American Musicological Society
Fall 2002 Program and Abstracts
9:30 a.m. - Coffee
10:00 - "From 'Take Y' Praise' to 'Praise You': A Case
Study in the
10:30 - "Hear Me Moanin' and Groanin' ": The Transatlantic
11:00 - "'Show Them What Bad Music Is': The American
11:30 to 12:45 - lunch
1 to 1:45 - Business meeting
2 - "Biago Marini's Madrigali et symfonie, Opus 2:
A Neglected Younger
2:30 - "In Pursuit of Authenticity: Controversy in
Mozart's KV 593" -
From "Take Yo' Praise" to "Praise
You": A Case Study in the Ethics and
At the core of Fatboy Slim's 1998 techno hit, "Praise You," is another work-Camille Yarbrough's 1975 funk/soul song, "Take Yo' Praise." Through the technology of digital sampling, Norman Cook (who is Fatboy Slim) decontextualizes, manipulates, and recontextualizes twenty seconds of Yarbrough's singing, creating from it a new work with distinctive sounds and meanings. Cook is a white Englishman, an internationally known composer of electronic dance music. Yarbrough is a black American woman, a writer and occasional musician now best known for having been sampled by Cook. Their paths only crossed when Cook's lawyers contacted Yarbrough for retroactive permission to sample her work ("Praise You" had already been released in Europe). Yarbrough's "Take Yo' Praise" is a multifaceted song, one that touches on love, religion, and civil rights. "Praise You" is, according to Cook, simply dance music-"the soundtrack of your nights out rather than anything to be discussed at great length." This is not, however, a straightforward case of a white musician appropriating and simplifying black culture for fortune and fame. Yarbrough (according to interviews with the author) sees no exploitation and is quite pleased with Cook's handling of her music; moreover, "Praise You" is a much more subtle and interesting work than Cook would admit. This paper offers a nuanced study of the complex relationship between these two songs and artists, and in doing so will illuminate a variety of broader musical and extramusical issues raised by the practice of digital sampling.
"Hear Me Moanin' and Groanin'": The Transatlantic Transformation of a Chicago Blues Song - Stuart Cheney
Otis Rush made the original recordings of Willie Dixon's "I Can't Quit You Baby" in Chicago in 1956 for Cobra Records and again in 1966 for Vanguard. Both versions were known to growing handfuls of young British blues fans and musicians who counted Rush among the pioneers of the black urbanized music that captivated and inspired them. In the hands of two English blues-rock ensembles-John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Led Zeppelin-Rush's renditions of the song were transformed in the late 1960s into versions intended as homages to both Rush and Dixon, and immediately available to wider audiences. While the ironic phenomenon of young British white bands introducing the blues to white American audiences has received some scholarly attention, particularly from a sociological standpoint, few writers have commented on the musical and performance details that would have preoccupied the musicians themselves and influenced many of their decisions. Other writers have relegated the Mayall and Led Zeppelin recordings of "I Can't Quit You Baby" (and similar works) to the status of "cover version" rather than the more respectable "reworking" that implies greater authorial intention. However, the situation is more complex than previously understood. Despite Mayall's reputation as a blues purist, his 1967 version makes use of the voice, guitar, and piano in idiosyncratic ways, at the same time retaining a texture and instrumentation close to that of the two Otis Rush renditions. Three features make the 1968 Led Zeppelin recording in particular stand apart: a greatly increased energy level achieved through both volume and performing style, a texture stripped down to just four essential parts, and a subtle rhythmic twist appended to a harmonic feature that Otis Rush had added to the song by 1966. I also intend to show that the later Vanguard recording, rather than the original Cobra version, was the primary template for both British recordings of the work.
"Show Them What Bad Music Is": The American
Premiere of Schoenberg's
In the spring of 1915, conductor Leopold Stokowski was searching for novelties for the Philadelphia Orchestra's coming season and stumbled upon Arnold Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 (1906). Stokowski had never heard the Chamber Symphony, nor seen the score, but he knew Schoenberg's earlier work and also the composer's growing international reputation as an innovator. Stokowski decided to take a chance and announced publicly that Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony would be part of Philadelphia's 1915-16 season. After seeing the score, however, Stokowski had second thoughts. He called the work "ridiculous" and wanted to scrap it from the season. But the orchestra's manager Arthur Judson urged Stokowski to reconsider. Judson suggested the orchestra use the piece "to show audiences what bad music is." Stokowski liked the idea. What resulted was a public relations campaign organized to prepare audiences for the Schoenberg performance. It included press releases, speeches from the stage, and program inserts, in which Stokowski openly discussed his initial reaction to the piece. He even suggested that most audience members would not like the work on first hearing. Yet he ultimately argued that Schoenberg was an artist on music's cutting edge and that it was the orchestra's duty to keep abreast of the latest developments in music. This paper uses documents from the Philadelphia Orchestra archives to explore this American premiere and the issues it raises about modernism's public face in the United States in the mid teens.
Biagio Marini's Madrigali et symfonie, Opus 2: A
The printed date of dedication of Biagio Marini's second publication, the Madrigali et symfonie, Opus 2 is May 1, 1618, a date which, if interpreted according to the Venetian calendar of the time, would suggest that the collection appeared on the music market only a few months after his Opus 1, the Affetti musicali. If so, the two publications together would represent his debut as a composer. Yet Opus 2 has been treated in a much more cursory fashion in the literature, perhaps as a result of confusion concerning the whereabouts of the surviving partbooks. This is unfortunate because the collection contains the first examples of his vocal music - examples which range over virtually all of the secular genres in use at the time. Moreover, the instrumental pieces in the publication not only contain works as imposing as those in Opus 1, but also reveal intriguing, if not confusing, use of the terms balletto and sinfonia. In this paper I will present a brief survey of the twenty-five pieces in Opus 2 and discuss their place in Marini's development as a composer and the evolution of the various genres into which they belong.
In Pursuit of Authenticity: Controversy in Mozart's
KV 593 - Ann
Theoretically, it is conceivable for two early 21st-century audiences, on hearing two separate performances of Mozart's String Quintet KV 593, to witness two different musical experiences, not within the obvious - the performance - but within the compositional structure itself, evidenced specifically in the fourth movement, the Finale Allegro. An investigation into this dichotomy encompasses a threefold approach: an historical overview of the work, a study of the evidence found in the Collected Editions of the composer's works which result in both conflict and intrigue, and the significant findings in relatively recent Mozartean scholarship which challenge decades of musicological assumption. These findings, by German scholar Ernst Hess, involve a comparative analysis of the handwriting evidenced in the alterations in the autograph manuscript with that of Mozart's hand. The resulting conclusions offer a bold disparity in juxtaposition to traditional pre-1960 views, reflecting an intriguing change in the musicological perception of authenticity and reinforcing the notion that musicological research, even in the 21st century, is dynamic rather than static.
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