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Spring 2002 Program and Abstracts

Kristina Lobenhofer: "Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony: Sincere or Subversive?"

The Finale of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony is an oft-debated problem for both musicologists and performers. Did Shostakovich intend for this symphony to end with a movement of rejoicing and thus compose a work that would please the Soviet government authorities regulating his music? Or was the movement intended to convey an insincerity that would signify Shostakovich's dissenting opinion toward Soviet policy? The most convincing evidence in favor of the latter comes from Testimony, published under the subtitle "The Memoirs of Dimitri Shostakovich." However, several scholars beginning with Laurel Fay have discounted the authenticity of this work. The subject of this paper is first to examine the validity of Testimony and its commentary on the Fifth Symphony. Subsequently the work itself and the circumstances surrounding its composition will be discussed. The eventual conclusion drawn is that though Testimony's authenticity is suspect, the Finale of the Fifth Symphony itself, through use of musical devices such as the repetitive high A's in the violin part through its coda, provides sufficient argument for the case of the Fifth Symphony as a dissident work.

Richard Reed, Jr.: "British Library, MS Harley 2951: Re-examining Our Understanding of Hymn Cycles"

Often hidden among the pages of early manuscripts that were used on a daily basis such as graduals, antiphonaries, and noted breviaries, are unique and valuable clues to understanding the religious and musical practices of the people for whom they were copied. Unusual dots in some of the hymns of the fifteenth-century hymnal, British Library, MS Harley 2951, appear to be an indication of faburden. This paper considers performance interpretations of the dots suggested by two scholars, and, by examining the hymns within the context of their original liturgical function, finds that the selected hymns form one of the earliest surviving polyphonic hymn cycles for the liturgical year. Because this particular hymn cycle does not fully conform to the model accepted by most as put forth in Tom R. Ward's valuable research on hymn cycles, this paper also challenges us to reconsider our understanding of what can rightly be considered a cycle.

Robert Waters: "Centrifugal Forces: Anti-Centralization, Regional Identity, and the Schola Cantorum"

Fin de siècle regional identity was expressed by numerous professors and students from the Paris Schola Cantorum, including Déodat de Séverac, and co-founders Charles Bordes and Vincent d'Indy. In Séverac's 1907 thesis written at the school, he leveled an indictment at the administration of the Paris Conservatory, which he criticized for encouraging composition professors to emphasize centrally sanctioned styles. The alleged biases were thought of as not limited to Paris but as extended throughout France through branches of the Paris Conservatory, municipal schools, and maitrises, accomplished by subventions, whereby these institutions were required to conform to the program outlined by the Conseil supérieur des études du Conservatoire national. Séverac called for a local music patois wherein "a group of artists are united around the ideal peculiar to a fixed region." Bordes, d'Indy, and Séverac all referred to their indebtedness to the controversial philosopher-writer Maurice Barrès in this regard, whose regional identity and anti-centralist sentiment in music composition and music education paralleled those of the three composers. By discussing the regionalist philosophies of Bordes and d'Indy, as well as those expressed in Séverac's thesis, I will illustrate the ways in which Barrès's ideas influenced those of the three French musicians; this, in turn, had an impact on various compositions of the period.

Voting for the Lowens will take place immediately after the last paper. Lunch will be held from 11:45 to 1 p.m. Upon return from lunch, there will be a brief business meeting and the announcement of the 2002 Lowens winner. The afternoon session will resume at 2 p.m. We are pleased to have the following papers:

"Foreign music as national symbol: Carlos Gomes's opera Il Guarany (1870) as an icon of Brazilianess" - Cristina Magaldi (Towson University)

Every weekday at 7:00 p.m., all Brazilian radio stations join in a national broadcast entitled A Voz do Brasil (The Voice of Brazil), a government-sponsored program publicizing the daily acts of the President and parliament. The program opens with the overture from the opera Il Guarany (1870) by the Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836-1896). Substituting for Brazil's national anthem, Gomes's overture is thus heard daily, from the bustling cities of the coast to the remote villages in Brazil's northern territory. The use of Gomes's overture in such a civic moment has been interpreted by some scholars as inappropriate: despite Il Guarany's Indianist plot, there is nothing "Brazilian" about the music. In fact, nationalists have dismissed Gomes as a mere composer of foreign music. Nonetheless, Il Guarany remains to this day a symbol of Braziliannes. Validated by Italian audiences at La Scala's premiere, tunes from the opera soon emerged in Rio de Janeiro as fantasies for the piano, as popular dance music, and by the 1930s, as carnival marches. In this paper, I discuss the ways in which Il Guarany has been perceived and transmitted as a symbol of Brazilianness. I show how the image of Gomes's opera was constructed over ambiguous 19th-century notions of "national" and "foreign." In a period when writing an opera was an exercise in musically aligning Brazil with Europe, and when the exotic "native" in Il Guarany appealed more to Italian than to Brazilian audiences, there was no contradiction in asserting Brazilianess by stressing a European connection.

"Chants on Texts from the Book of Judith" - Ruth Steiner (Emerita, The Catholic University of America)

In the medieval Divine Office, the book of Judith was read as part of the "Lectio continua" of the entire Old Testament that began on Septuagesima (the beginning of the pre-Lent period). For the most part, the texts of the responsories that alternated with the lessons from Judith were taken from the same biblical source. In its focus on a particular character, the book of Judith is like a saint's life; and it is instructive to compare the responsories for Judith with those intended to accompany the reading of saint's lives in the Divine Office. Of the eight responsories, seven take as their point of departure a direct quotation of the speech of one of the characters in the story, most often Judith herself. They quote prayers of Judith or words she addresses to a group of people. What one does not find in these texts is quotations from narrative portions of the book. For most of the responsories the source of the Latin text is Jerome's translation, but for two it is an earlier version known as the Old Latin.

"Schubert's Pattern of Telescoping and Excision in the Texts of His Latin Masses" - John Gingerich (Baltimore, MD)

Speculations and explanations as to why Schubert omitted words and phrases from the Latin texts of his six settings of the Ordinary of the Mass have included ignorance of Latin, ignorance of the orthodox version of the texts, carelessness, forgetfulness, the existence of an unknown master text that Schubert unwittingly copied, and the existence of local oral traditions. All of these explanations, including those in the two most recent full-length biographies of Schubert as well as the Schubert Jahrbuch (1997) explicitly or implicitly seek to minimize Schubert's agency, intention, knowledge, and responsibility, and obviate the asking of further questions about why Schubert set the texts he did, and what he may have meant by doing so. This paper presents for the first time all of Schubert's mass omissions in a chart that allows an overview of the pattern of omissions in all the masses. It also considers Schubert's patterns of text telescoping, which is found to be closely coordinated with the text omissions. The pattern of omissions creates a strong presumption that Schubert himself intentionally made all the excisions from his mass texts; when combined with the pattern of telescoping, that conclusion is inescapable. The doctrinal inconsistency of Schubert's omissions has long served as a pretext for dismissing their intentionality. His treatment of the "Dominus Deus, agnus Dei" section of the Gloria illustrates why his reasons for excising text must also be sought in the meaning he wished to impart to the text that remained. The connection between the plea for mercy ("miserere nobis") at the center of the Gloria, which he privileged in all six masses, and the plea for peace ("dona nobis pacem") is strengthened by the pared-down text Schubert had arrived at for the "Dominus Dei, agnus Dei" section of his last two masses, creating a parallel wording and structure to the last movement's text.

 


 

 

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