballroom Dance

Susan Margaret Taffe, Cornell University
Hear Us Sing: Music as a Means of Survival for the Eastern Lenape

Wah-Chiu Lai, Kent State University
The Chaozhou Daluogu (Gong and Drum Music) in Los Angeles, United States and in Chaoshan Region, China

3:45-4:00: Break

Talia Wooldridge, York University
Women and Exclusion in Rap cubano

Priwan Nanongkham, Kent State University
Khaen Music in Capitalism: a Lao Instrumental Subsidiary of Lam Singing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rocky Mountain High, Arizona?

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of AMS, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SMT, and the Southwest Chapter of SEM will be meeting in Tempe on March 30-31. So you get history, theory, and world music, all in one spot, for a very cheap price (about $5 to 10). This seems to be a trend among regional societies, perhaps as a money saver?



Joint Session (AMS/SEM/SMT), 9:00 a.m. – 10:40 a.m., Recital Hall

Sabine Feisst (Arizona State University), "Arnold Schoenberg – American"

Peter Schimpf (Metropolitan State College of Denver), "An American in Iran: Henry Cowell's Persian Set and the Structure of a Hybrid"

Victoria Lindsay Levine (Colorado College), "Teaching Comparative Music Theory"

Joint Session (AMS/SEM), 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Recital Hall

María del Carmen Vergara de los Ríos and Mariana de Jesús Vargas Mendoza (Facultad de Música, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Tamaulipas), "La Fiesta de la Santa Cruz: Struggling to Preserve a Tamulipecan Identity"

Harrison Powley (Brigham Young University), "The Medieval Harp as Exterior and Interior Symbol"

Deborah Kauffman (University of Northern Colorado), "'We are the sheep of his pasture': Violons en basse as Theological Topic"

Parallel SMT Session, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Room W218

Israel Solis (University of Arizona), "Re-examining Ruggles' Twelve-Tone Technique"

David Forrest (Texas Tech University), "Phrase and Cadence in the Music of Benjamin Britten"

Aaron Templin (University of Arizona), "Altered Dominants and Avoided Cadences in Stravinsky's Apollo"

Joint Session (AMS/SMT), 2:10 p.m. – 3:40 p.m., Recital Hall

Bruce Quaglia (University of Utah), "Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata, First Movement, and the Normal Body: The Idea of Formal Prosthesis"

Janice Dickensheets (University of Northern Colorado), "Literary Connections Between the Novels of Jean Paul and Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54"

Charles Madsen (University of Arizona), "Notated Improvisation and Musical Commentary in Franz Liszt's Song Transcriptions"

Parallel Session (SEM), 2:10 p.m. – 4:10 p.m., Rm. W218

Shara J. Engel (Southwestern College), "Source, Methodology and Song Empowering Black Women from Slavery"

Sheaukang Hew (University of Oklahoma), "Early Irish Immigrants in Oklahoma: Music in the Frontier Experience"

Jim De Fazio (Arizona State University),"Returning to Sorrento: Diasporic Hybridity in Italian-American Popular Music"

Michael B. Silvers (University of Arizona), "Musical Creation, Reception, and Consumption in a Virtual Place:"

Joint Session (AMS/SMT), 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall

Don Traut (University of Arizona), "More on Displacement in Stravinsky: A Response to van den Toorn"

Gretchen Foley (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), "Informed Interpretation: Preparing Perle's Three Inventions for Solo Bassoon from the Perspective of Symmetry"

Sara Heimbecker (University of Northern Colorado), "John Cage, HPSCHD, and Gesamtkunstwerk"


Parallel Session (AMS), 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Recital Hall

Alta Graham (Northern Arizona University), "Wife and Warrior: Character Types in Arias in Cavalli's La Doriclea"

James Leve (Northern Arizona University), "Trespolo là, Trespolo quà: A Comic Playwright's Influence on the Development of Comic Opera"

Thomas L. Riis (University of Colorado, Boulder), "Frank Loesser's Musical Dramaturgy in The Most Happy Fellow (1956)"

Parallel Session (SMT), 9:00 a.m . – 10:30 a.m., Rm. W218

David Claman (College of the Holy Cross), "Shakti's Common Ground: Scalar Conception and Usage in a Cross-Cultural Musical Encounter"

Karen Fournier (University of Michigan), "Rewriting History: 'Cut-and-Paste' and Musical Meaning in Early Punk Rock"

Eric Sewell (Columbia University), "Meter and Teleology in 'Black Stooges' by The Melvins"

Parallel Session (AMS), 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Recital Hall

Paul Harris (University of Calgary), "The Renaissance Roots Revival: Arcadelt's Primo Libro at Forty"

Charles Gower Price (professor emeritus, West Chester University of Pennsylvania), "A Rare Source of French Court Dance Types: Montéclair's Sérénade of 1697"

Kenneth Owen Smith (Cyprus College), "The Airs of Sébastien de Brossard: The Hegemony of French Galant Culture in Occupied Strasbourg"

Parallel Session (SMT), 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Rm. W218

Martin Reinhold (University of Arizona), "Evaluating German Anthems: A Schenkerian Approach"

James Stopher (University of Arizona), "Formal Design and Harmonic Structure in Chopin's Etude in Db Major, Op. 25/8"

Timothy Best (Indiana University), "Intertextuality and the Surreal in Bernard Rands's 'Canti Lunatici'"

Joint Session (AMS/SMT), 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., Recital Hall

John Snyder (University of Houston), "Pseudo-Odo's Musicae artis disciplina: Issues of Content, Transmission, and Influence"

Richard Hermann (University of New Mexico), "Boundaries Transgressed: Text-Painting in Dido's Lament"

Courtney J. Crappell (University of Oklahoma), "Erik Satie's Embryons desséchés (1913): Playing with Parody"

Parallel Session (SEM), 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., Rm. W218

Ellwood Colahan (University of Denver), "Tradition and Innovation in Balinese Gamelan Angklung: Issues in the Development of Angklung Kebyar and the Music of American Gamelan Tunas Mekar"

