American Musicological Society
Fall 2004 Program
9:30 a.m. Coffee
10 a.m. "The Ballet de la délivrance de Renault as a Document of French Courtly Life," Charles Downey
10:30 a.m. "Guillaume Du Fay, Teacher and Theorist, and his Chant for Cambrai Cathedral," Barbara Haggh-Huglo
11 a.m. "The Doxastikon: A Comparison of Manuscript Sources for a Byzantine Chant Genre," Christina Indianos-Svilich
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch
1 p.m. Business Meeting
1:30 p.m. "BBC's 1997 Broadcast of Penderecki's Seven Gates of Jerusalem: A Case of Recomposition?" Ronit Seter
2:00 p.m. '"All words are mean before the language of true music': A Study of Walt Whitman and Opera," Denise Gallo
"The Ballet de la délivrance de Renault as a Document of French Courtly Life," Charles T. Downey, Ph.D., St. Anselm's Abbey School
A complex web of related sources preserves the contributions of several men-poets, composers, producers, designers, and a king-to the creation of the Ballet du Roy, représentant la délivrance de Renault. The king's ballet for the winter season of 1617 depicted the rescue of the Christian knight Rinaldo from the magical island of the Muslim sorceress Armida, as told in Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata. It is the first musical drama to adapt the story in France, but it was certainly not the last. The musical and textual sources, as well as related historical documents, tell us about those who performed the ballet for the first and only time on one extraordinary night in late January 1617, in the home of the royal family in the Louvre. The performers included not only professional musicians and dancers but, according to the tradition of the ballet de cour, court nobles of various degrees and the fifteen-year-old King of France himself, Louis XIII. The new findings presented in this paper draw upon research undertaken for a critical edition of the vocal and instrumental music performed in this court ballet, to be published by the Centre de Musique Baroque in Versailles. Based on the evidence that can be gleaned from the sources at hand, this paper will examine what we can learn about those who participated in this singular event and how we may relate the work to its historical context through them.
"Guillaume Du Fay, Teacher and Theorist, and his Chant for Cambrai Cathedral," Barbara Haggh-Huglo, Ph.D., The University of Maryland, College Park
Guillaume Du Fay, one of the leading teachers of polyphony of his day, was considered an authority on chant as well. Although his library was relatively modest at his death, a review of his career suggests that he would have known the writings of a number of medieval and early Renaissance theorists. His chant composed for Cambrai Cathedral follows some prescriptions in Guido's 'Micrologus'. Its melodic structure also reflects some preoccupations of later theorists, but also confirms that he was not composing in the style of the earlier layer of Gregorian chant. We conclude that it is possible to discern an individual style in the chant composed by Du Fay.
"The Doxastikon: A Comparison of Manuscript Sources for a Byzantine Chant Genre," Christina Indianos-Svilich, The Catholic University of America
One of the most prestigious types of Byzantine hymns chanted today in honor of a saint is the doxastikon [tho-ksah-sti-k-n]. Until now any scholarship or presentation of this hymn has been in the modern-day performance practice of the Greek Orthodox church, in transcriptions of middle-notated manuscripts into either Chrysanthine or Western notation, and through the cataloging of music manuscripts. All existing Western definitions of this term tend to lack substantial detail, especially in regards to use in a service, origin, hymnography, mode or melodic characteristics. It is pertinent to those who are studying Byzantine music, to develop a more precise unterstanding of this genre. Based on my nvestigation of the nine-hundred twenty doxastika as found in the Menaion, Paraklitiki, Triodion and Pentecostarion; the doxastika found in the doxastaria of Chourmouzios Chartophylax (Bucharest, 1820), Gregorios Protopsaltis (Constantinople, 1821), Yorgos Violakes (Constantinople, 1899) and Markos Domestikos (unknown, 1831); and the doxastika of a 13th c. Sticherarion, I present findings applicable to the aforementioned criteria in efforts to unveil the doxastikon.
"BBC's 1997 Broadcast of Penderecki's Seven Gates of Jerusalem: A Case of Recomposition?" Ronit Seter, Ph.D., Cornell University
On 13 April 1997, the BBC Radio 3 aired a special "Choir Works" program: Antony Pitts's version of Krzysztof Penderecki's Seven Gates of Jerusalem (soloists, narrator, three choirs, orchestra, 1996). This premiere broadcast was not aired as a whole piece. Pitts, then producer of "Choir Works," chose an avant-garde way to treat the avant-grade veteran. Pitts interspersed between the work's seven movements contextual sections-using information gathered by a BBC research crew in Jerusalem: street music from the Old City, historical narrative by a tour guide through its ramparts, snippets of Israeli folk and art music, and even criticism on Penderecki's charged representation of Jerusalem. Was Penderecki's work trivialized by that context-or was its impact enhanced by the "recomposition"? I contend that both are true; however, while the average listener obtained a better understanding of the history of Jerusalem, she did not necessarily gain an insight into Penderecki's piece. Moreover, Pitts's context served more as a pretext for enlivening a lengthy, neo-postromantic, Wagner-unending melodic jargon. Ultimately, Seven Gates of Jerusalem is not essentially different in any of its musical aspects than any of Penderecki's vocal-orchestral pieces such as Psalmy Dawida (1958), St. Luke Passion (1963-66), Utrenja (1969-70), and Te Deum (1979-80). Despite the composer's seeming cultural openness in interviews I conducted with him in Jerusalem, Seven Gates of Jerusalem is Penderecki's rendering of a decidedly Christian-not Jewish, not Muslim-Jerusalem, just as the city was traditionally stereotyped (and orientalized) in Western church music.
"Mussorgsky and Shostakovich: The New yurodivy," Aeja Killworth, Peabody Conservatory
After being publicly reprimanded several times by the Communist Party, it is a wonder why Dmitri Shostakovich did not just ' disappear' during a time when Stalin was signing death warrants by the hundreds each day. In his controversial book Testimony (1979), Solomon Volkov raises an interesting theory for the Soviet composer's survival by stating, "Whether consciously or not, Shostakovich became the second (Mussorgsky was the first) great yurodivy composer." The full name yurodivy Khrista radi literally means "fools for the sake of Christ," or Holy Fools. Holding a significant albeit peculiar position in early Russian society, the yurodivy were believed to possess supernatural and mysterious powers, able to see and hear what others could not. Through extreme behaviors, they would expose truths of evil and injustice by paradoxically playing the Fool. This paper argues that as a result of their constantly shifting and unstable environments, Mussorgsky and Shostakovich ("whether consciously or not") chose the only path that would allow for both their survival and their voice - they became the new yurodivy. Specifically examining Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov (1872) and Shostakovich's reorchestration of the same work (1939-40), I show how the libretto, the staging, the characters, the orchestration and even the critics' reviews all point to the deeper ideological significance of two Fools' protests.
"All words are mean before the language of true music": A Study of Walt Whitman and Opera," Denise Gallo, Ph.D., The Library of Congress
Walt Whitman claimed that, but for opera, he never would have written
Leaves of Grass. Indeed, the poet was introduced to works of the musical
stage about a decade before the 1855 publication of his groundbreaking
poetic experiment. Whitman would prepare for a performance by reading
the libretto-"sometimes through twice"-to gain a "sort
of mastery" over the work. Six libretti he owned, all standard
dual-language editions, are now in the Whitman archives at the Library
of Congress. Their stilted verse translations, however, could hardly
have appealed to the poet who celebrated the simplicity of the American
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