American Musicological Society

Capital Chapter

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Winter 2004 Program

Program

9:30: Coffee

10:00: "Depictions of Women in American Popular Music of the Twenty-first Century," Vashti D. Gray

10:30: "Puebla Choirbook II: Anonymous Matthew Passion Identified," Deborah Crall

11:00: "Imagined Songs: Schubert's Winterreise," John Duffy

11:30- 1:00: Lunch

1:00: CUA performance of Latin American songs

1:30: Business meeting (agenda includes reports from AMS National, Houston)

2:00: "Antonio Estevez's Cantata Criolla: Musical Transculturation in Twentieth-Century Art Music in Venezuela," Pedro R. Aponte

2:30: "Making the Band: David Blakely, Patrick Gilmore, Theodore Thomas, and the Formation of the Sousa Band," Patrick Warfield


Abstracts

Vashti D. Gray, University of Maryland, College Park
Depictions of Women in American Popular Music of the Twenty-first Century
The majority of today's music consumers listen primarily to rock and popular music. Even to non-fans, this music is unavoidable. Rock music is not simply a medium any more; it is a cultural phenomenon and a major component of our societal history. Clearly, this has a wealth of implications for musicological and sociological study. One of the most significant social issues that is raised by rock and pop's messages is that of feminism. An examination of contemporary popular music's depiction of the female can potentially reveal a great deal about the perception of the female in modern society. After all, songs are composed by members of our society, thereby revealing an inevitable influence of contemporary ideas and beliefs. These songs are then consumed by other members of our society, revealing either an acceptance of the messages or, at least, an unconscious internalization of the messages. This paper examines the songs which reached the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between the years 2000 and 2002, representing those songs that were heard and accepted by a majority of people. Depictions of women within these songs can be categorized into seven major groups: 1) female in control, 2) female as weak, subservient, idealistic romantic, 3) female as idealized muse, 4) female as villain, 5) female as victim, 6) female as sexual object performed from a male perspective, and 7) female as sexual object, performed from a female perspective.

Deborah Crall, The Catholic University of America
Puebla Choirbook II: Anonymous Matthew Passion Identified

The practice of setting Passions in polyphony was widespread hroughout Spanish dominated regions of the New World. Puebla Cathedral, as one of the main seats for the Catholic Church in Mexico, played a central role in the development and transmission of these works. Puebla Choirbook II contains an unidentified Passion according to St. Matthew. The work has yet to be found in another manuscript, thus no concordance can be determined from known documents. By comparing the style of the Matthew Passion with the style of composers identified in the manuscript (Pedro Bermúdez, Hernando Franco, Fructos del Castillo, Cristóbal de Morales, and Francisco Guerrero), and by examining the works of people who could have been in the right location in order to have their work transmitted at the time of the manuscript's compilation by Gaspar Fernandes, one figure emerges as the most likely candidate for authorship: Hernando Franco.

John Duffy, Gettysburg College
Imagined songs - Schubert's Winterreise

The music of each of Schubert's song cycles differs in its support of the apparent textual completeness of the poetry. In Die schöne Müllerin, the audience is left comforted. In Winterreise, however, the audience experiences the breakdown of the lyric voice and the collapse of the singer, and must question if the previous twenty-three songs were 'real' or 'imagined.' There is no comfort or closure. Winterreise leaves to the listener the task of resolving the dissonances between the story (what is textually stated), the conventions of lyric presentation (song cycle in concert performance), and the independent workings of the music. In Die schöne Müllerin such dissonances do not persist. This is the argument: the songs of Winterreise are interior. They have no existence (until the end) outside the mind of the hurdy-gurdy player who imagines himself to be (and at one time may have been) an Orphic lover-singer.The audience has been able to hear those songs by a subtle subterfuge: it hears them from within the mind of the "observed" Leiermann. In the final song, as his emotional energy wanes and he is unable to sustain the lyric fantasy, the singer/Leiermann is revealed: not as the singer of these richly felt songs, but as the imaginer of them. Winterreise also is the ultimate, contemporary "un-writing" of the 9th Symphony, an anticipation of Leverkuhn's cantata in Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus: a negative space where once the enlightened millions celebrated the divine sparks of Elysium.

Pedro R. Aponte, University of Pittsburgh
Antonio Estevez's Cantata Criolla: Musical Transculturation in Twentieth-Century Art Music in Venezuela

In the Cantata Criolla: Florentino el que Cantó con el Diablo, Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez (1916-1988) set to music the folk legend of the singer poet Florentino whose foremost skills in improvising verses were challenged by the devil in a singing duel known in the central plains of Venezuela as contrapunteo. Since its premiere in 1954 the Cantata Criolla became one of the best known symphonic compositions by a Venezuelan composer, and music critics frequently refer to this work as a masterpieces of Latin American twentieth-century musical nationalism. While scholars of musical nationalism in Venezuela have frequently identified the various folk elements that served Estevez as the source of his nationalist style, little attention has been paid to the mechanisms through which those folk elements behave in order to convey the work's stylistic and, ultimately, cultural uniqueness. Moreover, one of the most conspicuous features in Estevez's work lies not just in the transformations that those elements undergo as to conform to the art music language but rather on how elements of the art music tradition receive a folk-like treatment as well. Based on theories laid down in the 1940s by Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz, this paper explores those transformations as a process of musical transculturation. In this view, the Cantata Criolla can be understood not strictly as an art music work that invokes folklore as means of exalting a national identity but as a process of negotiating a new identity by synthesizing antagonist cultural foundations into one music language.

Patrick Warfield, Georgetown University
Making the Band: David Blakely, Patrick Gilmore, Theodore Thomas, and the Formation of the Sousa Band

As we approach the sesquicentennial of John Philip Sousa's birth, it is easy to forget that this American bandleader's rise to stardom was hardly assured. When the Sousa Band formed in 1892, several other ensembles were crisscrossing the country, and Sousa's manager, David Blakely, prepared the first tour of his new attraction mindful of the route planned by the illustrious Patrick Gilmore. But Gilmore's sudden death allowed Blakely to quickly secure the Irish Orpheus's more lucrative engagements, and by the time Sousa arrived at the Columbian Exposition, he had conducted more than a hundred concerts in the shadow of Gilmore's memory. Other studies of the Exposition have focused on the efforts of Theodore Thomas as the fair's musical director, but neglect to mention that Sousa achieved his success in part through Thomas's failure. As Thomas's plans to educate fairgoers came crashing down around him, visitors flocked to Sousa's performances; and while the debacle forced Thomas's resignation, it solidified Sousa's reputation as a musician devoted to his public. By the time Sousa left Chicago, critics no longer saw him as a newcomer to the world of the touring band. David Blakely's skillful planning, Patrick Gilmore's timely departure, and Theodore Thomas's public failure had allowed the March King to achieve a fame that would long outlive him.


 

 

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