Angelo J. Joaquin, Jr. (University of Arizona), "The Influence of Orquesta Tejano on Tohono O'odham Waila Bands"

Brian A. Harpst (Northern Arizona University), "Piazzolla's Tango Nuevo: Constructions of New Authenticity"

Joint Session (AMS/SEM/SMT), 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall

Eric Smigel (Utah State University), "Metaphors on Vision: James Tenney and Stan Brakhage"

Deepti Navaratna (University of New Mexico), "Women Composers in South Indian Classical Music: Caste Dynamics to Colonialism in South India"

Bliss Little (Arizona State University), "Memories of a Lost Homeland: Greek National Composers and the Legacy of Asia Minor"

Monday, March 19, 2007

This I believe

Over at ScienceBlogs, Rob Knopf of Galactic Interactions has bravely outed himself as a Christian and explained part of his theology. I have gone through some changes in my beliefs lately, and have decided to explain my current religious beliefs here. If you are not interested in nonmusical topics in a music blog, go ahead and skip this post.

I believe in God. When I needed to acknowledge that I was not in control of everything in my life, I opened my heart. I was already feeling very vulnerable, but paradoxically I made myself even more vulnerable by loving something that might not love back and perhaps not even exist. To my amazement I felt my love returned, with myself surrounded by peace and joy that I had not felt in a long time.

I call myself a Christian, because that is the tradition I was raised in (UCC - Congregational) and the tradition that my wife and children are involved in (Episcopal). I don't know what I believe about Christ's divinity, and I don't think it matters. My first efforts at prayer were directed at God alone, and I even tried some Jewish prayers that I had heard when playing the shofar. But I didn't know those prayers well, or the traditions behind that religion, whereas I did know the Lord's prayer and a variety of the traditions of the Episcopal and Congregational churches. To me these prayers and traditions are ways of connecting with God, and it doesn't matter which path is used.

I follow all of the liturgy of the Episcopal service, including the Nicene Creed, because it represents my surrender to God, not because I believe every word of the Creed. Rob talks about three forms of God: Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. I equate similar roles to the Trinity: The Father is the Creator who is within all things and all people; the Holy Spirit is the connection between us and God, that inspiration, guidance and healing that God gives when I listen very carefully; and Jesus represents the love of God. As I said, I don't know if I believe the divinity of Jesus, if he was resurrected, or if he performed miracles. To me that doesn't matter. What matters is that I'm inspired by his teachings as written in the Gospels and interpreted by various wise people. What matters is that the story of Jesus's crucifixion is a story of unconditional love. This is representative of the kind of love God wants us to have for Him* and for each other.

I believe that God does not affect the physical attributes of the world. No miraculous parting of the waters, or stopping the sun in the sky. Where God makes miracles is inside each person. Creating love, inspiration, bravery, these are the things that God can do, but only if the person is open to such creations. God has given us free will, because He doesn't want us to be slaves. I consider this to be the same as meaningful relationships between two people. If one person forces the other to do something nice for the first person, that act of "niceness" isn't meaningful. Likewise, God doesn't force us to obey His will, because He wants our love to be genuine. I believe that God has a plan for each of us, because of His love for all of us. Our job is to discern that plan through prayer, meditation, listening to nature, whatever. I believe it is possible for atheists to discern and follow their proper path in life without ever believing in God, and I believe there are many religious people who have not either discerned or followed God's path for them.

Because God allows free will, there will be many people who do not do as He wishes. Thus He cannot know exactly what happens, though He is aware of all possibilities. So our plan in life can change, due to someone ignoring God's call or someone making a mistake. It is comforting that God can work with mistakes. I got this notion from Anne Lamott. He will ask us to do difficult things, but never anything that is impossible.

I'm new to religious thought, so my ideas are still in flux. But this is what I believe.

*I use the masculine to refer to God, but I don't believe He is masculine. God is beyond our ken, beyond any human conceptions of gender or personality. But "It" makes God seem like an object, and "She" is also gender specific. It is my nod to Tradition (one of the three pillars of Episcopalian theology).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Would you like to play a game?

Yesterday I went to an ice-skating birthday party, and got to observe a whole slew of kids born after 1990 being subjected to music of the 70s and 80s. We parents were having a good time, and hey, we're paying the rental fees. So the post title is from that stroll through the zeitgeist of the 80s. But the post is about something very now, very happening, baby!

Scientists at Columbia University (Michael Mandel and Dan Ellis) have designed an online experiment on music cognition. Big deal, you say, we've seen that before. But here is the kicker: the experiment is set up as a game! Listen to a clip of music, and come up with tags describing that music. Earn points for originality and conformity. You get two points for coming up with a tag first, which other listeners also use. Earn one point for being the second person to use the same tag. Zero points for being a hanger-on. Play as often as you like, for as long as you like. And you can earn points while not playing, if others agree with your mind-blowing tags. Due to Columbia's rules on human subject testing, you can only participate if you are at least 18 years old. But the registration process is minimal, and the game is somewhat fun. I'm up to 5 points right now, well below the leader who is two orders of magnitude above me (damn you Paul!) So log on and copy my tags. Don't tell me you can't read my mind from there! You already know my music personality.

Friday, March 16, 2007

FriPod: Hey, Shorty!

Two weeks ago I listed the longest tracks on my iTunes. This week I am looking at the shortest tracks. But I've decided to modify things, as there are many recitatives at this end. This doesn't seem fair to me, as it is easy to make a short transition from one aria to the next. This goes for those little second movements in Baroque concerti as well, and the variations of a theme-n-variations. What is challenging is to compose a complete musical work that is very short. So I am only including those tracks that are complete works in themselves. This narrows the field greatly, as the first thirty-some tracks fit in these categories.

1. Contredanse No. 8 by Beethoven, performed by Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. 25 seconds.

2. Contredanse No. 1, same composer and performers. 25 seconds.

3-5. Contredanse Nos. 4, 11, and 2; 27 seconds each.

6. Fiona Kicks Ass, by Harry Gregson-Williams & John Powell, from the Shrek soundtrack. 28 seconds. I don't feel bad about including this, as it is a complete musical idea.

