American Musicological Society

Capital Chapter

Officers Meetings Membership Awards

Fall 1999 Program and Abstracts

Program

9:30 Refreshments with members of the Carolinas Symposium for British Studies

10:00 Session 1

  1. Jennifer Oates, Florida State University, "George Thomson's Beethoven: A Mere Folk Arranger?"
  2. William A. Everett (University of Missouri-Kansas City), "'Scots Wha' Hae': Musical Images of Scotland, ca. 1875-1925"
  3. Dorothy Potter (Lynchburg College), "'For I am entirely English': W. A. Mozart's Anglo-American Connections, 1764-1789"

11:30 Session 2

  1. Jennifer DeLapp (University of Maryland-College Park), "Worldly Traditions Transformed: Music and Dance in Shaker Worship"
  2. Ethel Norris Haughton, Emory Waters, and Mary Ann Waters (Virginia State University), "Women of Distinction: An Opera on Carrie and Lucinda Bragg"

12:30 Lunch

2:00 Business Meeting

3:00 Session 3

  1. Suzanne Cusick (University of Virginia), "Music, Subjectivity, and 'the Symbolic Order of the Mother': Challenges from the Italian Feminist Theory of Diotima"
  2. Anthony DelDonna (Georgetown University), "Artistic Practice and Social Order: Musical Production in Naples during and after the Republican Revolution of 1789"


Abstracts

Jennifer Oates, Florida State University, "George Thomson's Beethoven: A Mere Folk Arranger?"

George Thomson, an Edinburgh publisher, commissioned over 150 folk song arrangements from Beethoven. These works are often overlooked or considered simple works composed only for money. A closer look at the relationship between Thomson and Beethoven reveals a more complex situation.

Thomson wanted a genius, an innovative composer with extraordinary intellectual and creative power and an international reputation to arrange his songs. He, along with other Scottish publishers, sought continental composers for this task. These publishers believed that accompaniments and instrumental interludes composed by well-known composers would increase the value of the songs both musically and monetarily. He saw Beethoven as a genius and believed him well-suited for the task.

Beethoven tried to compose the songs to Thomson's specifications, which included simple accompaniments of musical quality based on the folk tunes. While these songs are simpler than Beethoven's monumental works, they were not simple enough for Thomson's market of amateur musicians. Beethoven brought folk song settings to a new level by infusing them with more continuity and unity than Thomson's previous folk song arrangers, but he did so with Thomson dictating the instrumentation and general form. Beethoven also took more care than his predecessors in attempting to achieve a Scottish sound, whether authentic or not. As a general rule Beethoven would not revise his compositions at a publisher's request, but with Thomson he did so, albeit with some complaining.
What Thomson really needed for this project was an arranger who could compose simple accompaniments and instrumental interludes, not an innovative one who would infuse the songs with his own personal style or take the genre to new musical heights. In the end, Thomson did not get the kind of arrangements he wanted, but he did get a clever, accommodating composer. Beethoven's willingness to please Thomson is unusual, and in this respect Thomson's Beethoven offers a unique view of Beethoven.

William A. Everett, University of Missouri--Kansas City, "'Scots Wha' Hae': Musical Images of Scotland, ca. 1875-1925"

During the nineteenth century, Scotland provided a significant source of inspiration for Scottish composers, which formed the basis of a national identity they themselves were trying to define. Two distinct styles emerged in Scottish art music during the period under investigation, one romantic and one modern. Between roughly 1875 and 1914, with a lack of true political nationalism, Scottish musical nationalism took on a romantic guise akin to that of Walter Scott. Scottish composers struggled with a number of issues during this era: 1) the dual concept of Scottishness and Britishness and how this could be reflected in musical terms; 2) the lack of professional art music opportunity in Scotland and the comparatively smaller art music culture when compared with England; and 3) the reconciliation of a strong vernacular musical tradition with a weaker art music one. In the 1920s, however, the situation changed. Hugh MacDiarmid, self-proclaimed creator of a Scottish national renaissance, fostered a very different modern image of Scotland from that of the romantics. Likewise, Scottish art music took on a more contemporary and cosmopolitan guise as well.

This paper will discuss the various cultural and musical issues that affected Scottish art music during the half century under consideration. Composers whose works will be discussed include Hector Berlioz, Max Bruch, Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, Hamish MacCunn, William Wallace, and F. G. Scott.

The Robert Burns song "Scots Wha' Hae'" will be used as the paper's unifying element. The song was quoted by both continental and Scottish composers in their works as a way of celebrating Scottishness in both traditional and modern guises. Additionally, the song represented the congruence of traditional and art music traditions so central to Scottish musical identity.

Dorothy Potter, Lynchburg College, "'For I am entirely English. . .': W. A. Mozart's Anglo-American Connections, 1764-1789"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozert's reputation among both scholars and the public dramatically increased with the countless performances, conferences, publications, and commemorative objects that marked the 1991 bicentennial of his death. While the number of Mozart books and articles continues to grow, relatively little attention has been focused on his childhood tour in England (1764-65), and its relationship to the origins of his music in the United States.

This paper comes from current research entitled "The Cultural Influence of Mozart's Music in Philadelphia, 1786-1861," and includes an overview of Mozart's stay in England and the friends he and his family shared with Benjamin Franklin, whose inventions included an improved glass harmonica. As a colonial agent, Franklin lived in Craven Street, London, a short walk from the Mozarts's lodging near Soho Square. In 1778, Mozart was also in Paris where Franklin, now American ambassador, was the toast of society. Could they have met, and perhaps not for the first time? During the mid-1780s, Mozart, having moved to Vienna, befriended several young English or Irish musicians who became his pupils, or were part of the first cast of Le nozze di Figaro; later they would perform, and thereby promote, his works in London concerts. These circumstances directly or indirectly facilitated Mozart's music being performed in the United States by the late 1780s. Within a little more than two decades he would become a cultural icon on two continents.

