Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society
Saturday, April 8, 2017 • Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
Program Spring Meeting
8:30 AM Registration and Refreshments
9:00 AM Opening Remarks by Chapter President, Christopher Wilkinson
Sacred and Secular: French Baroque Organ Music and German Late Eighteenth-Century Opera
Chair: Christopher Wilkinson (West Virginia University)
• Alexis VanZalen (Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester)
French Baroque Livres d’orgue: Products of the French Catholic Reformation
• Paul Abdullah (Case Western Reserve University)
Shakespearean Storms in German Opera: The Tempest in 1798
Methods for Making Sense of the Cinematic Soundtrack
Chair: Daniel Goldmark (Case Western Reserve University)
• Plenary session with Mark Durrand (University at Buffalo, SUNY), Rebecca Fülöp (Oberlin College) and Jeongwon Joe (University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music)
12:00 PM Lunch Break
1:45 PM Business Meeting
Meditation, Mystique, and Mignon: Tracing Practices of Interiority in Music
Chair: Deane Root (University of Pittsburgh)
• Plenary session with Woodrow Steinken, Codee Spinner and Laura Schwartz (all panelists, University of Pittsburgh)
Environment, Technology, Music and Sound in the Late Twentieth Century
Chair: Michael Baumgartner (Cleveland State University)
• Kate Rogers (Case Western Reserve University)
Sonic Negotiations of the Technological, the Symphonic, and the Popular in TRON (1982) and Electric Dreams (1984)
• Joseph Finkel (Arizona State University)
The End of the Faustian Man and the Limits of Progress: John Cage’s United States Bicentennial Compositions and his Environmentalist Thought
5:00 PM Award Ceremony of inaugural West Virginia University Prize for Best Student Paper
• Alexis VanZalen: French Baroque Livres d’orgue: Products of the French Catholic Reformation
Though professionals typically improvised liturgical organ music in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France, publications examples of the repertoire flourished for roughly seventy-five years following Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers’s initial Livre d’orgue of 1665. I argue, using Nivers’s foundational volumes as a case study, that these publications developed in response to the seventeenth-century Catholic Reformation in France.
• Paul Abdullah: Shakespearean Storms in German Opera: The Tempest in 1798
I explore the operatic wave of German Tempest settings that peaked in the libretto Die Geisterinsel, which was set three times in 1798, by Friedrich Fleischmann, Johann Reichardt, and Johann Zumsteeg. Departing in crucial ways from the original play, these operas offer an important window onto German Shakespeare reception and demonstrate how Shakespeare became entwined with “romantic” literary, musical, and dramaturgical ideas. My paper focuses on the fascinating invented act III pantomime in these operas, which suggests resonances in contemporary philosophical and aesthetic debates around representation of the marvelous, and the reconciliation of spirit and nature.
• Mark Durrand, Rebecca Fülöp and Jeongwon Joe: Methods for Making Sense of the Cinematic Soundtrack
This plenary session draws together three scholars that engage with the cinematic soundtrack in unique ways, demonstrating three methods of addressing the functions and effects of music and sound in film. The panelists together will address Alex Garland’s provocative 2015 film Ex Machina, a richly ambiguous film that incorporates both original and pre-existing music, engages in interesting and problematic ways with gender representation, and strikes a uniquely affective register. Rebecca Fülöp looks at how the film’s music interacts with questions of gender representation and gendered subjectivity, asking whether the film’s score allows for identification with its central female character. Jeongwon Joe’s paper focuses on the use of classical music—the Prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat minor, and the silent presence of Mozart—exploring the structural and signifying function of these classical pieces with particular attention to their role as the maternal voice as theorized in Lacanian psychoanalysis. Mark Durrand directs our attention to the film’s considerable impact on the senses; that is, toward its sensate properties. It is thus not precisely the audience that “makes sense” of the film, but the film that “makes sense” of the audience.
• Woodrow Steinken, Codee Spinner and Laura Schwartz: Meditation, Mystique, and Mignon: Tracing Practices of Interiority in Music
Musical interiority is an enigmatic concept. An idea of inner space or inward nature, it is a key component in theories of absolute music, musical aesthetics, music composition, and performance. When sound as music generates a sense of interiority in listeners by transporting, transforming, or transcending its boundaries, it gains the capacity for a genuine, active art/human experience. What happens, then, when interiority is generated spuriously? Or when musical interiority functions to create the allure of a crafted persona? What happens when performers rather than composers generate interiority? The consequences of these generated interiorities have shaped how we as musicologists discuss, think about, and listen to music.
In this plenary session, we highlight how ideas of interiority play a distinctive role in shaping musicological discourse, compositional and performance practices, and listening techniques. Starting with Schubert and Schumann’s setting of Goethe’s text “Kennst du das Land” in critical dialogue with Lacan’s theories of order and the concepts of interiority generated from facets of Mignon, the singer of the text. Then examining interiority in Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite. Finally examining interiority’s fragmented legacy in late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through the works of Pauline Oliveros, Stephon Montague, and Jennifer Walshe.
• Kate Rogers: Sonic Negotiations of the Technological, the Symphonic, and the Popular in TRON (1982) and Electric Dreams (1984)
The burgeoning availability of the personal computer in 1981 spurred numerous cinematic depictions of relationships between humans and cutting-edge forms of computer technologies. I argue that composers of these film scores depict interactions between computers and their users through combining the aurally familiar with the sonically strange, positioning synthesized sounds alongside symphonic and popular genres. These narratives musically depict how we question our relationships with new technologies, and provide aural identities for the anxieties and ambitions surrounding the personal computer in the early 1980s.
• Joseph Finkel: The End of the Faustian Man and the Limits of Progress: John Cage’s United States Bicentennial Compositions and his Environmentalist Thought
Throughout the 1970s, John Cage aligned himself with New Left movements in the U.S. and became more and more interested in environmentalism. Upon receiving commissions from the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the National Endowment for the Arts to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial, he arguably wrote two of his most ecocritical works: Lecture on the Weather and Renga with Apartment House 1776. I will compare Cage’s two Bicentennial works in the context of environmental politics and show how he implemented compositional ideas that reflect man’s relationship to nature. I also will elaborate on the stark differences between Cage’s Canadian and U.S. American responses.