7. Les Rendez-Vous De Chasse Qu Les Vendanges Interrompues Par Les Chasseurs - No. 15 Allegro, by Georg Joseph Vogler, performed by Darmstädter Hofkapelle and Wolfgang Seeliger. 28 seconds. This is some ballet music from the guy who you can blame for Roman Numeral analysis. Again, it is a complete musical idea.

8. "Mira, deh mira, Orfeo" from Monteverdi's Orfeo, performed by . 31 seconds.

As I'm looking at the list and narrowing it down, I've realized that the first truly complete work, something that isn't a movement or section of a larger piece, is "1,2,3" by Charles Ives, performed by Susan Graham. This is 35 seconds long, and way down on the list of shortest tracks. (The shortest track of all is 11 seconds.) It isn't too surprising that the shortest complete work will be a song, as it has a text to give it a sense of unity and closure.

In this vein, no. 2 is "Viva Ignacio! Viva!" by Gaspar Fernandes, performed by Ex Cathedra. Another song, or rather motet in this case. 38 seconds.

No. 3: Canon Du Carousel, by André Danican Philidor, performed by Nick Norton & Anthony Plog. 41 seconds. A trumpet duet with brass accompaniment. Our first instrumental work, it is a textbook canon.

No. 4: "Amor vittorioso" by Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi, performed by the King's Singers. 43 seconds.

No. 5: "Change of Time" from Bela Bartok's Mikrokosmos, performed by Jando. I don't think this is cheating, since the whole Mikrokosmos is not intended to be performed as a complete work. In the same way I wouldn't feel bad about listing a fugue from the Well-Tempered Klavier. 43 seconds.

I wonder what the average time would be if I grouped all multi-movement works as one track? Leaving everything separate the average is 4'43" (Cage was sooo close). And the philosophical question of the day: Can a musical work seem complete in less than ten seconds?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The value of music education

Dave Munger has a link to a recent Northwestern University study on music training and auditory development. This study found that those participants with at least six years of musical instrument training had better auditory processing abilities than those with less than two years of training, even at the basic level of the brainstem. This is a very interesting study, and an intriguing finding that training can affect brain structure of such a low order. But i am concerned about how this study might be used. The lede of the Science Daily article linked above implies that music lessons are valuable because they fine-tune the brain. And the lead author of the study doesn't help: "Our findings underscore the pervasive impact of musical training on neurological development. Yet music classes are often among the first to be cut when school budgets get tight. That's a mistake..." This exhibits the same problem that the Baby Mozart/Mozart Effect craze has, that music's value is measured by what abilities it can impart for "more important activities." The value of music education is not in making Johnny a better speaker or giving Suzy better spatial awareness abilities. The study of music puts us in touch with that most ineffable of things, our creativity. Strip away the crutches of language or visual representation, and music is the most abstract form of emotional/aesthetic expression. Schopenhauer called music the most direct expression of the Will, our inner being. Getting in touch with our own feelings, the feelings of others, the joys of collaborative creativity, these are the values of music education.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Know me, know my music

Over at ScienceBlogs, Chris writes about two social psychologists who have studied the links between musical preference and personality type. Chris describes it very well, so I won't go into the details. I will quibble with the researchers' claims that music has not been studied by social psychologists. "Despite its prevalence in everyday life, however, the sound of music has remained mute within social and personality psychology."
Two major books dispute this claim:

I used both of these in my Psychology of Music class, which detail research similar to Rentfrow's and Gosling's.

There is an online test of this research that you can partake in. Here is My Music Personality, and here is Chris's top 10 list. I found this post via Dave Munger.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore

And yet, all the theorists will be converging there for the annual Music Theory Midwest conference, held at Swarthout Hall at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The conference is April 13 - 14. My best friend, James McGowan, is presenting, as well as a former TA and some other friends. And there are two concerts as part of this conference.

Friday, April 13

Opening Remarks: Lawrence R. Mallett (Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music and Dance, School of Fine Arts, University of Kansas)

Session 1: "Rhythm and Meter"
* Clare Sher Ling Eng (Yale Univ.), "Being and Becoming: Rhythmic Function Analysis Applied to Brahms' Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53"
* Breighan Moira Brown (Univ. of Cincinnati), "First-Order Metric Parallelisms: A Schenkerian Approach to Rhythm and Meter in Tchaikovsky's Valse (Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, III)"
* Brett Clement (Univ. of Cincinnati), "Rhythmic Dissonance in the Music of Frank Zappa"

Session 2a: "Chord Classes"
* James J. McGowan (McMaster Univ.), "Dissonant Tonics: A Tonal Legacy of French Extended Harmony, circa 1900"
* Nicole Biamonte (Univ. of Iowa), "Augmented-Sixth Chords vs. Tritone Substitutes"
Session 2b (Room 402): "Agency"
* John Stephen Reef (Indiana Univ.), "Finding Agency in a Chopin Nocturne"
* Mitch S. Ohriner (Indiana Univ.), "Playing the Role: Performative Agency in Selected Performances of Schubert's Sonata in A Minor, D. 845"

Lunch Recess / Exec. Board Meeting

Poster Session (location TBA): Pedagogical Techniques
NB: The Poster Session overlaps with Session 3.
* Ed Klonoski (Northern Illinois Univ.), "Re-Thinking Part-Writing as a Tool for Teaching Voice Leading"
* Stanley V. Kleppinger (Butler Univ.), "Strategies for Introducing Pitch-Class Set Theory in the Undergraduate Classroom"
* Anne Marie de Zeeuw (Univ. of Louisville), "Constructing a Derived Twelve-Tone Series: A Simple Procedure"

Session 3: "The Symbolic and the Expressive"
NB: Session 3 overlaps with the Poster Session.
* Timothy C. Best (Indiana Univ.), "Tragedy as Expressive Genre: The Cathartic Element in Eighteenth-Century Instrumental Music"
* David James Heetderks (Univ. of Michigan), "Composing Out Homesickness: Thematic Return in Chopin Mazurkas"
* Rob C. Keller (Louisiana State Univ.), "Interpreting Musical Symbols in Schubert's Death and the Maiden, D. 531"

Session 4: "Issues of Form in the 20th Century (I)"
* Brian Christopher Moseley (Univ. of Cincinnati), "Transpositional Combination and the Analysis of Musical Form in George Crumb's Lux Aeterna"
* Kyle R. Fyr (Indiana Univ.), "Form, Proportion, and Metrical Emergence in John Adams's Phrygian Gates"
* Christopher Endrinal (Florida State Univ.), "Burning Bridges: Defining the Interverse Using the Music of U2"

Sessions concluded for Friday

Concert: KU Wind Ensemble (Lied Center, West Campus)

Saturday, 14 April
All events are in Swarthout Hall unless otherwise indicated.