While appreciation of works of genius by individuals such as Mozart seems both natural and right, the process is not inevitable. Using correspondence by the Mozarts, Franklin, and others, concert records in England and America, and relevant secondary sources, it is possible to reconstruct and analyze this unique and fascinating chain of events.

Jennifer DeLapp, University of Maryland-College Park, "Worldly Traditions Transformed: Music and Dance in Shaker Worship"

Shakers in Western New York in the nineteenth century were surrounded by a thriving traditional music scene that inclused fiddling, singing, and square dancing. While dancing was part of Shaker worship, instruments were forbidden before the 1860s; in the preceding decades, a substantial tradition of sung dance music developed. Much of Shaker dance music suggests the reels, marches, and jigs that came with the immigration waves from England, Scotland, and Ireland. With typical Shaker invention, a "letteral" notation system was developed for notating these tunes; with typical Shaker industry, thousand of tunes were gathered into hundreds of notebooks, like musical samplers.

Sister Ann Maria Love (b. 1835), a Shaker at the Groveland community in Western New York from age 7 to 24, filled two books with these tunes--about 300 tunes in all. Some have words; others are wordless and were meant for dancing. Through an examination of her tune collections, this paper describes the vital role music played in Shaker religious life, and suggests connections to other traditional music of nineteenth-century New York State. Documents for, about, and by the Groveland Shakers provide contemporary accounts of the community's religious and musical practices. Census records, demographic studies, and local histories have supplied additional information about the people of the now-defunct Groveland community and its surrounding region.

Ethel Norris Haughton, Emory Waters, and Mary Ann Waters, Virginia State University, "Women of Distinction: An Opera on Carrie and Lucinda Bragg"

A book titled Women of Distinction: Remarkable in Works and Invincible in Character, published by L. A. Scruggs in 1893, featured accomplishments of African American women. Among them was Mrs. Lucinda Bragg Adams, included because she served on the editorial staff of The Musical Messenger, the earliest African American music magazine. Less known was Lucinda's younger sister, Carrie Bragg, who shared Lucinda's musical interests. The lives of Lucinda, who ventured to various locales, and Carrie, who primarily remained in her home community, are the inspiration for a new opera commissioned by the Petersburg [Virginia] Symphony Orchestra and currently being created by composer Emory Waters and librettist Mary Ann Waters for a premiere performances during spring 2000.

This joint presentation will first provide an overview of the musical endeavors of the Bragg sisters and their role in the development of musical interests among Petersburg's African Americans in the late nineteenth century. The remainder of the presentation will focus on ways in which the composer and the librettist have transformed Lucinda and Carrie into Caroline and Amelia, respectively, for the sake of dramaturgy. Among the topics to be explored will be the attraction of this place and period as the basis of the opera, the translation of fact into historical fiction, and the integration of music from the 1880s and 1890s with contemporary composition.

Suzanne Cusick, University of Virginia, "Music, Subjectivity, and "the Symbolic Order of the Mother": Challenges from the Italian Feminist Theory of Diotima"

Toward the end of her 1996 essay "Partire de se' e non farsi trovare...," Luisa Muraro (the best-known theorist of Italy's feminist collective Diotima) invokes an idea about music to explain an idea about subjectivity as it is imagined within the framework Diotima calls "the symbolic order of the mother." Muraro's use of musical imagery represents a rare and welcome instance of music serving the rhetorical purposes of feminist theory. It invites a reciprocating use of Diotima's theory of female subjectivity to illuminate feminist music scholarship. This paper will explain more fully the idea of subjectivity Muraro found so analogous to music-making; and it will explore ways Diotima's conception of both music and subjectivity challenges us to think and write differently about musical scores, performances, experiences, and lives.

Anthony DelDonna, Georgetown University, "Artistic Practice and Social Order: Musical Production in Naples during and after the Republican Revolution of 1799"

Throughout the eighteenth century, theatrical spectacle and artistic philosophy in Naples were intimately related. Legislative policies established in the primo settecento such as the exclusive patronage of opera seria (to accentuate the absolutist royal court), the invocation of the ancient jus prohibendi (sanctioning the taxation and censorship of the minor theaters), and the placement of the royal Teatro di San Carlo under the supervision of the General Secretary of the Military (to maintain order among the personnel and audiences of the theater) were rigidly enforced and expanded by Ferdinand IV in the secondo settecento. However, with the Republican Revolution of 1799 and the flight of the Bourbon sovereigns to Sicily, Neapolitan musical practices were abruptly subjected to new political and social agendas. Although conditions prior to 1799 are well known, few studies have addressed the impact of the Republican Revolution on contemporary cultural and musical life.

This essay is based upon newly discovered archival materials in the Archivio di Stato Naples, which reflect the effects of political and social policies on the Neapolitan theaters, their repertoire, and the artists themselves both during the 1799 Revolution and after the Bourbon restoration. In particular, the sources reveal the appropriation of the theaters and the enlistment of their personnel by the Republicans for political manifestations. Similarly, they document the reorganization of musical practices and policies of repression initiated at the return of the monarchy. This material will help to resolve a lacuna in Neapolitan theatrical history as well a provide a context for policies adopted by Gioacchino Murat and Domenico Barbaja in the early nineteenth century.


 

 

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