Session 5: "Symmetries"
* Inessa Bazayev (City Univ. of New York, Grad. Center), "Voice-leading Symmetries in the Late Works of Alexander Scriabin"
* Gretchen C. Foley (Univ. of Nebraska), "Informed Interpretation: Preparing Perle's 'Three Inventions for Solo Bassoon' from the Perspective of Symmetry"

Session 6a: "Issues of Form in the 20th Century (II)"
* Mark McFarland (Georgia State Univ.), "Early Silent Film and Cone's Theory of Stratification, Interlock and Synthesis"
* David Thurmaier (Univ. of Central Missouri), "Progress of a Tune: Ives and 'The Red, White, and Blue'"
* Ivan Eduardo Jimenez (Univ. of Pittsburgh), "Structural Depth in the First Movement of Gorecki's Symfonia pieni aosnych [Symphony of Sorrowful Songs], Op. 36, for Soprano and Orchestra, 1976"
Session 6b (Room 402): "Models of Hearing and Representation"
* Matthew J. Arndt (Univ. of Wisconsin), "Harmony and Voice Leading in Phrygian Polyphony"
* Steven Rings (Univ. of Chicago), "A Tonal-Intervallic GIS and Some Related Transformational Systems"
* Shersten R. Johnson (Univ. of St. Thomas), "Notational Systems and Conceptualizing Music: A Case Study of Print and Braille Notation"

Lunch Recess

Concert: Helianthus (new-music ensemble) (Murphy Hall)

Session 7: "Music and Text"
* Melissa Hoag (Indiana Univ.), "Multiply-Directed Moments in Brahms's 'Schön war, das ich dir weihte'"
* Robert C. Cook (Univ. of Iowa), "A Whitman Song by George Crumb and Emerson's Compensation"
* Kyle Adams (Indiana Univ.), "Case Studies in the Music/Text Relationship in Rap"

Business Meeting

Keynote Address: Severine Neff (Eugene Falk Distinguished Professor, Univ. of North Carolina), "Schoenberg's 'Augustin': Popular Music, Classical Form, and the Notion of Juxtaposition"

Banquet at Paisano's (Italian restaurant)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thinking about listening to music

First, the zen-like question posed by Kevin Austin on the Auditory e-list: "Is it possible to listen to music without thinking about music?"

To which Ju-Lee Hong pointed out an online survey on listening habits and cognitive style by Gunter Kreutz. I filled out the survey, which I found interesting for a variety of reasons. Foremost, it made me think about how I listen to music in ways that I hadn't seriously considered before (or at least for a long time), such as whether I can tell what the composer or performer was feeling. I encourage all of you to go take the survey, it is meant for people at all levels of musical experience.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Utah has a coast?

West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis
University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Friday April 20th, 2007

8:30 – 10:00 am

Registration and Welcome with Coffee and Pastries.
Room 200, “Thompson Chamber Music Hall”, Main Floor, David Gardner Hall.

10:00 - 12:15

Session: Current Theories of Harmony (Room 324 DGH)

“UTT-Spaces”, Scott Cook, University of British Columbia.

“Transformational Harmony and the Substituted-Sixth Chord in the Early Music of Richard Strauss”, Stuart Woronecki, University of Connecticut.

“Flat Primary Triads, Harmonic Refraction, and the Harmonic Idiom of Shostakovich and Prokofiev”, Gabe Fankhauser, Appalachian State University.

12:30 – 2:00

WCCMTA Banquet Luncheon, Crimson View Bistro, Ray Olpin Student Union.

2:15 – 3:45

Short Session : Meter as Performed and Heard (Room 302 DGH)

“Hypermetrical Ambiguity and Performance Choices in BWV 540/1”, Leon Couch, Converse College.

“Tracing the Path of Metric Focus in Four Chopin Etudes”, Brent Yorgason, University of Texas, San Antonio.

3:45 – 4:00 Break

4:00 – 6:00

Session: Tracing Rhythm Across Different Repertories (Room 302 DGH)

“Construing Rhythmic Spaces in Diasporic African Music”, Christopher Stover, University of Washington.

“Revolving Variations Via Rhythm”, Susan De Ghize, University of Denver

“Rhythmic Conflict in Janacek”, Zdenek Skoulmal, Kwantlen University College.

Saturday April 21st, 2007

8:00 – 11:00 am

Session: Analysis of Twentieth-Century Music, (Room 306 DGH)

”Analyzing Tonal Embellishment In Post-Tonal Music”, Peter Silberman, University of Rochester.

“Adams and Stravinsky”, Luke Ma, UC Santa Barbara.

“En‘light’ening the Musical Idea: Text and Musical Structure in Webern’s Das Augenlicht”, Darin Hoskisson, Texas A&M – Kingsville.

“Pitch and Duration Contours in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Super-Formula for Licht”, Mustafa Bor, University of British Columbia.

11:00 -11:15 Break

11:15 – 12:45

Short Session: Theories of Form in Different Contexts (Room 306 DGH)

“Transpositional Combination and the Analysis of Form in George Crumb’s Lux Aeterna”, Brian Moseley, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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

12:45 – 2:00 Lunch On Your Own

2:00 – 4:30

Special Session: Schoenberg’s Drei Klavierstucke, Op. 11 Reconsidered (Dumke Recital Hall)

“Networks of Reference in Schoenberg's Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11”, Richard Kurth, University of British Columbia.

“Tonal Pitch Space, The Musical ‘Idea’ and the Normative Body in Schoenberg’s Op. 11, No. 1”, Bruce Quaglia, University of Utah.

“Schoenberg’s Compositional Philosophy and the Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11”, Áine Heneghan, University of Washington.

“The ‘Musical Idea’ and Motivic Structure in Schoenberg's Op.11, No. 1”, Jack Boss, University of Oregon.

John Brackett, University of Utah, Respondent.

Heather Conner, University of Utah, will be performing.

4:30 – 4:45 Break

4:45 – 6:00 Keynote Address, Martin Scherzinger, Eastman School of Music: “Time-Transcendence in African Harmony and Rhythm: Ambiguities, Resonance, Effects.” (Dumke Recital Hall)

FriPod: International Women's Day

Yesterday was International Women's Day, so I'm putting off the shortest track list to next week, so I can list the tracks about women and ladies.

1. "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" by Gershwin, performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. This comes across as a love song, even though the words imply an unequal ownership, with Porgy owning Bess. This cognitive dissonance bothers me, perhaps because the opera is about race and disability issues, but ignores gender issues here.

2. "I Got a Woman" performed by Ray Charles. Yes, more ownership issues. This is worse, as it is more contemporary, and has a line that lays it out explicitly: "She knows a womans place is right there now in her home." My kids love this CD, and often would ask for it when we were commuting a lot. I hated it when this song came up, and frequently felt obligated to point out how wrong it was.

3. "Kind of Woman" from the musical Pippin. Much more empowering, this song is about the strengths of average women.

4. "Lonely Woman" by Horace Silver. A haunting ballad, no lyrics to offend.

5. "Pretty Woman" by Duke Ellington. This love song annoys me, but not because of the lyrics. They are fairly standard, about a guy who is in love with a pretty woman and hopes she loves him. The emphasis on "pretty" could be offensive, but this term could be taken to mean her attitude or her intelligence as much as her looks. No, the song is annoying because I don't like the singer (Al Hibbler) and the band sounds chunky on this track.

6. Sequenza III for woman's voice, by Luciano Berio, performed by Luisa Castellani. This breakthrough piece blurs the edges of performance space, when the soloist comes on stage muttering to herself. Has the piece started yet, or is the performer crazy? Either is a valid option for many performers. One could make an issue about the incomprehensibility of most of the lyrics, but I think Berio was going for the interesting timbre issues rather than for statements about women. He did compose this piece for his then wife, Cathy Berberian, so I would think it was done with a positive attitude towards women in general.

7. "My Lady", by Bill Russo, performed by Stan Kenton's big band. This gives off a slight femme-fatale feeling because of the sax solo, but overall it doesn't have enough grit for that. I think this is an attempt by the Kenton band at sentimentality.

8. "Song for Lady M" performed by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Nicco describes it better than I can: B
ut the other song on the album which captured my teenage attention was Song For Lady M—a sad, slow saxophone solo number. Although some of the progressions are still reminiscent of Dixieland, this is more of Coltrane-inspired sound. It starts slow and sad. For some reason I could always imagine it being played from a high window off a dark street. It’s that kind of smoky feeling. In the middle of the song it starts to pick up—but the sound is not any less sad, it starts to communicate a sort of desperation. A Desperate Song for Lady M.

At 15, I had no idea what heartbreak was. But Song for Lady M was heartbreak—an intense, personal heartbreak, different from “Soul Gestures in Southern Blues”. Marsalis’ jazz genius on that number is the menacing yoke of history; the Dirty Dozen sax solo is mournful, a personal love lost.
9. "Sophisticated Lady" by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, and Mitchell Parish. I have two versions of this, by Duke and by Chick Corea. The instrumental by Corea is very elegant and sophisticated. The lyrics of the original song are okay, except for the line "She sticks close to her lover, she obeys God's rule." This strikes a little too close to the idea of woman obeying man.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Deep feelings

I've been working at being more in touch with my emotions lately, especially the more extreme levels of those emotions. As I've been doing this, I find that my musical tastes are more definitive, yet changing depending on my current mood. I've always had moments when I've decided I wasn't in the mood to hear a particular piece of music, but those moments are much more common now. And I can't always predict what will work and what will offend. Right now Schubert's Sonata in A minor for cello and piano, second movement works very well, soothing me while still maintaining a complex mix of sadness and hope. A Bach invention would not be appealing, and the "Loseraie dire" currently being performed by Piffaro is pushing it. In fact, I just stopped the performance, and that is not something the old me would have been able to do. Before, I always needed to hear the end of the story. I pay more attention to the lyrics now, if there are any, and the application of those lyrics to my own life. And in general I prefer more complex music, especially music that has complex emotional content.

New York State of Mind

The Music Theory Society of New York State (MTSNYS, usually pronounced Mitts niss) is having its annual conference on April 14-15. The special focus of the conference is the interaction of technology and music theory.



Morning Session IA: Technology I: Probability for the Perplexed Chair: Marlon Feld (Columbia University)
• Matthew Santa (Texas Tech): Probability in Musical Analysis
• Wayne Alpern (Mannes College of Music): Guide for the Perplexed: A Tutorial on Lewinian Boolean Analysis of Babbitt’s Composition for Four Instruments

Morning Session IB: Semiotics and the Simpsons: D’oh re mi Chair: Taylor Greer (Penn State)
• Michael Klein (Temple University): Musical and Cultural Values in the Theory of Narrative Archetypes
• Martin Kutnowski (Saint Thomas University): Trope and Irony in “The Simpsons” Overture

Morning Session IIA: Technology II: Poster Demonstrations Moderator: Ciro Scotto (Eastman School of Music)
• Timothy Cutler (Austin College) The Internet Music Theory Database
• Tuukka Ilomaki (Sibelius Academy) Developing More Usable Music Theory Software

Morning Session IIB: 20th- Century Atonal Voice-Leading and Dialectics Chair: Joseph Straus (Graduate Center, CUNY)
• Andrew Pau (CUNY Graduate Center): Voice Leading as Harmonic Determinant in Atonal Music
• Benjamin Wadsworth (Eastman): Dialectical Opposition between Tonal and Atonal Structures in Berg's Piano Sonata

Afternoon Session IA: B & B Chair: Chandler Carter (Hofstra University)
• Austin Patty (Lee University): The Influence of Harmonic Rhythm and Melodic Pacing On Musical Climax
• Mark Anson-Cartwright (CUNY): Modulation to the Minor Dominant in Major: Three Examples by Bach
• Brent Auerbach (U. of Mass.): Tiered Polyphony as a Signal of Motivic Primacy in the Piano Music of Brahms

Afternoon Session IB: Technology III: Intelligent Systems Moderator/Respondent: Leigh Van Handel (Michigan State University)
• Panayotis Mavromatis (NYU): Intelligent Tutoring Systems for Music Theory: A Knowledge-Based Programming Framework
• Matthew Brown (Eastman School of Music): ‘The Lodovico Method’

KEYNOTE ADDRESS (3;45–4:45pm)
ERIC ISAACSON (Indiana University): Doin’ It Right: Theory, Technology, Today, and Tomorrow


Morning Session IA-B: Form and Bi/Symmetry/Tonality: into the 20th century ( and beyond . . .) Chair: Jonathan Dunsby (SUNY Buffalo)
• Howard Cinnamon (Hofstra University): Classical Models of Sonata Form and the First Movement of Liszt's Faust Symphony: The Conservative Revealed
• Deborah Rifkin (Ithaca College): The Quiet Revolution of a B-natural: Prokofiev's New Simplicity in the Second Violin Concerto
• Les Black (Ithaca College): Heuristic Symmetries in Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony
• Jose Antonio Martins (University of Iowa) Intervallic Reorientation in Dual-organization Spaces: Interpreting Polymodality in Works by Milhaud

Morning Session IB: Technology IV: Poster Demonstrations Moderator: Kristin Taavola (Cornell University)
• Cynthia Gonzales (Texas State University): iMovie and Flash: Hi-Tech Harmonic Dictation Teaching Assistants
• Rebecca Jemian (Ithaca College): Who Wants to Pass Fundamentals: Clickers in the Classroom

Morning Session IIB: Oppositions Chair: Mary Arlin (Ithaca College)
• J. Daniel Jenkins (Eastman School of Music) Schoenberg’s Concept of ruhende Bewegung
• Judy Lochhead (SUNY Stony Brook) The “Objective and Subjective” in Analytical Transcription

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Well, that title should help my traffic. But it is also one movement of Casino, a work by Phillip Bimstein. Bimstein writes a post-minimalist type of musique concrète, with recorded and sampled sounds superimposed with traditional musical instruments. Perhaps this is the Varèse-ian school of music that Robert Gables is looking for. The voice of the dice-caller in Casino is rather bland sounding. Perhaps this can have an ironic twist on his philosophizing about a tawdry subject, but as a sonic feature it was disappointing. The voices of Robert Logan, "Bushy Wushy The Beer Man", and Larkin Gifford are more complex, combining with the sampled sounds and repetitive music in a pleasing variety of timbres. Information and other reviews about the Starkland CD, Larkin Gifford's Harmonica, can be found here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ancient Drama in Modern Opera

'Ancient Drama in Modern Opera, 1600-1800'
APGRD Conference, Classics Centre, Oxford, 12 July 2007

This conference is interdisciplinary, with speakers from Classics and Modern Languages as well as music academics. Registration is 20 pounds (includes lunch), and the organizers promise mystical bursaries, which is Brit-speak for student scholarships.

Provisional speakers:
Dr Michael Burden (Director of Productions, New Chamber Opera), 'Myth in Metastasio's works'
Bruno Forment (composer and performer; PhD student at University of Ghent), 'The gods out of the machine ... and their come-back'
Professor Wendy Heller (Department of Music, Princeton University), 'Playing with fortune: the fate of Pyrrhus in seicento Venice'
Professor Robert Ketterer (Department of Classics, University of Iowa), 'The influence of Agostino Piovene's translations of Greek tragedy on his opera libretti in the first quarter of the 18th century'
Dr Suzana Ograjenšek (Research Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge), 'Andromache in late 17th and early 18th century operas'
Professor Ellen Rosand (Department of Music, Yale University), 'Classical themes in Monteverdi'
Professor Reinhard Strohm (Faculty of Music, Oxford University), ' "Addio Tebani!" Oedipus
Tyrannus as opera seria (1729)'
Jennifer Thorp (Archivist, New College, Oxford), 'Dance in Lully's Alceste'
Dr Amy Wygant (School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Glasgow University), 'The Ghost of Alcestis'

After the papers there will be a wine reception and then a short recital of arias from eighteenth-century tragic operas by Ensemble La Falsirena (Suzana Ograjenšek, soprano; Luke Green, harpsichord; Henrik Persson, baroque 'cello). We currently expect the papers to run from 9.30 to 6.15, and the recital to be over by 8.00.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Conference at UIUC



Smith Memorial Hall, Room 25, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

30-31 March 2007

Not only the final outcome but the process of creative endeavor has long attracted attention in various artistic disciplines, but only recently has the potential of coordinated research of this kind begun to be explored in detail. The most rigorous basis for the study of artistic creativity comes not from anecdotal or autobiographical reports, but from original handwritten sketches and drafts and preliminary studies, as well as from revised manuscripts and typescripts, corrected proof sheets, and similar primary sources. Especially since the eighteenth century, writers, composers, and painters have been much concerned with originality of style, which has encouraged intense preliminary efforts preceding and leading toward the production of finished artistic works.

The conference on "Genetic Criticism in an Interdisciplinary Context: Literature, Visual Arts, Theatre, Music," is based on a collaboration between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Centre nationale de recherche scientifique in Paris; the conference organizers are William Kinderman at UIUC and Almuth Grésillon at the CNRS. That "critique génétique" has been a focus of the CNRS is evident from the journal Genesis: Revue internationale de critique génétique. Kinderman is General Editor of the Beethoven Sketchbook Series at the University of Illinois Press, and has written numerous studies exploring the compositional process of various composers.

The interdisciplinary dimension of the conference will be enhanced by the presence of leading scholars in literature and the visual arts as well as music. The conference is coordinated in turn with workshop performances on 30-31 March of the important new play "33 Variations" by distinguished playwright Moisés Kaufman. Kaufman's play explores the creative process of Beethoven as situated at the intersection of life and art, and he thoughtfully probes our own engagement with the artistic legacy of this brilliant, fascinating, witty, and sometimes elusive composer.

Conference Program

Friday morning 9-12 Genetic Criticism and Literature

Caroline Szylowicz, Chair

"Caution: Work in Progress" Almuth Grésillon, CNRS, Paris

"Varieties of Genetic Experience" Geert Lernout, University of Antwerp

"Variant and Variation: Towards a Freudo-bathmologico-Bakhtino-Goodmanian Genetic Model" Daniel Ferrer, CNRS, Paris

"Variants of Pleasure in Roland Barthes: The Genetic Record of a Voice" Armine Kotin Mortimer, UIUC

Friday afternoon 2-5 Musical Sketches and Editions

Katherine R. Syer, Chair

"Beethoven's Eroica Sketchbook" Alan Gosman, University of Michigan, Lewis Lockwood, Harvard University

"Beethoven's Missa solemnis" Patrizia Metzler, UIUC, Fred Stoltzfus, UIUC

"A 'Genetic' Edition of Verdi's La forza del Destino" Philip Gossett, University of Chicago

"'They only give rise to misunderstandings'­Mahler's Sketches in Context" James Zychowicz, Madison/Chicago

Saturday morning 9-12 Perspectives on Painting and Music

Steve Taylor, Chair

"Genetic Evolution: Changes in Delacroix's Creative Process" David O'Brien, UIUC

"Putting the Process into the Product: Exploratory Transitional Passages in Beethoven's Late Quartet Sketches" Peter McCallum, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney

"The Ineffable, The Unspeakable, and the Inspirational. Part One: Motherwell's Mother" Jonathan Fineberg, UIUC

"Studying Very Recent Music & Designing Tools for Sketch Studies: Towards 'Genetic Navigation' Through Digitalized Traces of Compositional Processes" Nicolas Donin, IRCAM, Centre Pompidou, Paris

Saturday afternoon 1:30-3:45 Genetic Criticism and Performance

Tom Mitchell, Chair

"Can Genetic Criticism be Applied to the Performing Arts?" Jean-Louis Lebrave, ITEM-CNRS, Paris

"Beethoven on the Stage" Moisés Kaufman, Director, Tectonic Theater Project, New York

"Beethoven's 'Diabelli' Variations. Lecture/performance" William Kinderman, UIUC

Memorial Room, Smith Memorial Hall

Friday and Saturday evenings, 30 and 31 March (Armory Theater): workshop performances of new play by Moisés Kaufman, "33 Variations," a co-production of the Tectonic Theater Company (New York) and the Arena Stage (Washington DC) (workshop extends from 12-31 March)

Friday, March 02, 2007

FriPod: Heavy lifters

After missing the FriPod for the last two weeks, I thought I'd make up for it by listing the longest tracks on my iTunes.

1. Bach's Mass in B minor, Gloria, performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Robert Shaw conducting. 37:15. I got to experience the entire mass performed in Bach's own church, St. Thomas in Leipzig. The whole orchestra was in the balcony and my seat was directly underneath, so the only visual connection I had with the performers was seeing the conductor's shadow moving around and then at the end when I moved out to the aisle to applaud them. I took this opportunity to reflect on the space, though I wasn't yet far enough on my spiritual journey to truly appreciate that aspect. I also paid attention to the immediacy of the live performance, divorced from the visual distractions.

1a. Bach's Mass in B minor, Symbolum Nicenum. This Lutheran Credo has no violas. I'm not sure what Bach was trying to say about violists and their beliefs. The trumpets, however, get the last word on the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

2. Pahi Sri Sundhara Raja, performed by Chitravina N. Ravikiran. 33:11. I purchased this CD after hearing M. Ravikiran perform at the SMT conference in Boston. I know I still don't hear many of the subtle nuances of classical Indian music, but I find this track soothing on occasion.

3. Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor, I. Kraftig; Entschieden, performed by Levine with the CSO. 32:46. I also purchased this CD in Boston, but back in 1990. My theory professor, Allen Gimbel, was leading us through a massive Schenkerian analysis of the entire symphony, which inspired me to purchase this recording while visiting my brother during spring break. There is a charming or frustrating moment in this movement where the trombone soloist (Jay Friedman) really blats a note. I'm sure he wishes a different take had been chosen, but the imperfection makes the performance more alive.

4. Frederic Rzewski's De Profundis, performed by Rzewski. 32:42. I took my kids to see Lisa Moore perform this work, which was quite the experience for all of us. Based upon Oscar Wilde's letter from prison to his homosexual lover, the pianist makes gasps at various points that my kids found very amusing. Fortunately they are young enough to not ask what the gasps were for.

5. Peter Maxwell Davies' Trumpet Concerto, performed by Hakan Hardenberger. 31:16. When I got this CD in college (Endless Parade) I didn't listen to it much because the two concerti were so long, with no break between movements. I've slowly lost some of my impatience for long continuous works, though I still don't listen to this concerto nearly as much as others.

6. Toru Takemitsu's "From me flows what you call Time" (1993), performed by the BBC Orchestra with Andrew Davis. 30:47. To be honest, I haven't listened to this one since I ripped this CD, so I can't offer any immediate reactions. I have it playing at this moment, but I don't have time (heh) to listen to the whole work right now. It is full of exotic timbres, very spacious and transparent.

7. Sir Maxwell Davies is in this spot as well, with his Eight Songs for a Mad King, performed by the Fires of London. 30:12. This is somewhat cheating, as all eight songs are on a single track. I wish I had a DVD of this work. I have not had a chance to see the theatrical aspects connected with the music, except for some still photos. Though now that I revisit the composer's website I see that two video clips have been put up.

8. Mahler's Symphony No. 9 in D major, I. Andante Comodo, performed by Pierre Boulez with the CSO. 29:27. Mahler is somewhat like Philip Glass. Both composers need large swathes of time to lay out their musical ideas. In Glass' case, it is (was, mostly) so he could make subtle changes at any given time and yet still travel far enough to be satisfying. Mahler needs all of this room because he has so many ideas that he needs to juxtapose. Interestingly, my Bruno Walter recording of this movement is five minutes shorter.

9. Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, "Der Abschied," performed by Christa Ludwg with the Philharmonia and New Philharmonic Orchestras (Fritz Wunderlich, cond.) 29:25. The final movement of this quasi song-cycle/quasi symphony is very long, but it needs this time to adequately paint the text. The last line, ending with "eternally... eternally..." requires us to travel a long musical road to truly feel this mix of sadness and hope.

10. Michael Blake Watkins' Trumpet Concerto, performed by Hakan Hardenberger. 28:16. This is the other really long concerto on Hardenberger's Endless Parade CD. The title track by Birtwhistle is shorter, a mere nineteen minutes long, one that I listened to far more than the others. I don't know much about Watkins, other than that he is Welsh. The concerto is lush, with a certain insistence in its mood. There is a lot of continuous variation of kernel motives, mostly diatonic.

So, what are your longest tracks, and how long is too long for an uninterrupted piece? Next week I'll talk about the shortest tracks. Be prepared for lots of recitatives!

AMS Midwest Chapter Conference

Another good regional conference. March 24-25, 2007. Miami University. Meeting location: Bystrom-Reid Room, on the Third floor of the Shriver Center, 701 East Spring Street, Oxford, Ohio, 45240

(on the MU campus map, it is building # 123, section 3D)

Sat. 9:45-11:45
Operatic Subjects: Effie Papanikolauo, Miami University, Chair

Heather Foote, University of Iowa
"A Bombastic Baritone and Scheming Soprano: Unconventional Characters in Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff"

Shinobu Yoshida, University of Michigan
"Puccini's Exotic Women?: Subverting Conventions of the Tragic Heroine"

Maria Cristina Fava, Eastman School of Music
"Transforming Text: Weill's Use of Circularity as a Framing Device"

Melinda Boyd, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati
"Unmasking the Ballroom Scene in Thea Musgrave's Mary, Queen of Scots"

Sat. 12:00-2:00 Group Lunch

Sat. 2:15-4:15
Keynote Address and Panel
Dr. Charles Atkinson, The Ohio State University
President of the American Musicological Society
"Musicology Today and Tomorrow"

Panel TBA

Sat. 4:30 Business Meeting

Sun. 9:00-11:00
Reassessing Analysis

Lynn Kane, Wheaton College
"The Influence of Basso Continuo Practice on the Late Eighteenth-Century Lied"

Julie Hedges Brown, Oberlin Conservatory
"The style hongrois and Schumann's Formal Experiments of 1842"

Ryan Ross University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"'Night and Day': New Thoughts on the Conclusion to Mahler's Seventh Symphony"

Sun. 11:15-12:45
Religious Topoi

Jessica A. Shelvik, University of IL, Urbana-Champaign
" 'Pagan-Religious Merry-Making:' The Program(s) of Rimsky-Korsakov's Svetlyi Prazdnik"

Christopher Urbiel
"A House Divided May Indeed Stand: Edward Elgar's Roman Catholic Motets and Anglican Anthems"

American Institutions

Jane Riegel Ferencz, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
"Music for Wisconsin: The WPA Federal Music Project in Madison"

Mark D. Porcaro, Muskegon, MI
"Beatlemania Magically Recreated: Hyperreality and Tribute Bands in the United States"

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Press Release: Met regional finals

On Sunday, March 11 at 2pm, WGBH 89.7 FM will air the 48th annual New England Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The auditions were held at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall on Sunday, January 28. The broadcast of this popular competition, hosted by Ron Della Chiesa, will also stream worldwide on March 11 at 2pm at
This year's exceptionally strong field of fourteen young singers yielded three first place winners:

Michael Fabiano - Twenty-two-year-old tenor from Philadelphia.
Matthew Plenk - Twenty-four-year-old tenor from Lindenhurst, New York.
Faith Sherman - Twenty-five-year-old mezzo-soprano from Wilton, Connecticut

American Handel Festival

The American Handel Society and the Department of Music at Princeton University invites you to the 2007 American Handel Festival and Meeting of the American Handel Society to be held at Princeton University, April 19-21.

The conference portion of the festival includes an international and interdisciplinary roster of scholars who will consider a variety of issues concerning the music of Handel and his contemporaries, including Handel and Judaism, music, myth, and allegory, the reception of Handel, performance practice, Handel’s instrumental music, vocality, heroism, and masculinity. We are delighted to announce that the Howard Serwer Memorial Lecture will be given by Andrew Porter.

The Festival opens with “Britannia’s Invitation: The Life and Music Times of George Frederick Handel as seen through contemporary eyes," featuring the Richard Baroque Chamber Players, directed by Nancy Wilson, violin, with soprano Laura Heimes, countertenor Daniel Gundlach, bass Curtis Streitman, harpsichordist Gwendolyn Toch, narrated by Nathan Randall and Judith Pierce. Friday evening at 6 PM University organist Eric Plutz will present an organ recital at the University Chapel, and the Festival will conclude with a performance of Handel’s Hercules by the Princeton University Glee Club, directed by Richard Tang Yuk, with professional soloists and orchestra.

The Firestone Library will also be featuring a special exhibit of the James S. Hall Handel Collection, curated by Paula Matthews.

For more information on registration, concert tickets, and accommodations, please see the conference website.

We look forward to seeing you in Princeton in April!